As sex workers, we give so much energy to clients, and if we don’t take the time to reset and give back to ourselves, then we can quickly end up SUPER burnt out.
Burn out is no joke. Been there, done that. I know when I’m slipping into burn out mode because EVERYTHING clients do will irritate me, even when it wouldn’t usually get on my nerves.
Today I’m going to share some tips that have helped take me from that IRRITATED state on the edge of burn out to feeling totally blissed out.
The first thing I do is take some time for myself to reset and get all of my thoughts out. This might be by writing down how I’m feeling or venting to my partner or a friend.
Sometimes I like to do a mindless task like showering, cleaning or cooking, and I allow myself to go over thoughts in my head while I’m doing these tasks. This works sort of like venting to a friend; except I’m venting to myself. It allows me to work out how I’m feeling. Once I’m finished the task, I let go of the thoughts and move on.
We all know HOW to make ourselves feel better. For me, it’s venting to someone else or myself. For you, it might be different. But the trick is actually MAKING TIME for yourself to do those things. So, make sure you carve out a few minutes after you finish work to engage in whatever will help you destress.
We live in a world that praises the ‘hustle’ mentality. We think we have to be ‘on’ all the time and be operating at 100%, otherwise we aren’t worthwhile human beings. We feel less-than if we aren’t as productive as we want to be.
The fact is, if you’re stressed about how stressed you are, then you’re just going to keep being stressed. It’s okay that you’re stressed. It’s okay that you find that particular client SUPER irritating or that you aren’t getting along with your partner. It’s totally fine and normal to feel stressed sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
There’s a couple of ways to categorise stressors: internal (e.g., expectations for yourself, poor self-esteem, thinking you’re not good enough, etc.) OR external (e.g., relationships, work, environmental factors, etc.)
If your stressors are internal, you might need to put some effort into changing how you relate to yourself. Circle back to tip #1 – you KNOW what helps you to feel better. You KNOW how to support yourself. Make sure you are doing those things and being kind to yourself.
If your stressors are external, it might be time to make some life changes. If a relationship is making you unhappy, maybe it’s time to consider whether that person is worth keeping in your life. If you feel super stressed out every time you see that ONE annoying boundary-pushing client, maybe it’s time to cut him off and make room in your schedule for new clients.
Take a moment to identify and write down the causes of your stress.
There are two ways people usually manage stress:
Avoidance: reduces the immediate impact of the stressor at a cost;
Active Coping: rational evaluation of our capacities to manage stressors as best we can and planning efficient ways to cushion their impact.
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely an avoider. Instead of dealing with and managing my stressors, I tend to avoid how I’m feeling until it builds up and explodes at an inconvenient time. This is clearly an unhealthy and unhelpful way of dealing with things. In an ideal world, we’d all be actively coping (and they’d probably be less conflict in the world).
So, how do we actively cope, rather than avoid?
There’s a huge difference between knowing and actually DOING. So, let’s go back to the list of the causes of your stress that you created earlier. I want you to write down what you are CURRENTLY doing to cope with that stress and how it is making you feel. Then, I want you to write down how you could change your behaviour to be more ACTIVE.
Cause of stress:
Regular client continuously pushes for personal details during bookings, which makes me feel uncomfortable and dread upcoming bookings.
Current coping mechanism:
Ignoring the client’s text messages when he enquires about a booking.
This makes me feel:
– Stressed because I know I will eventually need to reply to him;
– Anxious every time I receive a text message because I am worried it might be him;
– More annoyed at other clients who ask me questions, even though they aren’t pushing boundaries like he is.
To be more active in this situation, I could:
– Text the client and tell him his questions make me uncomfortable, and offer to see him for a booking if he respects my boundaries;
– Text the client and say to him that I no longer wish to see him because he has crossed my boundaries;
– Block the client’s number so that I no longer have to feel anxious every time I receive a text.
Any of the three ‘active’ solutions I came up with would be a better way of coping than my default avoidance because they allow me to resolve the situation, and therefore the stress.
Have a go and see how you feel about resolving some of the stressors in your life.
Photo by Unsplash.
Disclaimer: I cannot, and do not, speak for all sex workers. I speak from my experience of working in a legal brothel and as an independent escort in Australia. Where possible I try to be inclusive. However, I can’t relay every experience of sex work – especially if I haven’t experienced it myself. This blog is for entertainment purposes only.