A couple of weeks ago, I shared that I was just downright tired. This ‘tired’ feeling really wasn’t a physical tired … although who doesn’t feel that 3:00pm afternoon slump?!? I thought something was wrong with me. I love what I do yet I felt lazy. I kept thinking … ‘Why am I not feeling motivated to do what I love?’ This digital media world that I operate within can really wear you down. We hear … ‘Consistency is the key to growth’ and ‘Content is king so make sure it’s good’ if you want to be a successful blogger.
This industry, and bloggers themselves, through skewed thoughts, have positively reinforced each other to believe that ….We have to be on. Always. No days off. No checking out. Even on ‘vacation’. Keep sharing. Burnout doesn’t exist and, if it does, do not share it. It’s taboo. No one really talks about it. So, none of us really know we’re exhausted and we see other influencers doing their thing, hustling, posting, killing it like the rockstars they are and, since we operate alone, we think everyone in this industry has endless energy, living their best life, and always on their A game.
[Although, I’ve heard A-gamers literally never sleep which means I’ll never be on my A-game because I loooove me some sleep!]
And, for me, if I’m being really honest, it makes me feel even lazier because I feel like I should be as motivated as they seem.
But, on the flip side, what if these influencers are sharing extra content from their recent trip JUST so they can get some down time at home in sweats with no makeup on? That’s not #goals so that doesn’t get posted … obviously … but why is that the reality we paint?
Why can’t we just say …. ‘hey, I’m freaking tired. I worked really hard the last couple of ___ [weeks, months, years … you fill in the blank]. I’m taking some time for me’ or even … ‘Today I’m literally not getting dressed because I’ve been traveling for two weeks and I’m tired of making myself up.’
Why can’t we be real? For the sake of ourselves, absolutely, but also the people that follow us.
I love what I do. I love sharing what I’m doing, what’s going on, what makes me happy, what’s on my heart, what I’m wearing, what’s on sale, etc. etc. etc. The root of why I love what I do is that I love connecting with people but when I was thinking about my ‘tiredness’ … I started to realize that all of this sharing, connecting, writing and posting is causing me to hit a wall. I thought about how I have my computer in my lap and my phone in my hand every night when I’m ‘relaxing’ at the end of the day with my cat and a glass of wine. My mind is still on work and I’m not allowing myself to mentally come down from a hectic day. My mind is always going and, while that’s very natural for most, I think it’s important to listen to your mind and your body when it’s telling you to shut it down. Honestly, marinating on these feelings of burn out has been a good thing. It’s allowed me to take a step back and think about what I want my platform to portray. I want this to be a positive space. I want to inspire in healthy ways. There’s a lot of therapy in taking your mind off of your stress. There’s a lot of good that can come from shutting production down for a little bit or even cutting down production in order to improve quality. When you work in the field I do, it really is so hard to ‘clock out’. It stresses me out to not be constantly chipping away at the to do list but I’m realizing that it comes at a cost.
So, I’ve put together the list of things that you can do to prevent and / or conquer burnout and thought I’d share them with you! At the end of the post, I’ll share what I did to get myself motivated again!
- Remind yourself that enjoying ‘me time’ / taking a break isn’t a sign of weakness but rather an awareness and dedication to self care.
- Establish times where it’s a ‘no phone zone’. Truly unplug by leaving your phone in another room while you read or catch up on a show.
- Deactivate social media accounts or app’s that you waste a lot of time on and distract you from getting things done.
- Turn off push notifications for work stuff if you’re easily tempted to take care of it if you see it, even if you’re technically ‘off’ work.
- In the same regard, don’t check work emails at night, before you get to the office and / or on weekends if at all possible.
- Getting out of the office midday – whether that’s lunch with a friend, a work out class or going home to walk your pups – and DON’T talk about work!
- Going to conferences or professional development events can help spark new inspiration when you’re feeling a little ‘meh’ about work
- A solo spa day with a good book always works for me!
- Create a self-care plan and stick to it!
- Put enjoyable things on your calendar throughout the week to look forward to and don’t compromise them! Stick to them like you work a work appointment.
- Work somewhere else for a few days out of the week! Sometimes I find new inspiration and energy by doing that … not always going to the same desk all the time.
- If I’m in a work funk, I try to find renewed motivation by reading a book that’s related to my industry or, if I’m just completely over work, I choose a book that I can just get lost in. Reading is both motivation and therapy for me.
- Do whatever completely relaxes and refreshes to you! Literally, just take a day for yourself. Go to the spa. Do an at home facial, pour a glass of wine and watch your favorite movie SANS phone, take a nap, clean … whatever that looks like for you … do it!
