Let’s be honest, copywriting can be a stressful line of work.
- The deadline is looming.
- The client is being a shit gibbon.
- You can’t quite capture the tone of voice needed.
- And, you have 806 overdue emails.
So with all this going on, how do you distress, find your inner calm and keep on keeping on?
I asked members of The Clever Copywriting School Community to share their top destressing tips and advice.
1. SHOWER AND RUN
“Inspiration strikes when you are destressing. Have a shower, go for a run, take a nap or go for a drive. Just don’t forget to have a recording device nearby for when your brain hits you with the goods!”
2. WEAR OUT YOUR BODY
“Wear out your body to still your mind. Go for a run, do some boxing, lift some heavy stuff, do some yoga − whatever floats your boat. But make it something where you need to concentrate on the movement and your breathing, not your client woes.
Usually, giving yourself that space will make everything better.”
3. GET OUTSIDE
“Get away from your computer. Get outside. Enjoy a change of scenery and some fresh air. Meet up with a friend for a beach swim or yoga session.
Take the morning (or afternoon) off – sometimes doing less can help you do more.
Breathe. Remember, we’re not brain surgeons and copywriting isn’t a life or death business.”
4. HEAD TO YOUR FAVOURITE CAFE
“Leave the home office for a nice meal at your favourite cafe or restaurant. Chew slowly. Replace thoughts of work with a mental focus on the flavours.
Sip your caffeine of choice loudly enough that people around you turn and stare. Absolutely, definitely, DO NOT TAKE YOUR PHONE. Nom-nom.”
Andrew C Lau
5. MAKE A CUPPA
“Tea. It’s the fuel on which my business runs anyway, but I’m pretty sure it’s genetic that my first impulse whenever I’m stressed is to put the kettle on. In fact, I can pretty much measure my stress levels by how many cuppas I’ve had that day.”
6. WATCH SOME AFL
“Can’t say it’d work for anyone else, but when I feel super-stressed I jump on YouTube and watch clips of my AFL team (Geelong Cats) pumping other teams.
Cheers me up to no end, as long as I don’t see any links to losses. That puts me back to square one.”
7. HEAD TO THE BEACH
“When I’m overwhelmed, I reach out for the negative ions and hit the beach. I have the access and take advantage of it.
I beeline to the California coast and get exercise with a short hike, listen to the waves, watch the seagulls and soak in the ocean air.”
8. LAUGH OUT LOUD
“My best stress reliever is laughing out loud. Good, old body-shaking, belly-wobbling, thigh-slapping, tears-rolling-down-the-face laughter.
My sister (who has her own business) and I often send each other videos during the day and I have a few bookmarked when I need them. “Faulty Towers” and “Mr Bean” are also good for the soul.”
9. MAKE A LIST
“For me, stress happens when too much is happening at once. I simply make lists and lists until everything is down on paper. And not just making a list in a software program, no, an actual physical list with pen and paper. I try to put all the things I’m thinking of, even if it’s just an idea, a list of things that need to be fixed around the house, the daily chores or self-care things I want to tackle and the client work too.
Not being stuck in my head helps me decide what I should tackle first and often simply makes peace with the items that just won’t get done, because compared to all the things on my list, they simply aren’t worth the stress of even thinking about.”
10. LEAVE YOUR DESK
“Even though it feels like I should be chained there, stepping away allows me to get a hit of perspective. In my full-time job, it means go and hang out at one of our aged care communities and talk to a resident. I get story ideas as well as the reminder that deadlines don’t really matter in the big, grand scheme of life.”
11. PLAY SOME TUNES
“I have a destressing soundtrack and every song is from my favourite band, Queen. Different types of stress call for different songs. Just totally frazzled? Listen to “Under pressure”. Feeling a little down and out? “My melancholy blues” is the answer. No motivation? Crank up “Don’t stop me now”.
12. HAVE A STRETCH
“Take a few minutes out for a good stretch. Especially good if you can’t leave your desk, but need to feel better.”
13. PRACTICE ZEN SHUI
“I realise the stress is the total chaos that is my home office so here’s my stress-relieving tip: I sort out my workspace which can be a big part of my stress! Spotify on. Sort stuff. Chuck stuff. Clean stuff. File stuff. Re-arrange stuff. Ponder stuff. Zen Shui (I know it’s not a thing but it’s a combo) my space and my Zen-like worklife will follow (hopefully).”
