Amy Harwood Southampton, UK

Freelance Series | Conquering Laziness, Creative Block & Stress

Freelance Series | Conquering Laziness, Creative Block & Stress

There are many highs, but also quite a few of lows when it comes to working for yourself. I'm now coming into my third month of freelance life, and even though it's been an empowering time, I've also learned to recognise a few of my own demons when it comes to motivation, productivity and self care...

If I'm not procrastinating due to a mental or creative block, I'm stressing out like a mad woman  overworking into the night, freaking out over business stuff or just outright being stroppy and binge watch old seasons of Love Island in protest to all the work I have to do.

As I doggy paddle into this new world of self employment, I'm finding out my faults as well as my strengths. I can write a dope to-do list and I have awesome ideas, however I'm also a daydreamer and easily distracted, so the lists can sometimes end up un-ticked. Then the guilt kicks in, I panic and overwork myself and the vicious circle continues. All alongside comparing myself to other artists and blah blah blaaaaaah.

Striking that middle ground is important, but if you're like me and react to pressure with flustered stress, or sometimes struggle with self discipline, I've discovered some really useful activities and rituals to help kick start your working day and reset your creativity!

Hot Yoga
I've started my new yoga journey with the amazing In Balance Hot Yoga studio in Southampton. Benedita and Ian have been really welcoming and helpful in guiding me into this new world, and I'm already feeling the benefits of this new practice. Hot yoga is really cleansing, both mentally and physically. Just today I was experiencing a lethargic creative slump, and a 6:45pm class refreshed and awakened my body, and here I am writing this post with a new bounce of inspiration and energy!

 I always leave here feeling refreshed!

I always leave here feeling refreshed!

I feel my stress melt off me when I attend their classes. I start each session feeling soothed from the lovely warm temperature and the smell of the incense, and I finish the class feeling the physical benefits of the intense workout. I feel like my arms and legs are much stronger and my posture is improving.

The breathing exercises have taught me to take things a little slower in the working day if things get heavy, and now if I feel that I'm overworked or my back is a bit more sore in the week, I'll make sure to book a class on their online system for as soon as I can attend. 

Massage Bars & Face Masks
I'm a big fan of bath-time. I've got a caddy with a place for my iPad, a glass of wine, my skincare, bubble bars etc... I truly believe a holiday to bath-time city soothes my angsty soul, and paired with a dreamy face mask and a tranquil spotify playlist, I just escape it all for bit. My muscles are usually achey from exercise, working all day at a desk, or on my feet at my part time job, so every now and then I need a good soak and rest. 

The lovely team at Lush Southampton invited me to one of their events to make one of their facemasks - my favourite too! The Southampton Bloggers and I worked together to make a batch of Cupcake, the lovely chocolatey face mask which is perfect for any fellow oily skin folk out there. I was also lucky to take home a few samples of their other masks, including:

Cup o' Coffee - Wakes up the skin, exfoliating and smells delicious (if you like coffee that is!)
Mask of Magnaminty - Minty, creamy and great for a pamper session

They were also super kind to gift me a massage bar too, something I didn't really notice they did before that evening. The Wiccy Magic Muscles massage bar has an amazingly strong cinnamon scent, and it melts on the skin allowing you to rub into your muscles after a long and achey day. This bar is great before bed as the ingredients are soothing and makes you feel all sleepy and relaxed. When you've finished the massage, top up with talc or Lush's Silky Underwear to soak up the oil. This is my new go-to routine after a strenuous and tense day. 

 You can't beat a cosy bed, Lush products and a good book.

You can't beat a cosy bed, Lush products and a good book.

Productive Procrastination
I know that's an absolute oxymoron, but I've found that when I'm having one of my naughty days where I want to avoid work at all costs, I now do somewhat useful tasks instead of, say, going shopping or playing Sims 4. I write lists, plan shedules for the week, book gym classes or draw something random in my sketchbook. I painted my bookshelf in the studio to match my grey accent wall, and not only has it freshened up the room, but I now feel really accomplished for impulsively doing DIY on my own. I now look at that bookshelf and beam with pride as if it were my first born child.

 I love walking down the shore, what a view!

I love walking down the shore, what a view!

Decluttering and tidying up the house is a classic. Going for a long walk whilst listening to an art or business related podcast is cool too (my favourites are Being Freelance and Creative Pep Talk). I've now set myself a rule that from 9am - 5pm, TV shows and YouTube videos can only be of useful, educational or informative content, eg watching Holly Exley or Minnie Small on my lunch break instead of something that doesn't tap into my creativity. My favourite reality TV shows can wait 'till dinner time.

So there are my tips of conquering those pesky demons of laziness, creative block and stress! After adopting these new rituals, I find that my time at my desk is so much more productive and stress free. It's so important to remember to spend time nurturing ourselves, but also recognise if we're being naughty and knowing how to snap out of a slump to get back into the flow of work! Here's to another productive week!

Many thanks to Lush Southampton and Southampton Bloggers.
This post was in collaboration with In Balance Hot Yoga.

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