5 Things to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed and Stressed
I don’t know anyone who works for themselves or creates content that doesn’t get stressed and overwhelmed from time to time. There have been entire years when I thought, “This is who I am now. A human-shaped ball of stress.”
When it happens you’re not alone, but for most of us, it’s not exactly an easy fix, either.
Depending on the cause of your stress and how your mind and body react, the downward spiral can be traumatic. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume you’re feeling a typical amount of stress that don’t become toxic, dangerous, or put you in the hospital.
We all have our tricks for what to do. These are mine.
Turn Off the Thing That’s Stressing You Out
I’m willing to bet that for many of us, when our freelance life or sex blogging life start stressing us the hell out, social media plays a part. Maybe we scrolled too much and got behind on what we wanted to get done, losing an hour or two. Or we saw someone we admire share a thing we wish we had done. It could be as simple as seeing someone talk about a new meme, project, or community thing to get involved with. But we’re feeling pressure from the outside world and our brain’s response is stress and that ever-present thought, “I should be doing that! Why aren’t I doing that?!”
Whatever it is, turn it off. Not forever. But for an hour or two, maybe a day. Most weekends, I go kind of quiet of social media because I’ve turned it off so I can recharge a bit.
Do Something that Requires Little Thought
I know that when I get stressed and overwhelmed, it feels like my brain is on overdrive. The thoughts start spinning, and even if I have a to-do list in front of me, I’ll start thinking about everything I need to do. Part of that is good old anxiety, but sometimes it’s just too much information coming at me with too much to do and not enough time to do it in.
It will feel counterintuitive in the moment, if your stress comes from feeling like you have too much to deal with, but that’s when I try to take a break. I’ll watch a 15 minute YouTube video or read funny, silly news for a minute. Sometimes that’s the moment I decide the dog really needs a walk.
Your brain might scream at you that you can’t take a break because you have Too Much To Do. But if all you’re doing is listening to your thoughts on repeat and sitting frozen at your keyboard, you’re not getting anything done anyway. You might as well give yourself a few minutes to breathe.
Make a (New) List
I’m always making lists — handwritten, digital, in journals, doesn’t matter. I have lists, and they’re my go-to way to stay organized. And some people make very few lists which I can’t imagine, but you do you, boo boo. Either way, list-making junkie or list-hater, when you start to feel overwhelmed and stressed by everything (to do, to think about, expectations, whatever), make a list.
Write it down.
You can do it as a bullet point list of all the thoughts spinning in your head. Or make a list of everything you’re telling yourself you need to remember. I’ll mindfuck myself a bit and re-create my to-do list for the day, week, whatever, eliminating things that I’ve crossed off and adding things my brain won’t stop thinking about.
For some people (myself included) this gives you a chance to empty your mind — temporarily. It’s all written down so you can give your brain a break and stop thinking about whatever it is. At least a little.
Those of us who want to carve our own path, create things (smutty or otherwise), and do something the rest of the world isn’t doing, we often put a ton of pressure on ourselves. The thing in our head never matches with reality, and we never work as fast as we want to. You are not the only one going through it.
As hard as it may sound, forgive yourself. Remind yourself that every other sex blogger, creator, freelancer on the planet has similar feelings. Every time you see a blogger who seems to have their shit together, I assure you, they’ve had their own moment of breakdown and stress. Not everyone shows it, and it doesn’t impact us the same way, but building something from nothing as a creator does it to all of us at some point.
So be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that nothing gets made in a day. The timetable you’ve put yourself on isn’t set in stone.
Stop for the Day
It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson. I’m the type of person who thinks if I keep working through feeling overwhelmed and stressed, I can make it go away. Sometimes, that’s true. But if I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, not getting anywhere, and causing more stress, my new method is to stop for the day.
To be clear, that’s not always an option when I’m on a deadline. But if I can find a way to stop for an hour or two, I will. The more mired down we get in those negative feelings, the less likely we are to be productive. It’s not a failure to say, “This is not happening today.” You can always come back to it another day.
I might work on something else that feels easier or I might close my laptop, walk away, and come back to it the next day. If I can get a little rest and a little distance from the stress, I can come back the next day with more energy and more focus. Frankly, sometimes the thing that felt huge yesterday is insignificant today.
Working on your dreams and goals is stressful, no matter how fulfilling it may be. Working for yourself is stressful, knowing that your next paycheck won’t happen if you don’t get the work done. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything we have to do, want to do, and think we should be doing.
We all live with stress, and we all develop coping mechanisms. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed and stressed as a sex blogger or smutlancer? Feel free to share in the comments below or talk to me on Twitter.