Reduce Stress As A Content Creator
Lessons On Compassion & Essentialism From Kristin Neff And Greg McKeown
In today’s solo episode I’ll talk about reducing stress as a content creator.
I was asked an amazing question on the show today, actually I’ll play it for you quickly.
“I would ask you, what is a way to reduce stress as a content creator? Like how would you help me reduce my cognitive, stress load?”
That’s Taylin Simmonds, a real leader in the creator space, It’s a great interview by the way, I’ll be sure to share the full thing when it’s up because it was super powerful when he was answering the questions.
It’s funny to get a question like this because I’ve battled my whole life with anxiety and suicidal ideation. Heck, I’m feeling it a bit while I write this. When it gets really bad, depression creeps in, but that is very rare in the last 15 years.
Suicidal thoughts creep in, but I have minimal fear of any harm. I’m able to laugh at these intrusive thoughts.
Anxiety cursors begin, but rarely, rarely develop into panic attacks.
So, I wanted to share the punchline with you first: the struggle to figure this out is what connects us as human beings.
Now, I’ll elaborate because there are a few other things I’ve learned that can help us live with less stress in the creator economy. But honestly, that line may be all you need.
Stress In The Creator Economy
Most of us struggle to reduce the stress that comes with being a creator. Some to the point that we burn out. Here are the 7 things that tend to get us all worked up.
- Balancing projects
- Comparing ourselves to others
- Overidentifying with our work
- Meeting tight unrealistic deadlines
- Measuring things beyond our control
- Dealing with negative feedback or criticism
- Competing to build ourselves up instead of living in abundance
The good news is that I’ve made steady progress in these areas. There is research and expertise behind us, and I know we can all live a lower stress, creator life.
Self Compassion Vs Self Esteem
Figuring out how to live with less stress in the creator economy unlocks a whole new way of living right.
Focusing on self compassion allows us to set goals we actually want to set. We are able to focus more on generosity. And we will be able to set aside our worries about work, when we are engaged in play, or quality time.
Unfortunately, we often struggle to achieve this level for ourselves because we focus so much on a future vision, overcoming our past, or results beyond our control.
Self Esteem comes from seeing ourselves as “above others”. And it’s contingent on things beyond our control.
This is why people often compare themselves to others. We have a natural tendency in our culture to tear others down in order to build ourselves up. We measure the score with other people, we fight, we bully and we compete.
It’s an unhealthy obsession that can not end because it is relative in a negative way.
A champion bodybuilder thinking someone in the gym had better arms than him.
A supermodel thinking another model is prettier than her.
A multimillionaire real estate mogul wondering why he can’t be as wealthy as the ecommerce king.
The examples are endless. But I think you get the point. So what should we do?
Well, in her work on this exact topic, Kristin Neff reminds us that we should focus on the 3 elements of self compassion we should focus on instead.
3 Elements Of Self Compassion
- Practice Mindfulness: Being aware of your own feelings and thoughts without judging them allows you to approach situations more calmly and less reactive.
- Recognize Our Common Humanity: Basically what I was saying earlier, this is what connects us. We shouldn’t feel isolated in this battle. Suffering, grief, pain, struggle (and the need for these things) is part of the human experience. It is normal and like a video game, we only get so many lives, but we might as well try to get to the next level.
- Be Kind to Yourself: Treat yourself as you would a close friend, or athlete you’re coaching. Instead of criticism, engage in kindness, encouragement and forgiveness. This creates a space for social emotional safety, which counteracts the negative thoughts we talked about earlier.
Glass Balls Vs Bouncy Balls
All of our priorities in life can be categorized into glass balls or bouncy balls. The glass balls are like our foundation. They include health (mind, body, spirit), family, friends, and much like glass, if we drop them they could break and worse can be very difficult to put back together.
The bouncy balls are built on top of the foundation we have and include work and passions. Different from the glass balls, these will always come and go.
They are a constant evolution of various ups and downs that we need not worry about. All we can do is make the best decision possible, the most aligned with our values and see what happens. Short of a tragic death, we know that both work and passions will come back around.
