Ways to Establish Inner Balance During Creative Crunch Time

creative crunch time, inner balance, stress management, coping mechanisms, stress hangover, self care, tea, flowers


Stress is part of life, but often much more noticeable during creative crunch time.


Sensations related to the bubbling up of stress are easy to ignore. We have TV and social media to help distract us, while a few drinks or a good meal also does the trick. These habits help take our mind off of focusing on all the little to-do’s and help us recharge for a bit. Yet, ultimately, they don’t address the most important element – how we cope with stress in the day to day.


Understanding the way we feel when we are stressed, how we process it, and the best ways to maintain inner balance in the midst of ongoing stress all play a key role in finding personal, effective ways to manage it. What works for me – nice calming background music and time alone, might irritate someone who likes to listen to heavy metal music in a busy coffee shop to get through their creative crunch time and manage stress.


It’s easy to feel powerless when we look at all of the ways stress is creeping in on a personal and professional level. Instead of focusing on all the ways we are stressed or falling short, why not take some time to breathe, recenter, and create new pathways to inner balance?


Knowing your Personal Stress Modes and Coping Mechanisms


Some people, especially creatives, often thrive on the time squeeze of a tight deadline. What they may not realize is what’s lurking in the background – the stress hangover. That muddled, spacey, muscle relaxed feeling often identified as stress relief, is really the body saying, “thank goodness that is over and I’m out of danger.” The fight or flight response finally lifts, letting the body know it’s safe to think and behave freely once again.


Pushing through on adrenaline and the creative inspiration that can come with it has its benefits. The spark of creative necessity can push us to and through boundaries in our minds and hearts. However, once the creative crunch time is over, our body is also letting us know there’s time and space to rejuvenate – and we need to listen.


Often, we don’t ask the body what it needs during the stress hangover period, nor is it easy to spot the imbalances created emotionally, mentally, or physically. To compensate, we drink more caffeine, skip exercise to chill on the couch, or grab junky comfort food in lieu of healthy cooking because our brain has no idea what we want to eat, let alone make.


It’s in this space we have a huge opportunity to rewire our habits, simply by noticing what we do when we are stressed AND how we choose to recover from a stress hangover. When we realize what we are doing to cope during a creative crunch time, we also begin to understand how to bring ourselves back into balance once again.


The important thing is to value our health and well-being as much as we value pushing through crunch time to check off everything on the to-do list.


Crafting a Personalized Inner Balance Cheat Sheet


To connect with our personalized self-care needs and combat the effects of stress, it’s essential to ask yourself these key things:


  • What am I craving mentally, physically, emotionally? What thoughts and emotions are coming up now that there is space and time to express them? Be honest, and don’t judge what comes up. Just write down how you feel.
  • Are the things I’m craving healthy for me, or an inspiration to find a healthier alternative?
  • Do I need help and support from a class, coach, or other outside resource to process aspects of stress I’m still holding onto?


Once you have a general idea of your post creative crunch time stress levels and needs, it’s time to get creative with ways to get back on track.


For example, if you know you always eat poorly during stressful times, make sure you have healthy options pre-made to heat up and serve, or choose simple foods like salads and smoothies that are gentle on the stomach.


Other ideas to support yourself during a creative crunch time:

  • Maintain an exercise and meditation routine – even if it’s shorter than normal.
  • Surround yourself with things you like to see or listen to and relaxing scents like candles or essential oils.
  • Research and choose healthy foods, teas and supplements to help with stress management.
  • Build consistent breaks in your work schedule, such as 1.5 to 2 hour work pockets, then take a break. Breaks can be videos, a walk, hanging with pets or drinking some extra water or simply sitting quietly and rubbing your eyes and stretching.
  • Listen to guided meditations focused on stress relief – there are tons of different free ones on YouTube.


The truth is, we need to flow with different amounts of unexpected stress all the time in life, and when it happens, it’s not in our control. What we can do is be kinder and more loving to ourselves in periods of high anxiety and deadlines, so the stress hangover is much shorter, or doesn’t happen at all.


Taking the time to craft a personalized inner balance “cheat sheet” can go a long way in helping maintain a grounded approach to life and flow with what happens. At the same time, we feel empowered from the tools and know-how to take care of ourselves in a more loving, healthy way that gives us what we need to push through creative crunch times with mind, body and spirit well-supported.


If you would like support in understanding and managing your habits around stress or adopting healthier creative crunch time behaviors, please set up a consult with me. Interested in reading more posts to boost self care practices? Check out Opening Up to the True Spirit of Creative Self Care or Listening to the Wisdom of the Body to Guide Creative Self Care. Last but not least, you can always check out my podcast, Flirting With Enlightenment, to learn more tips to support you in mind, body and spirit.