Today we tackle the topic of managing burnout, be it creative, writing, or professional.
Burnout affects everyone in the writing world, and hopefully this article will help you tackle those pesky creative killers to the ground, football-style.
So, what is burnout?
Burnout is the state of being physically and emotionally exhausted. If you dread doing what you once loved and feel overwhelmed and out of control whenever you try, you may be suffering from this serious creative killer.
If your job/profession/freelance gig makes you experience a lack of joy, less patience, exhaustion, or even some physical symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or sleepiness, then this post is for you.
Identifying the cause
Unfortunately for, well, everyone, burnout doesn’t go away on its own. Burnout is kind of a bully; it’ll chase you down and throw punches if you don’t make an active effort to fight back. Grab your boxing gloves and let’s kick some burnout butt! There are a few key things that’ll help you take control of your situation and get back the passion you once had.
The first step to take back control is to figure out why you’re so burned out.
What exactly is poking your creative bubble with a pointy stick? Sometimes, this answer is obvious. Other times, though, you may need to do some detective work in your head to find the cause. I personally find that magnifying glasses and a brief montage of Nancy Drew games get me in the mood for some sleuthing, even if it’s in my mind.
Another helpful way to identify causes is a stress journal. Simply writing down each day what grinds your gears at work can help you find a pattern.
Once you figure out what’s causing your burnout, try some methods to reduce your job’s impact on you by taking fewer hours, working from home a few times a week, asking for help, or just taking a weekend for yourself.
To make a long story short, give yourself a break, even if that means taking a vacation.
You should also learn to say “No.” when necessary. If you’re feeling overwhelmed because of an impossible workload, it may be time to set some boundaries.
Taking care of yourself
If you find burnout is kicking your butt, now’s the time to focus on yourself. Exercise is a good way to turn your stress into something productive, and studies show it can reduce stress on top of its many other benefits. Getting enough sleep is also super important; how do you expect to function not only at work, but in day to day life as a zombie?
“Learning to love yourself is like learning to walk—essential, life-changing, and the only way to stand tall.” – Vironika Tugaleva
Personally, I find that skin care and basic hygiene can be negatively impacted by work stress. Jumping on these and taking a bit to refresh can be the perfect kickstart to your day and give you the boost you need to succeed.
What are your goals?
Ultimately, you need to figure out what you want. What gives you meaning? What makes you feel like you’re actually living and not just trudging through life like a mindless potato. You should take the time to sit down and create a set goal for where you want to be.
If you break down your goal into little steps, it can seem more manageable. Finding yourself in a rut? What steps can you take every day to ultimately get yourself where you want to be.
For example, let’s say that your goal is to get a college degree and open your own business, but you’re a high school dropout.
What would your steps look like?
First, you’d probably need to get a job, then a car, and a GED or Hi-SET diploma to get started. Once you accomplish that, you could save up money while you attend school and start creating an online presence for your side hustle/soon-to-be dream job. The list goes on, but you see what I’m getting at. Don’t overwhelm yourself by creating an endless list of things to do.
Create manageable goals and steps you know you can complete by a certain time, and success is just a few more steps away.
Be positive! Each step, no matter how small, brings you closer to your goal. While things might not be so great now, taking the time to learn about yourself and your own needs may be key to addressing what’s lacking in your profession/job and what you really need to succeed.
Tiny leaps can make big changes in your life in the long run.
Burnout many times is born out of your own unhappiness with a static life that doesn’t meet your needs. Figure out what you really need and start working for it!