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Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Dealing with Clients, General Advice, Guest Posts, Productivity | 0 comments

A Freelancer’s Quick Guide to Coping with Stress and Anxiety

Freelance work means you can earn money without dealing with a boss. Although this is a dream job for many, you need to be able to survive the stress that accompanies it. Like any other job, freelancers can experience enormous amounts of stress and anxiety. Here are some survival tips.

Dealing with unreasonable clients

Perhaps the most common source of stress is unreasonable clients. You cannot blame them because they (hopefully) pay you good money. (If they don’t, you either need to charge what you’re worth or require a 50% payment upfront and a signed legal contract/agreement.) Sometimes they expect more from you than what you feel is fair considering how you are being compensated. Prevent these situations by establishing very clear expectations before you accept a project. Ask as many questions as you can so you can produce work satisfying the client the first time; and remember: you can never please everybody. The sooner you learn to cope with this reality, the better you will be able to handle stress.

Exercise and diet

It’s important that you keep track of your health while working on projects. Diet and exercise should never be compromised. Remember that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid, unlike regular jobs where you can call in sick and still be paid for time off. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that you keep your mental and physical health at their optimum levels to ensure high productivity and good morale.

Do nothing

Do nothing and relax or meditate for about 20 minutes a day. Using relaxation and meditation techniques allow you to relieve stress and give you better perspective to face the challenges of the projects that lie ahead. Doing nothing does not mean that you stop being productive. When you sit and relax, you are giving your brain a well-deserved break. By practicing transcendental meditation or other meditational exercises, you will achieve the most relaxed state of mind. Many people claim that they become much more productive and creative right after a meditational exercise.

Step away from the fray

Take a break. Don’t overwhelm yourself with work. Stress will start to rear its ugly head once you have too much on your plate. Take short breaks and do not deprive yourself of the chance to spend some time on a weekend getaway or a vacation with people you love. It may seem a little expensive but the benefits of de-stressing will outweigh the financial drawback.

Accept only what you can finish

Do not take on jobs that you can’t handle; it will hurt the quality of your work and your credibility. It is tempting to accept more jobs than you think you can handle, especially in order to compensate for the periods of time when jobs are hard to find. Committing to jobs that are beyond your capacity is a perfect recipe for disaster. The additional work may make you busy now but it is unlikely to be sustainable in the long run. And it will likely drive you crazy in the short term.

Think positively

If you don’t think positively, no one will. Counter negativity with positive thinking because allowing negativity to take over your thought processes will only make you more stressed and your clients will notice and lose confidence in you and won’t enjoy working with you. Love what you do and never allow frustration to get the best of you.

Freelancing is not an easy. Being a successful freelancer requires a very strong, dedicated, healthy type of person. It’s easy to become discouraged if you get burned by a client or if the frustration becomes too much to handle. Never let this happen by facing your stress directly and without fear; it’s your best bet in the long run if you want to achieve freelance nirvana.

This is a guest post written by Ryan Rivera and edited by Geoff Myers. Ryan suffered from panic attacks for seven years. Now he dedicates his life to helping those who suffer from stress, anxiety, panic attacks and depression through his writing. You can read more of his articles at Calm Clinic.

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