Summer Dry Spell? A Freelancer's Survival Guide
Julia Baum Therapy - Summer dry spell - Freelancer's survival guide

It’s now the middle of August, and in NYC that means beach weekends are numbered, it’s more humid than ever, and although it’s raining as I write this, freelance work is running dry for many creative professionals, particularly freelancers. It happens every year. Business slows down in late summer because so many clients are away on vacation. It’s just not a high season for many creatives, and it’s easy to let panic slip in. After all, it’s been slow for weeks and weeks, and we as humans tend to jump to the negative more often than not. Here are some tips to keep yourself sane when work slows down.

Don’t panic - Remember that you’ve been through tough times before and acknowledge that you’re resourceful and capable of getting through this one, too.  

Take advantage - Things will pick up again. Enjoy your free time and the peace & quiet it brings because there were times when you would have practically killed for this time off. It’s here now, so savor it while you can. If this rain ever stops, get yourself to the beach or the park, take a long bike ride, have a picnic, read, meditate. Even if the rain doesn’t stop, do all the things. 

Be proactive - Invest energy in developing skills and accomplishments for your CV, refresh your website, and make new promo materials to distribute. Create new personal work that you can leverage into more lucrative projects. Let your clients know you’re available for upcoming work. Make an effort to network with new and familiar people in your industry. You have time to take someone out for coffee. Do it! Every day this week! You don’t know what may transpire now or far down the line. Plant as many seeds for opportunities as you can. 

Prepare yourself - Your clients will be back from vacation soon, and reaching out to you. Make sure your personal affairs are in order so that you’re ready to go when the time comes. Finish the spring cleaning you started back in May so that your home is a tranquil space to return to after the long days you’re about to have. Establish healthy sleep, eating, and exercise patterns now that will sustain you when things get busy again. Just because you can stay up until 2 am doesn’t mean it’s a good routine to get into if you want to hit the ground running. 

Stay positive - This phrase is so cliché that it pains me even to say, but it’s essential. Assume things are going to work out and that this is a temporary dry spell, not a life sentence. Do not depress yourself with hopeless thinking because if you allow yourself to go down that road, you won't muster the motivation needed to take the steps I laid out above, and those are the things that will help you turn this around ASAP. Allowing your negative thoughts to take over will lead to a sense of hopelessness and complacency, and that’s not going to help you maximize your opportunities. Act in ways that demonstrate a positive outlook and the feelings and opportunities will follow. 

In summary, I'm saying what Dr. Albert Ellis, the second most influential psychotherapist in modern history (1), used to tell his clients all the time: "Push Your Ass." The suggestions listed above take effort and willpower to achieve. Sometimes you have to push back hard against fear and negativity to come out on top. It’s not easy to cope with a slow summer, but I promise, you will get through it one way or another. It’s up to you how you’ll make this time count. Consistent effort over time will pay off, or to put it more poetically, take it from one of my favorite bands:

"Still always remembering
When the going gets tough
That the labor of our love
Will reward us soon enough."
- The Growlers ("Going Gets Tough")

If you’re seeking more support around work frustrations, I welcome you to contact me at julia@juliabaum.com.

Reference
1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/24/AR2007072402199.html?noredirect=on

New Group - Loneliness
Julia Baum Therapy - Group Therapy - Loneliness.jpg

Do you struggle with feelings of loneliness? Working with 100's of clients over the years, one thing I've noticed is that a surprising number of people struggle with loneliness, and sadly, many do it alone -- without realizing that so many people around them are suffering similarly in silence. Whether you're going through a rough patch, just moved to the city, or haven't felt a part of something for a while, a support group with others who relate can help.

I'll be facilitating a support group to address loneliness this fall in collaboration with My Wellbeing. Connect with others who are experiencing similar feelings and move toward more meaningful connections, together.