Stop Juggling So Much
Warren Buffet was quoted as saying that anything we are serious about being successful in life should fall into one of the five things we spend almost all of our time doing. Assuming we take care of ourselves, our family and our relationships, we are left with two things to focus on.
So, we need to figure out what are those essential things?
Picture yourself juggling a ball for everything you do in life. Projects, tasks, responsibilities, and expectations.
Ask yourself, “Do I really need to be juggling all of these?” The more balls in the air, the higher the likelihood of dropping one, and that’s a recipe for stress and overwhelm.
So, what if we could simply put some of them down? The reality is, it’s not just about doing less; it’s about doing more of what truly adds value to your life.
Now, as you start putting down the less important “juggling balls,” it’s natural to feel a twinge of guilt or failure. This emotional burden is often what keeps us from focusing on what’s genuinely essential. When you experience this emotional turmoil, pause, breathe and remind yourself, your worth isn’t tied to how many balls you can keep in the air.
Granting yourself this emotional grace can be remarkably liberating, lightening your mental load considerably.
Do What Is Essential
We took a family trip to a cottage on the beach last summer and I read the book “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown.
He presents a detailed, step by step, blueprint for living a life focused on truly important activities rather than spreading oneself thin.
3 elements of self compassion
- Discern the Essential from the Non-Essential: Not everything we give our attention to is essential for a fulfilling life. The first step in Essentialism is to discern what truly matters to you personally and professionally? This can involve saying ‘no’ to many good opportunities in order to say ‘yes’ to the few exceptional ones.
- Eliminate the Non-Essentials: Once you’ve identified what truly matters, the next step is to eliminate everything else that draws away your time and energy. Declutter your schedule, commitments, communications and even your mind to create room for more meaningful engagement.
- Create a Routine for the Essential: It’s not enough to identify and eliminate. We must create a systematic routine to make sure that the essentials are integrated. Whether it’s carving out time to spend with family or setting aside focused time to create, the goal is to make the practice of the essential a mandatory aspect of your schedule.
Nine Ways To Reduce Stress As A Content Creator
The creator economy offers a lot of benefits, but stress is a downside. Here are nine more things to try when it comes to reducing that mental load, stress and pressure:
- Get Clarity: Prioritize your tasks and projects based on what aligns most closely with your long-term goals and values. Creators often juggle various activities like content creation, social media management, and audience engagement. Knowing what truly matters in that moment will help you allocate time and resources more effectively, reducing stress.
- Build Your Pyramid Base: Self care, friends and family are the foundation that we build everything else on. Are you doing everything you can to optimize your relationships, nutrition, sleep, exercise, spirituality, mental and physical health?
- Set Boundaries: It’s easy to feel like you have to be “on” all the time, especially when social media plays a big role in your work. Define clear work-life boundaries to give yourself time to recharge.
- Be Compassionate Towards Yourself: Mistakes and setbacks are inevitable in any career. When they happen, treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you’d offer to a friend, or child.
- Delegate, Collaborate And Discard: Let go of personal perfection. You don’t have to do everything. Outsource tasks that are not your strong suit or that take up too much of your time. Collaborate with others to not only share the workload but also to bring fresh perspectives and ideas into your projects. And remove elements of your work that are not yielding a big benefit for the time and energy they take.
- Establish a Routine With Regular Breaks: Having a consistent work routine can make your day more predictable and less stressful. Dedicate specific blocks of time to activities like content creation, audience interaction, and rest.
- Live In The Moment: Get more and more in tune with the power of now. There is no suffering unless it stems from the past, or the future. Let your thoughts float by like clouds without judging them, practice mindfulness and meditation daily.
- Seek Support: The journey of a creator can be lonely. Having a support system of fellow creators, mentors, and students can help you work with others more often. You can share experiences, seek advice, or simply have a shoulder to lean on during challenging times. Because, every creator faces challenges and they are always opportunities to get together, learn, and to grow.
Aright, there you have it, reducing stress as a content creator.
I’m really loving the questions people ask me, so keep them coming!
Appreciate all of you. Until the next episode, all the best and remember, Just Keep Learning.
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