Dealing With Work Stress
Artist or Freelancer Advice

Work Stress – A Freelancers Guide to Stress Reduction

Work Stress!

If you do business online, work stress is most likely inevitable.

It’s no wonder: When job & home life boundaries blur, work stress can easily become a much bigger issue.

Because freelancing or consulting jobs tend to be heavily stress oriented it’s difficult to know how much is too much before it’s too late.

This blog post is about extreme stress management for freelancers & artists working online under harsh circumstances.

In other words: What to do when there’s seemingly nothing you can do.

Warning: This post covers dark subject matter.

Drowning in work stress.

The Importance of Stress Management

In general, freelancing has it’s extreme ups and downs.

So when you work online it’s important to manage stress.
Compared to traditional work environments clients are less likely to pick up on the impact of stressful work environments.

Bottled up stress can cause long term damage your emotional and physical health.

Working as a freelancer in 2018 seems like baseline compensation is becoming much lower, expectations higher and jobs fewer.

Working in a cutthroat industry that seems to have more supply than demand.

When unfortunate circumstances arise lack of fair wages can drive even the most upbeat individual well past their breaking point.

Freelancing is supposed to be at least somewhat carefree and exciting. You don’t want to start everyday with the “I want to kill myself” attitude.

So before it gets to that dark point, or even during, it’s crucial to try and lessen the physical and emotional stress of work as much as possible.

Negative thoughts happen quite often in high stress environments. Be on the look out for Burnout.

Dealing With Work Stress: The Mindset

First of all, if you’re a freelancer you have to remember you always have a choice.

You are your own boss, and no one is forcing you to do anything you don’t want to do.

If you’re in debt or in trouble, you may find yourself taking unethical, risky or highly underpaid work.
Many may advise against this; as it will likely take a heavier toll on your health in the future, however any work you decide to take is your choice.

You can stop whenever you like. You are allowed to rest, and most importantly you are allowed to say no.

What to do When Your in Panic Mode:

In life unexpected things will happen.

Sometimes horrific and seemingly impossible circumstances will suckerpunch you without warning.
Being mindful of this may help when random does come knocking on your door. Dwelling on negative circumstances won’t make them any better.

Keep in mind: There will be contentment and joy in life, as well as misery.

So without further ado.. The list of what to do when your royally screwed!

1. Take a Very Short Break

If you find yourself consumed by work stress, try to take a short 5~15 minute break.

If you’re too stressed out to rest for 5 minutes, try doing a task you will have to do later.

For example:

  • Go to the restroom
  • Get a drink
  • Have a smoke

..and so on.

2. Doodle or Write Down Your Feelings

Yaay I love working YAAAY
It’s okay, you don’t have to pay me. I love what I do. I’m enthusiastic.

Drowning in work, but not drowning in money?
When you’re treated like garbage it’s easy to feel like it.

Prolonged high stress work situations can eventually turn “I hate my work” in to “I hate my life”.

If you’re unable to express feelings of disappointment or anger try drawing or writing it out, just for the sake of it.

When you’re overloaded with work breaks are good.
But if your pressed for time procrastinating can cause more stress in the future.

Setting a timer for breaks and leisure can be beneficial when your pressed for time.

Take some time to briefly play with a new toy.

Like the AI-Powered Automatic Colorization “Paintschainer”:

To you artists: You can’t use that commercially, so just for fun, k?

Paintschainer color generator by Ameshin
Paintschainer AI-Powered Automatic Colorization

3. Use Profanity

Swearing for the sake of swearing in private or with a trusted friend is great stress relief.
*Swearing at people or situations is not recommended. Profanity directed at clients or companies is unlikely to help relieve work stress.

Be respectful and choose your fucking situation wisely.

4. Make a Project Specific Plan

Taking extra time to plan when overloaded by work stress may seem like a waste of time, but it can help things move more smoothly.
Different clients have unique ways of telling you what they need done.
Some clients offer complex instructions, while others only give a few words or image examples.
Example of Client Brief - Serious Work Stress
Client Brief Example …..Wait, what?
In the example above the client mistakenly said “photo” instead of  “picture”, “illustration” or “art”.
They didn’t say the size, what the image would be used for, or the file type.
Even if your client has prepared a highly professional,detailed brief it can still be beneficial to create a personal brief.
Personal Brief Based on Clients Original
Personal Brief Example Based on the original brief & additional questions asked. (By Ameshin)
Because the brief is organized in a way that’s easy to view, it can save time by not having to re-read all the information while working on the project.
Also, rearranging or organizing the information in a format that is easier to view will let you know the missing information the client forgot to mention.
Example Result
Example Result (By Ameshin)
Please note: The client brief is a fake example, but it’s not that far off from some actual instructions you can see from individuals & inexperienced companies that don’t hire a professional to properly describe the order. (Believe it or not, I’ve worked with much worse!)

5. Calming Goods & Systems

This is a list of some items & habits for a calmer life when you’re under extreme pressure.

Acquiring or purchasing things to help you stay calm and focused is a good way to combat stress.

List of Recommended Items to Relieve Stress:

  1. Lavender
  2. Mint
  3. Vanilla
  4. Camomile

Obviously there tons of things available to relieve stress but this is my top list in pinch.

If you’re looking for what I recommend, I buy my stress relief items on

These items are relatively cheap, and you can get a 5% discount by using my Rewards Code: DJJ320

That will also give me a 5% discount credit on my next purchase when you buy with the rewards code. Yay!

MY Special Iherb Cart of Stress Relief:

This cart is recommendations I use when extremely stressed.
(I didn’t add vanilla or camomile because I purchase them at the local supermarket, but Iherb sells those too.)

Reluctant to shop for stress relief due low wages?

If you are taking a lot of lowball work due to lack of available jobs, cutting expenses in daily living is understandable.

Unfortunately no matter what, somebody will pay one way or another.
What your clients can’t provide (fair wages, deadlines, workload) you may end up paying with your time, health and sanity.

If a small amount of money will significantly ease your burden it’s worth considering the long term health benefits.

Again, remember you can stop freelancing at any time. You are your own boss.

Hanging out avoiding stress

Free Stress Relief Systems:

  1. Fresh Air (if you live in a city, go to a park, wooded area or near a river/ocean)
  2. Sunshine
  3. Meditation
  4. Laughter (laughing for no reason can relieve stress)
  5. Deep Breathing Exercises

If you need help with meditation or breathing check out Jason Stephenson on Youtube.
This will cost the price of internet & electric bills (so not 100% free) but if you need help with meditation or breathing this guy is amazing.




If I had a chance to go back and do it again, I’d like to say I wouldn’t become a freelancer.

But I don’t want to screw with the timeline. I can’t be held responsible for the universe imploding on itself because of a little work stress. 🙂


  1. […] Work Stress – A Freelancers Guide to Stress Reduction […]

  2. thanks for not imploding the world.

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