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Is Stress Limiting Your Creativity?

Design Team, That Marketing Company

Stress is a natural emotion that we as designers feel on a day to day basis. In a fast paced studio or agency, designers are always challenged by the time against the tasks that they are assigned. Stress comes into play when the tasks don’t measure up with the clock and when deadlines are coming, leading to the first casualty. Your creativity.

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Do you ever feel stressed due to the following reasons?
You are uncertain if you can finish the task(s) in time.
You are uncertain if your client likes your design.
You are uncertain how much more tasks are ahead of you.
 

If you are able to identify exactly what you are unsure about, you are more likely to overcome it. The feeling of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel gives you a sense of hope, relief, knowing and direction.

So, what do we do when work is piling up and we have our backs against the wall? Everyone has their own way to deal with stress; some listen to their favourite artist, others use this as an excuse to shop or eat. But truth be told, most of us don’t have the luxury to take a stroll for fresh air (let alone go shopping) or even taking a nap in a pod unless you work in Google or Facebook.
Here are some quick and simple fixes that we find useful at T.M.C.
#1 Listen to your favourite podcast
If you’ve reached the point of unbearable stress where you can tell your work is being affected, now is the time to find your new favourite podcast and listen whilst you work. Listening to a comedic, informational or creative podcast can allow your mind to relax and remove all the tension in your body as well as providing some much-needed inspiration. Need some ideas as to what podcasts are out there? Here are CreativeBloqs’ top 12 Graphic Podcasts.
 
#2 Reset your body
Start by recognising, and then adjusting your body position. If you are sitting down, jump up from your chair and give your body a shake, to help overcome your emotional state. Our body language will often show clues/signs of internal stress levels, such as muscle twitches or fidgeting. If you find yourself slouching after a few hours, reset your body by straightening and stretching your back. The change of your body position often can change the way you feel. Give it a go.
 
#3 Take a few deep breaths
It may be the oldest trick in the book, but when it is done correctly it can work wonders. Taking deep breaths and de-focusing your eye-sight is another way of deliberately using your body to change your state of mind. When we are stressed, we tend to have small and shallow breaths, these are signs of your body kicking into “fight or flight response”, switching your brain to prepare for a battle. This style of breathing disrupts the balance of oxygen in the body, and more importantly, affects your creative side. Taking deep breaths, allows your body and mind to relax, even for a moment, it goes a long way if you have a busy day ahead. Need a hand? Check out this breathing exercise.
 
#4 Mental breaks
Taking breaks as short as 60 seconds for every 30-45 minutes of work can help maintain your creative focus. Take toilet breaks (even if you don’t need to go) because when you are drawn away from your work, you remove piling up additional stress. Set a clock reminder on your phone so you can get away from your workstation for a brief moment without forgetting.
 
So, the next time you find yourself with endless tasks and meeting after meeting, get out of the funk and re-set your mind with these tricks.
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