Freelancing and contracting are often seen as a route to a freer, more relaxed lifestyle. However, the self-employed life comes with its own stresses, especially if you work alone or for a demanding client.
Without someone to share the load, the lifestyle can take it’s toll, so it’s important to find time for yourself, even during your working day, to disconnect from the work you’re doing and reconnect with the world around you.
With this in mind, we asked Mandy Muckalt of Roots for Success for some handy hints on dealing with stress.
Daily: Dedicated time to connect to you
We spend a lot of our day focusing externally and being ‘outside our-self’, so checking in with ourselves each day is important – as is doing this in a dedicated compassionate, nurturing kind of way.
I’m a fan of little and often, so I do my check-ins 15 minutes before I start my day – five minutes around lunchtime and 15 minutes again before I go to bed.
Sometimes I focus on my breath as the bridge between external and internal. Sometimes I just sit and notice what’s around me.
Sometimes I set an intention and focus on that. The very act of getting quiet and still allows you to reconnect with yourself and develops a habit of keeping ‘you with you’, as opposed to you scattered all over London, Manchester, or wherever you may be. And if five minutes a day is all you can manage, then go with that.
Anything is better than nothing, but be sure to protect the time that you can afford. With practice it can become a real stabiliser.
Weekly: Progress report
Take some time each week to apply ‘the progress principle’. Pay attention to what you’ve accomplished that week, no matter how small you deem it to be. Be ruthless with this.
If your mind wants to qualify things and say, “ah, but you didn’t do such and such”, thank it very much for its contribution and bring your attention back to the task in hand – what you’ve accomplished.
Write a list. Say out loud what you’ve written down. Pause and allow all the things you’ve accomplished to sink in.
Acknowledge yourself and feel the validation – you’ll soon notice the impact that the ‘progress principle’ can have.
Monthly: Inspiration soak
Spend a day a month focusing entirely on something that inspires you. An inspiration soak isn’t a nice to have – it’s a must.
Your soak might involve looking at or creating art, if that’s your thing.
It might be walking along the beach, experiencing the elements, tuning into all of your senses.
It might be gathering the most inspiring people you know (or want to know) together in a room and seeing what happens.
It might even be doing absolutely nothing, if doing nothing inspires you. Whatever it is that you do, really feel the whole experience.
Feel the inspiration in your heart and notice it flowing everywhere in your body.
Each of these three tips can really help you to take care of you. The more skillfully you are able to master them, the easier it will be for you to reach your full potential.
Roots for Success, run by Mandy Muckalt, supports people and organisations, helping them to, “flourish through the amazing evolutionary times we find ourselves in.”
To get to know her business and her work better, and learn a bit more about dealing with stress, check out mandymuckalt.com