Freelancing can be a tough gig, especially as the year winds to a close. Work gets crazy or slows down, while family commitments ramp up. If you’re struggling, try our 12 Days of Stress-less* – in no particular order – to get you through the festive season. Or any time of year, really.

*With apologies to the traditional Christmas carol…

On the first day of Stress-less
My Jungle gave to me
Permission to vent, judgement-free (The Freelance Jungle Facebook group is your place to ask for support and to support others. You don’t just need the Jungle’s permission to offload your stress, though. Give yourself permission: phone a friend, write it out, scream into a pillow, crank up some hard rock music and sing ‘n’ dance it out.)

On the second day of Stress-less
My self-talk gave to me
Soothing, friendly words (like ‘You’re safe’, ‘You’ve got this’, ‘This feeling will pass’)

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the third day of Stress-less
My inner child gave to me
Play time now! (Play is essential to freelancing. Research shows it lowers stress, and enhances learning, productivity and job satisfaction. What play activities did you love as a child? Can you take them up again? It could be colouring, dress ups, air guitar, listening to heavy metal. Go nuts!)

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the fourth day of Stress-less
My boundaries gave to me
The right to say NO (Whether it’s to clients, social invites or demands on your time, you’re allowed to say ‘no’ without a guilt trip from yourself or others. Here are some tips on how.)

Play time now!

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the fifth day of Stress-less
My self-care gave to me
One da-ay off! (Yes! As your own boss, you can take a day off whenever you want – assuming you didn’t commit to delivering work that day. The ‘free’ part in freelancer includes freedom to set your own hours, even a planned – or unplanned – day off. Sometimes, you just need it.)

The right to say NO

Play time now!

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the sixth day of Stress-less
My humour gave to me
Licence for laughing (A good ol’ chortle is proven to boost not just your mood, but your immunity and to relieve pain. So, look for laughs in things that may otherwise bring you down – AKA reframing. Or… binge-watch comedies, spend time with kids or pets – whatever gives you a giggle.)

One da-ay off!

The right to say NO

Play time now!

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the seventh day of Stress-less
Mother Nature gave to me
Fresh air, plants and ocean (The Japanese custom of shinrin yoku or ‘forest bathing’ is taking off in the West – and spending mindful time in wooded areas has emerging evidence of overall health benefits and stress relief. If you can’t manage a hike in the bush, then stroll through a local park, head to the beach or tinker in the garden. The key is spending quality time in nature, appreciating and connecting with your surroundings.)

Licence for laughing

One da-ay off!

The right to say NO

Play time now!

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the eighth day of Stress-less
My body clock gave to me
Eight hours of sleeping! (Getting enough sleep is crucial to stressing less. But you can’t sleep when you’re already stressed, right? Then, lack of sleep makes you more stressed. It’s a vicious circle. So, try some sleep hygiene habits: dance to your own circadian rhythm – AKA body clock – sleep when sleepy and try to get up at the same time each day. Tweak your bedroom: are your mattress and pillow supportive? Is the room dark/quiet/warm enough? Avoid using your phone before sleep and lay off caffeine or that night cap just before bed. Meditate or try relaxation techniques like slow, deep breathing and consciously relaxing your body from top to toe.)

Fresh air, plants and ocean

Licence for laughing

One da-ay off!

The right to say NO

Play time now!

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the ninth day of Stress-less
My insight gave to me

Reasons to be thankful (Gratitude’s a bit of a buzzword, but here’s why: It works! Life can deal us tough stuff and it’s important to acknowledge that. But once the worst is over, there’s still a place for being thankful. Make time to reflect each day and find things to be grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal. Say ‘thanks’ when things go your way. Even when they don’t, there’s always a lesson to be grateful for. Cheers!)

Eight hours of sleeping!

Fresh air, plants and ocean

Licence for laughing

One da-ay off!

The right to say NO

Play time now!

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the tenth day of Stress-less
My body gave to me
Ten reps of lunging (or whatever exercise calms your nerves and boosts your energy. It could be cycling, yoga, Pilates, stretching, or a walk around the block. Moving lifts your mood. Fact.)

Reasons to be thankful

Eight hours of sleeping!

Fresh air, plants and ocean

Licence for laughing

One da-ay off!

The right to say NO

Play time now!

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the eleventh day of Stress-less
My left brain gave to me
A penchant for planning (When you run your own freelance business, you’re doing it all – at first. So how do you do it all? With planning. Whether it’s a business plan, a daily ‘to do’ list or a mind map for a client’s project, planning gives you direction and focus. It helps you maximise your time and maintain control – which all adds up to less stress.)Ten reps of lunging

Reasons to be thankful

Eight hours of sleeping!

Fresh air, plants and ocean

Licence for laughing

One da-ay off!

The right to say NO

Play time now!

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

On the twelfth day of Stress-less
My hunger gave to me
More healthy eating (Good nutrition helps your body to deal with any stressors each day. Poor nutrition taxes your digestion and brain function, creating extra stress. Firstly, don’t skip breakfast. Aim for a good mix of carbs and proteins with each meal and go easy on the refined sugar, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine.)

A penchant for planning

Ten reps of lunging

Reasons to be thankful

Eight hours of sleeping!

Fresh air, plants and ocean

Licence for laughing

One da-ay off!

The right to say NO

Play time now!

Soothing, friendly words

And permission to vent, judgement-free.

Got this far and still stressed?

Go back to Day 1 and start again! 🙂

And why not join The Freelance Jungle Facebook group, while you’re at it, for support through the tough times and to celebrate the good times.

Virgina Musik- copywriter

Virginia Muzik is a Sydney-based copywriter and voice-over artist, who loves working with small businesses to improve their content. In her downtime, she loves hanging out with her 2 dogs, reading, singing and meditating. Connect with her on Facebook or LinkedIn or visit writeNOISE Communications.


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