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Let’s face it, being a freelancer is stressful. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to perform at 100% every single day. If you aren’t working, you aren’t getting paid. Not to mention all the hats you have to wear: salesperson, customer service, financial strategist, and more. All that adds up to stress. A lot of it. So in this post, we’re going to offer you 8 ways to relax the mind at work so that you can overcome that stress and keep on pushing.
One of the best ways to relax the mind at work starts before you even get to the office (even if that office is just your dining room table).
Creating a morning routine that is exactly the same every single day will prime your mind for the day ahead. It will become a familiar constant in your life. A rock that you can cling to despite all the chaos going on in your business.
Your morning routine can be simple: make bed, drink coffee, eat breakfast, take shower. Or it can be more involved, including exercise, meditation, prayer, or journaling. The important thing is that it is the same every day.
There are a lot of different ways to meditate, and no shortage of fancy apps to help you get started. But most meditation techniques have a similar goal: to slow you down and free your mind of unnecessary clutter.
You can practice meditation regularly, say as part of your morning routine. Or you can just do it every now and then in the middle of a particularly stressful and busy work day. Spend a few minutes in quiet, take deep even breaths, and simply notice your thoughts.
Don’t struggle to empty your mind of thoughts. They’ll be there no matter how hard you fight. All you are really trying to do is maintain a mindful awareness of your state of mind.
As your busy day rushes on, it can be easy to suddenly realize that you’ve been sitting in your computer chair for three hours straight. While that might be a sign that you were in the perfect flow state, it might also be an indication that you are bundling up your stress.
Consider taking at least a 5 minute break for every hour of work you do. This will give your mind a chance to reset itself, release pent up stress, and prepare for another bout of intense hard work.
Too often we find ourselves munching our sandwich or sipping our soup over the keyboard as we tackle our inbox or complete other work-related tasks. When was the last time you actually took time to enjoy your lunch?
Believe it or not, eating can be a form of meditation. Do it slowly, mindfully. Notice what you are eating, how it tastes, how each bite nourishes your mind, body, and spirit. Most importantly, don’t do any work while you eat.
You’ll be surprised how stress relieving it can be just to take a real lunch break.
Throughout the workday, take a minute here and a minute there to stretch your neck, back, shoulders, and arms. These are some of the places where we tend to hold the most stress, so stretching them out before it bundles up too much can be one of the best ways to relax the mind at work.
Exercise in any form, from jogging to lifting weights, is a scientifically proven form of relieving stress. There’s a reason that mental health professionals often recommend adding exercise as a way to combat mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Working out releases endorphins, which are the brain’s neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel happy.
So whether it becomes a part of your morning routine or something that you do in the middle of the day when you need a break from work, finding time for exercise is a surefire way to relax your mind and reduce your stress.
Reconnecting with nature, even for just a few minutes a day, can be a good way to remind yourself of the simpler pleasures in life. So during your mini breaks throughout the day, step outside and take a deep breath of fresh air. Let the sun’s natural rays counteract the effects of all that blue light you’ve been exposed to from your screens. Or even dance in the rain a little bit to make yourself feel young again.
Often times, our stress reactions are a result of bad mental habits we’ve formed. For example, we tighten up a little bit every time our email notification dings or we get tense whenever we notice that a deadline is approaching.
Cognitive restructuring is a process of retraining our mind to have new reactions to different triggers. The first step is to simply notice what triggers your stress. Then, take active steps to mindfully change your reaction.
For example, let’s say that you tend to tense up whenever you get an email from a client because you immediately worry that you don’t have time spend answering it. Once you recognize this, you can change your internal self-talk. Every time you get an email, you can actively tell yourself something like “This email is another chance to form a profitable long term relationship”.
Over time, when you repeat your positive mindful reaction enough, it will become a new habit that replaces your old negative self-talk.
Keep in mind that finding ways to relax at work and reduce stress isn’t just about feeling better about yourself and living a happier life. You will also be a more efficient, more energized freelancer when you aren’t carrying around so much tension in your brain.
So keep on powering through those client orders, but don’t forget to take time throughout the day to slow down, breathe, and relax.