Indicators of Stress
While packing for Saboten Con 2016 something very odd happened to me. I started to run out of breath, my hands began to shake and all of the sudden I could not stand. After giving myself a moment to relax and chill out I realized something: I had an anxiety attack induced by Cosplay. Cosplay was actually STRESSING me out.
Stress can sneak up on a person. For some, it causes sweating or overeating; for others it can literally bring them to their knees. Recognizing the onset of stress before it consumes you is QUITE difficult. As a millennial, I was born into stress. I have lived with stress my entire life. I thought it was normal for your hands to shake on occasion or for your breath to catch due to exacerbation. The world around me changed so often that I thought running about until I literally collapsed was how society wanted me to operate.
The same thing can happen in cosplay. As creative persons (be they performers, sewing masters or fabricators) we struggle to balance the insatiable call of the arts with our adult responsibilities. This balance puts us in a precarious position . Do we conform to societal ideals and put "childish notions" to bed? Should we shun society and move forward in our imaginative realm, damning the consequences? What ARE those consequences? Can we be a cosplayer AND an industry/enterprise professional?
TAKE A BREATH, MOVE FORWARD
The best advice I can offer those who feel the weight of expectations on them is this: SIT DOWN, TAKE A BREATH and MOVE FORWARD.
Who is setting those expectations for you? Usually you will find your own demands are higher than you can accept. Take measure of your life and consider what you can accommodate. If you have committed to something you cannot handle then do one of the following...
- Ask for help: Bringing a friend along makes hard tasks easier.
- Ask for an extension: Most people understand stress and are willing to make concessions.
- Cancel: It's human to falter so don't be hard on yourself when you have to step back from a commitment. DO try to find a replacement cosplayer or redirect your customer to someone who offers the same services and has availability. This will prevent inadvertently burning important social bridges.
As you grow and change you'll discover you can bear the weight of more responsibility. This is usually the effect of becoming more efficient, skilled and having a better grasp on time management strategies.
Ways to Relieve Stress
- Prepare: Being prepared for your task will make it that much easier. Creating a list or agenda helps soothe concerns.
- Eat Healthy - Have Snacks: Feeding yourself is important. Be sure to have wholesome snacks on you to survive your day.
- Listen to Music: Tunes have a way of easing even the most anxious of people. Listen to jazz, classical or rock out your worries.
- Step Away from Technology: Go outside for an hour, relax in a bath, go for a swim or play with your pets. Just disconnect.
- Words of Affirmation: Remind yourself of past successes and use those to launch you into another.
Good luck to ALL of you and happy creating! NOTE: Please feel free to ask questions or put comments on your experiences below.