At present, it is estimated that nearly 83% of the American workforce is faced with varying degrees of work-related stress. Regardless of whether you are new to the animation industry or have been working in it for a long time, chances are good that you have experienced first-hand just how brutal it can be. Thankfully, stress can be reduced in a number of ways to leave you feeling more relaxed and increasingly capable of delivering exceptional work. While, in extreme cases, professional medical intervention may be required, you can often tackle your stress head-on, simply by making a few lifestyle changes.
Teach yourself how to relax
If you want to continue pursuing your animation dreams without having a nervous breakdown, you need to learn how to relax. There are a variety of very helpful techniques, such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises and meditation, that can help you achieve a relaxed state. Meditating, even just for a few minutes a day, can help decrease your anxiety, manage your stress, and give your creativity a welcome boost. If you are a parent, you should consider getting the whole family to meditate with you. Not only will you be spending quality time with your loved ones (which is often very rare, thanks to countless deadlines and long working hours) but even the youngest family members can benefit from it. Children who meditate with their parents are often more adept at focusing on their work, and also have greater interpersonal skills and self-control.
Eat nourishing food and sleep enough
On any typical day, an animator has to deal with unreasonable demands and tight deadlines that are enough to send your stress levels through the roof. If you find yourself not sleeping enough while also depriving your body of vital nutrients, chances are you will not be able to effectively handle even the slightest bit of pressure that comes your way. According to the CDC, eating badly and sleeping less than 7 hours a night can wreak havoc with both your body and your mind. Try to include a lot of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruit and vegetables, lean protein, dairy, and nuts and legumes in your diet, and aim to sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night so that you can start every day feeling energized and stress-free.
As an animator, you will spend a great deal of your time sitting down in front of a computer or tablet. Being this sedentary won’t do you any favors, and you may soon find your stress levels increase drastically. Numerous studies have found that exercise is a great stress buster, and that being active for as little as 30 minutes a day will boost your body’s endorphin production, which, in turn, will help reduce your stress levels and promote sounder sleep. Exercise also helps to take your mind off stressful thoughts, which will make it easier to concentrate and render your best work.
Working in the animation industry is undoubtedly very rewarding, although it can be stressful as well. As long as you make an effort to reduce your stress levels where possible, you will be able to manage your career with ease.
Jane Evans – Freelance Writer
Remote work is currently on the up worldwide. According to reports, there are now 56.7 million Americans doing Freelance work, which is up by 3.7 million from 2014. The picture is similar in the UK, which has seen a 14% increase in the past decade. According to research, remote workers are said to be happier, more productive and perform better than office-based workers. The main downside that has been highlighted is a difficulty with communication and collaboration, which could present some problems when it comes to animation work unless it’s managed efficiently. However, if you are a highly skilled animator and communication between the different team members is tight, then these potential issues can more easily be mitigated.
Remote workers have more freedom and flexibility
One of the biggest positives of remote work is that it gives you great freedom and flexibility in terms of your living arrangements, as well as when it comes to managing your own time, which many people find liberating. If you are someone who likes to travel and be on the move, then remote work is incredibly convenient. If you’re not a fan of city living, then it enables you to live somewhere more quiet, rural and remote, and still do the job you love. If you enjoy being on the road and traveling to new places, then it opens up the possibility to work remotely while living in a recreational vehicle.
However, if you plan on living this lifestyle and working long hours animating in a mobile home, keeping yourself cool will be essential if you are to perform at your best, particularly if you will be living and traveling in hot climates. Your best option would be to install an RV air conditioning unit: this way you can regulate the temperature while you work to make sure that you are comfortable, as well as ensure that your equipment and materials are kept at the right temperature so that they stay in good condition. Internet access could also become a problem with mobile living, particularly if you are just relying on a WiFi connection. It’s a good idea to have an internet package as a back-up in the form of a mini modem you can plug into your laptop so you can access the internet and communicate with colleagues any time you need to.
Potential challenges and how to work around them
Working remotely as an animator can become challenging if you’re working on a collaborative project that requires many hands, so when applying for remote work, you should make sure that the project you will be working on is a highly specific – and preferably shorter – project. Normally your employer will be aware of this, but it is good to be clued up on this yourself too. Because of the short and specific nature of many freelance animation projects, many employers will prefer to hire animators who are highly skilled, professional, and quick at what they do.
Employers need to be confident that the freelancer can work independently, clearly follow instruction, and meet strict deadlines. If collaboration is needed for a project, fortunately there are many online video communication platforms that can be used to facilitate this, such as Skype conference calls and WhatsApp video calls for example. Everyone in the team needs to make sure that both communication and timings are very clear and concise so that everyone is on the same page. In order for it to work, deadlines need to be adhered to, and meeting times need to be carefully planned so as to sure that communication isn’t negatively affected by different time zones.
In consideration of some of the key pros and cons of remote animation work, the positives do appear to outweigh the negatives. With careful planning and in consideration of the potential issues around communication and collaboration, it is entirely possible to work around some of the main issues associated with working remotely.
Jane Evans – Freelance Writer