14. MAKE UP A SILLY SONG
“For work/writing-related stress, I will often pick up my guitar and make up a silly song about the thing that’s giving me grief. Once I can laugh at it, it helps me gain perspective. If I’m extremely strung out and can’t shift my brain into making up a song about the client being a “shit gibbon” (for example), then I have to get away from the desk and do some of the things that others have already suggested – to calm my freaked out limbic system so my thinking brain can get back into the game.”
15. GET SOME FRESH AIR
“I have a tendency to sit and sit, until I have the job done. But, when I take time to go for a short walk – even around the block – I feel so much clearer. If my head is filled with stressful thoughts I listen to a podcast or an audio book while I stroll. I’m also lucky to have a farm where I can go and sit with my poddy lambs and listen and watch the birds – that’s a real stress-melter. But even a quiet sit in the park or your backyard helps. Time out is an investment in yourself.”
16. PLAN IT OUT
“I feel most stressed when I haven’t laid out clear plans or tasks. So although it seems counterproductive, if I feel completely overwhelmed I stop everything and do this little exercise:
- Get a pack of Post-it notes and a pen.
- Write one task, job or deadline on a single Post-it. Repeat until every single thing swimming around your brain has a note. Work, personal, whatever, just get them out.
- Stick them on the office wall or a whiteboard, in order of priority. Move things around until it looks like a workable plan.
- Go back to work, feeling clear-headed and productive. Remove the Post-it notes as you complete each task (so satisfying).”
17. MEDITATE (PREFERABLY WITH A CAT)
“I use different approaches/means depending on the time of day. For mornings, to start the day with a clear head and to get good juju going, I listen to a 20-minute guided meditation that gets me focused and mentally reset from any prior stress or fears with a positive attitude.
If it’s late morning or mid-afternoon, I’ll go for a run outside to open my mind and find peace being in nature. If it’s the end of the day, given my timeline, I find posting to this group helps me take a deep breath and get input/advice to prepare me to tackle the challenge the next day – and get a decent night’s sleep. My partner can also be a good sounding board.
My cat companion also helps put things into perspective, whether it’s a nice snuggle session or an active game of toss the ball. Closing down email is also a stress relief – to let a client, who’s on deadline or is needing immediate turnaround, know you are working on mandate, but if something key comes up, to call me on my cell.”
18. HAVE YUM CHA
“Go have Yum Cha. It’s amazing how easily you forget the stresses of life when you’re continually bombarded by Yum Cha waiters.”
19. LISTEN TO DAVID BOWIE
“Listen to the Hunky Dory album by David Bowie, hang onto every word of songs like Kooks, Quicksand and Andy Warhol. This brings me back to the reality that I don’t need to qualify my work, keep calm and keep writing what naturally spills out. If the client doesn’t like it, next!”
20. DIG DIG DIG
“I find if I Ieave my desk and head into the garden, my stress cloud lifts. Digging in the soil, planting plants, watering said plants (which I’m not quite as good at – sorry plants). All of this makes me realise that work isn’t really that big of a deal and the world will keep on turning regardless of what problem I’m having today.”
21. POP SOME PIMPLES
“Watch Dr Pimple Popper, be totally distracted by her gooey goodness of a job and wonder if I could become the Aussie version of her.”
“Talk (even virtually!). I like to tune in to TCCS to either air my grievances with a compassionate crowd, bear witness to my fellow copywriter’s troubles or even just to have a laugh and remember the bigger picture.”
23. DO LESS
“My tip: Get more done by doing less. Close the laptop, turn off the lights and go for a walk or have a cup of tea – whatever floats your boat. Things will be clearer once you reset.”
24. GET NIBBLES
“My best stress reliever is organising a Friday night cheese platter, a bottle of wine and a good laugh with friends. Even better if they bring the nibbles! Stepping away from desk challenges and towards unrelated conversations is a great release.”
Over to you
There are some unconventional tips above. Do any of them tick your boxes? Do you have any other great stress-relieving tips to share?
Comment below and let us know.