Wednesdays 3-4p September 12-October 17
$40/session

216 E 14th St. 
New York, NY 10003  

Space is limited. 
Email me at julia@juliabaum.com or alyssa@mywellbeing.us to apply or learn more.

Are your emotions hurting your business?
Julia Baum | CBT Therapist | Blog Post - Are your emotions hurting your business.jpg

I read an article the other day for business owners that frustrated me. It said that all emotions get in the way of running a successful business. As a CBT therapist, I can tell you, that sounds insane. I was annoyed that creative entrepreneurs are being told to damped their passion -- to squelch their feelings and live like robots. Have you ever worked with someone who’s lost their passion? It sucks! One of the last things I want is for my clients to try numbing out their feelings in an attempt to be more effective in business.  

Humans are emotional beings by nature. Existing with feeling is part of what makes us people and not plants. Asking anyone to turn off that innate process is not only unrealistic but also unwise. We respond to our feelings through the actions we take. Having strong healthy feelings around your hopes and dreams fosters the strength and grit you need to work hard, overcome setbacks, and keep going. Remember that lackluster colleague? Are they doing anything exciting right now? Without emotion, we usually fall short of our potential to influence and lead others.

Not all emotions are helpful though. Some actually encourage backward tendencies, like wanting to give up, procrastinating, and avoiding responsibility. Unhealthy feelings also encourage unhelpful thinking: for example, when we feel overwhelmed, which is an unhealthy negative emotion, we tend to think in self-defeating ways -- “Everyone is going to think I’m a fraud. Maybe I should put off this launch; I’m too stressed right now. Maybe I’m not cut out for this.”

Knowing that feelings drive subsequent thoughts and behaviors, it’s wise to mindfully foster healthy, productive feelings that propel us to do our best work, maximize opportunities for success, and prevail over challenge. As a therapist, I would never encourage a business owner to leave emotions out of their work. I want my clients to handle the ups and downs of entrepreneurship with resilience and grace, not like a zombie.

Here’s proof that even negative feelings, if they’re healthy, can be helpful: my annoyance about that article prompted me to write this one, which I hope will inspire you to consider the types of emotions you feel and how they impact your business. If you think your emotions are getting in the way of your full potential, therapy might help. I welcome you to contact me for a free consultation.  

Reduce Your Anxiety with CBT

There are some really nice, simple tips in this article on small ways to help yourself reduce anxiety. CBT is mentioned specifically as a technique, but many of the other suggestions are supported by CBT theory as well. While this article by The Mighty clearly states that it's not an attempt to offer a cure, the general approaches described have helped many people feel less anxious and I hope will help you, too. 

Q&A with My Wellbeing

I recently spoke with My Wellbeing, a community for mental health advocacy in New York City, about my experience as a therapist in Brooklyn. With them, I shared what I love most about being a cognitive behavioral therapist (CBT), how my background as an artist impacts my style in the treatment room, and what I'm studying right now. To learn more about me, click (here) for the full interview. 

[Past] Event: Breaking Through Writer's Block

In collaboration with Walking in Other People's Shoes

Do you feel inspired to write but find yourself lost and unfocused when it’s time to put your ideas on paper? Have creative blocks made it hard to express your unique voice? Join us for this collaborative and supportive workshop where you will learn the causes of writer’s block and what you can do about it now to stop staring at a blank page and get your ideas out there. Other creative blocks will be addressed as well. We look forward to seeing you there!

January 25th, 2018

7–8:30 pm at New Women's Space 

Get your tickets (here). 

10 Ways to Tame Your Startup Stress

Brooklyn-based entrepreneurs face tremendous challenges when bringing their innovative ideas to market. Stress in the work-place can contribute to physical and emotional pain and suffering when left untreated. Thankfully, you can learn life-long skills to better manage fear, anxiety, and stress so that you can thrive and your business can flourish. I was recently called upon to contribute to Leslie Alderman's article in The Bridge about this very common concern. Read the full story [here].