Stress and Anxiety: keeping your mind occupied

by Mireille Bourgeois

Sometimes being a freelancer sucks. I love my job as a curator and writer, but occasionally, when I’ve sent all the proposals I’m going to send for the day, applied for a couple of contracts, and responded to all emails, anxiety seeps in and pushes my brain to think “what now?”. Before fear takes hold, which can be debilitating, my adrenaline starts shooting signals to my body saying “move, move, move…”. Like a shark, must keep moving.

This week my partner and I had a big blow. He works in the film industry and the film tax credit was cut by 75% in our beautiful province of Nova Scotia. I’m certainly not in the mood to write a diatribe about why this is horrible, I’m trying to take my mind OFF of all this today. If you’re interested, please follow Screen Nova Scotia‘s news. So to be short and sweet: we are both creatives and our livelihood is being severely threatened.

This was yesterday. Today is a new day and after I wrote the protest letters to my MP, and sending out the appropriate notes and press releases on social media, finishing my own freelancer work, I still needed to keep my mind and body occupied. Can’t say I’m focusing too hard on quality today but here are a few things I recommend to anyone that suffers from light anxiety (obviously I’m not trying to trivialize deeper anxiety disorders…) and just wants to keep busy.



Get a spatula, a hammer for all I care. Have at ‘er. Get in there and hack at that bitchin’ motha fuckin ice.


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Buy a bunch of garlic on discount. Peel all the garlic while watching a stupid show (maybe try The 100 on Netflix, whatever, I don’t care, just SOMETHING. ANYTHING.). Food process all the garlic, drench it in oil, and freeze. You might be worried about affording food eventually, but at least you’ll never get sick, and smell of sweet tangy and frugal success.



Sometimes you need a more intricate activity that keeps your mind off things for more than 30 minutes. Make some damn fine jam. I used this recipe because it had a hot pepper in it and I feel like lighting things on FIRE. Here it is.


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Who doesn’t like soup? You can use up all the sad vegetables leftovers, feed yourself and feel like a friggin rock star for making something out of nothing. You know that ham bone that’s left over after that fine ham your father and mother in law made for you? Boil it until there’s nothing but a smidgen of hope left in it. Discard that shit. Then add some split peas, two carrots, two celery sticks, and an onion. Add whatever the hell kind of spices you want. when everything looks like mush, blend it up like you don’t want to see its face ever again and eat it up.



Why not prepare for a time when you can’t afford fresh produce. Dehydrate all the zucchini you bought on discount. Do it now before it’s too late.



Chill the fuck down. Have some tea, and the rest of the stale bread. You deserve it.



This is not my suggestion, I would murder all the things if I had to concentrate on technology today. But it happens to be what my partner is doing to keep his mind off of things today. Fill your boots. Take all the things off the wall, unplug things completely, and replug things and rearrange all you want.

Later we are going for a couple of drinks with friends and an art gallery opening, because despite this ragey blog post, and my amusement in writing it, supporting the arts, and having hope are VERY important to our lives. Without the Arts: film, media, visual, theatre, performance or other, we are all kind of screwed. There’s nothing that makes me feel better or makes more sense to me than continuing to believe in the future of the arts, among the people who give a shit about it all. PEACE.


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