5 Great Ways to Relieve Stress So You Don’t “Ahem” the Client

As a designer, we are predisposed to being stressed. There are several trigger points. This includes clients who keep changing their design direction, challenging deadlines, constant requests for revisions and my personal favorite, subjective feedback. As we gain more experience, some of us find ways to let these situations slide but for some of us, letting go is tough. The truth is that oftentimes, designers want to “let their clients meet their Maker sooner rather than later!” Truthfully though, I have learnt that you only need one thing — to RELIEVE THAT STRESS. So hold on to your MMA fighting skills for another day.


My moment of enlightenment … stop fighting the clients

In my book, in today’s world, there are only three things that are important: life, living and everything else.


Life: For me this means my family and the people around me whom I cannot live without.


Living: This is what I do for sustenance. We need to work to eat, buy the things we need and acquire the things we want. To a large extend we get to choose our living. Some of us choose to run our own business or work for a company. End of day, this will involve a client who pays for our services.


So despite the stress and headache you might feel when working with clients, it only serves us well to  understand them and their expectations, so that we can grow with them harmoniously. However, I am not here to tell you how to understand your clients. That’s a whole other topic.


 Start accepting your stress

I want to share with you some things you should practice especially when you do not feel like it! Accept that you are stressed and that you can relieve it.


#1. Breathe … Deeply … Exhale! Once you remember to start breathing, take five to ten deep breaths in a slow and calm fashion. With the first two or three deep breaths, you will already feel a sense of relief. You will experience a soothing feeling all over your head. You will be able to sense things more clearly and might be able to make better decisions thereafter.


#2. Get off your butt … Walk. Walk it out or walk it off. If you cannot exercise because of the environment you are in then walk. Walk to take your mind off what is bothering you because the more you think about the issue, the more frustrated you are likely to be. Letting go sounds easy but it ain’t! This will allow you to think more clearly. Walk alone, walk with a companion, or with a group. It doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy yourself while walking.


#3. Feed yourself to feed your brain … Eat. This is the first thing we tend to do, skip a meal. Don’t! Take time out and take a break … have a kit kat.  We have to eat and its one of the best ways to take a break, no matter how short is a break. Eat your favorite ice cream, enjoy a cup of iced or hot coffee from your favorite coffee bar. Eat comfort food, try gourmet, or anything that will make you feel better. Just remember to eat!


#4. Get that adrenaline going … Exercise! If you are able to, and if the environment allows, go exercise. Exercising, even if you ain’t a jock, is the best way to cope up with stress. It takes the knots out of your body as well as refreshes the mind and body. When your body is all knotted up, you mind wanders to those knotted areas instead of focusing on unravelling that creative know. As I always say, a breathe of fresh air leads to fresh ideas!


#5. Wash away that stress … Shower. Take a nice long shower. Enjoy the hot shower as it fall on your tensed muscles and nerves. Let it loosen you up and improve make your blood circulation. Personally, I love to sing while having a shower ;). That helps me relieves my stress but perhaps to those listening ….


There are lots of things you can do to overcome stress. These are quick and simple ways you can start with. We know what we know and we know we should do this. So remember the next time you are stressed, breathe, walk, eat, exercise or take a shower!


Jonathan Discipulo
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