- Completely consume yourself with the things you love. Some of my favorites are coffee, scripture, manicures, visiting my friends and family, writing, serving my community, napping.
- Spend time accomplishing a non-work goal like a DIY home project or cooking something new!
- Refocus. Spend time asking yourself hard questions and do your best to remember why you do what you do.
Here are some of the things that I need to do in order to conquer burn out:
- CHOOSING A HEALTHY MENTALITY: I sometimes have to consciously tell myself that it’s okay to not post on Instagram from time to time – even if it hurts my ‘numbers’ due to the new Instagram algorithm. I know that might seem strange or foreign to some people but, it’s technically part of my job to maintain an online presence. Granted … I’m a natural sharer and that’s why I share myself online, not so much because I have to, but sometimes that thought creeps in to my mind when I just don’t want to be ‘on’. I have to consciously remember that work is important. We were designed for a purpose and we should be working hard toward that purpose and toward the goals we’ve set for ourselves but, on the seventh day of creation, God rested so, I believe we were also designed to rest. And enjoy it. Work should not dictate our lives all day every day. We need time with family. With friends. With ourselves. With our animal babies. With our real babies. Life can’t be all consumed by ONE aspect of our lives. We need to nurture them all and it’s okay to put work to the side sometimes. Can you tell this is something I have to tell myself from time to time? Haha, I wish it wouldn’t make me feel guilty. It’s also important to truly ask yourself …. why am I motivated to ALWAYS be working? Is it a healthy motivation or not? Sometimes that’s a hard question to answer and the answer may be a hard one to face but … I think it’s important to do so. It could help you experience a more healthy mindset. Something that helps me maintain a healthy mentality is spending time listening to podcasts that are centered around my faith or reading devotionals. They help me get back on track if I allowed other things to fully consume my mind and heart.
- UNPLUG – When I feel a little burned out from work, I make a conscience effort to put my phone and computer in another room. It’s amazing what you can get done around your house when you do this and it’s amazing how relaxed your mind feels when you just allow yourself to look at something else besides your phone.
- LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF – One of my best friends, has told me about a personality test called Enneagram in the past but, I’ve never felt more motivated to take it than I have after my recent reset. While recharging, I took the test and spend some time learning about myself which, in turn, helped to answer some questions I had been mulling over about myself. Why am I this way? What motivates my behavior? Why do certain things annoy me that don’t seem to bother others? I consider myself a very self-assured, confident person but I think it’s natural for us to wonder about ourselves sometimes and maybe wish some of our traits were different. Knowing my Enneagram number [I’m a 9, which is The Peacemaker, with a 1 wing, which is The Perfectionist] has given me some strong insight into what my core motivation is in life, how I operate when I’m in a healthy state, average state and unhealthy state, how I operate when I’m stressed, how I operate in periods of growth and it also gives tells me what my vice is … what I need to watch out for. Each number has a vice. Come to find out … SLOTH is my vice, which explains why I feel lazy when I feel overwhelmed, burned out and uninspired. I feel like knowing my Enneagram number is a way I can care for myself better … it gives me markers to look out for. What’s your Enneagram number?
- TURN OFF PUSH NOTIFICATIONS – So, being a 9 on the Enneagram scale means that I don’t really like to be at odds with anyone, which makes certain aspects of my job hard for me to internally handle. I have learned that turning OFF push notifications when I need to FOCUS on getting things done has been really helpful in preventing burn out. I always want to respond to people right away because I’m always like ‘oh it’ll just take a second’ but those seconds add up and, before I know it, it’s 9:00pm and I’ve done everything else … made everyone else happy … but my blog post for the next day is nowhere near being completed and ready for scheduling. If I’m constantly responding to every response on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or even text message … I feel discouraged, like I can’t get it all done and, in reality, my focus can’t ALWAYS be about connecting … it has to be about production sometimes, too! As a 9, I don’t need a push notification to remind me to connect with people, to check my direct messages, etc. That comes naturally to me so, removing push notifications from my phone has been that healthy boundary that helps me improve my focus and productivity on other tasks and then I get back to connecting when it’s time for that!
- R E L A X – I recharge by sleeping in, taking my time to do everything I need to do around the house, putting an old movie on and just relaxing around the house. No rushing. Just relaxing, enjoying the little things and getting small things done here and there. That’s the best in my opinion!
What do you do to unwind, recharge and / or conquer burnout? Please share! I want this post to be one where people get some good ideas and feel like they’re not alone! What is it about your job that runs you down and wears you out?
Love & Sparkle,