If you work for yourself, there’s a good chance you are intimately familiar with this feeling. That exhausted, tired to your bones, don’t want to get out of bed, empty-black-hole-life-sucking feeling.
For a lot of us that work for ourselves, we started this because there is something that we love and are passionate about and want to share. Whether that’s painting, photography, yoga, sewing, etc. Typically, however, there is so much more entailed than simply doing the thing you love. There’s all the admin tasks like answering emails, managing client expectations, marketing your products or services just to name a few.
Very quickly, these things can add up.
As a society and culture, we have internalized capitalism to the point where we feel guilty for resting, we determine our worth based on our productivity, and we neglect our health.
Add into this mix the daily struggles that many entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and creatives face with their mental health, it’s no wonder we’re feeling so burned out.
From my experience, there’s no one step fix or cure or one size fits all solution for burn out. BUT–here’s a list of things you can try to help manage the burn out or prevent a future burn out. Some of these come from suggestions from my Instagram followers.
Self-care is such a buzz word, glorified by bubble baths, face masks, tea in front of a burning fire, yoga classes, and quite often–more things for you to go spend money on to make you feel better.
And maybe that is what your self-care looks like, and that’s okay. No one can tell you what your self-care looks like. Only you can do that. Moreover, your self-care practice might be different each day. Something that worked yesterday may not work for you today. That’s also okay.
Self-care is an experiment in finding things that make you feel good. And sometimes…
Sometimes self-care is about survival. It’s about doing what you need to get through the day. It’s about taking five minutes and thinking about what you need.Kat Nicholls, Self Care: Back to Basics
Kat has a great list of suggestions on her blog of basic self-care ideas I recommend.
Here are a couple more suggestions I would offer:
- Go for a walk or run
- Read a book you enjoy
- Meet up with friends or call a friend
- Put your phone down for a little while
- Meditate with Insight, Calm, Headspace, or your favourite app
- Do something artistically different from what you do for work
is a necessary magic
draws a circle around you
i have given enoughboundaries, McKayla Robbin
When first starting out in our business, we typically say yes to everything. An opportunity comes up and we say yes! There comes a point, however, when we start saying yes to things that we don’t want to do or don’t really have the energy for. This can lead us spiraling down fast for a burn out.
Writing down your limits, what you will or will not do in your business or even your personal life can help immensely. Think about your working hours, whether or not you offer concessions/discounts in your business, how you communicate or allow others to communicate to you, just to name a few.
It can feel really scary to say no to something. “What if that was our big break/opportunity?”
Our society and culture has been set up to make us feel guilty for resting. Guilty for taking a break. Guilty for resting.
And it may be incredibly cliché, but “In order to help others, we first need to fill our own cup” and sometimes that looks like saying no.
Nourish Your Creativity
Make time for a passion project. Something that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but you kept pushing it to the back burning in order to focus on your work.
STOP. Make some time, rearrange and reprioritize some tasks to put nourishing your creativity on the list. Do something that isn’t work related.
Try something new like a weaving or pottery class. Look up youtube tutorials and try it yourself if there’s no class near you. Start a vegetable or wildflower garden. Propagate plants from the wild. Paint, draw, write, take pictures, find something that lights you up.
As creative people in a creative industry, it’s tempting to think “but I am being creative doing [my work for my business]” and yes, that is creative, but is it for YOU or for your business and your clients?
Try and do something creative exclusively for YOU.
Take an Enforced Break
Emails can be overwhelming. Admin tasks can be overwhelming. Social Media can be extremely overwhelming. Comparison Trap or Imposter Syndrome anyone?
If you can, try and set aside time to close the computer, set the phone down, and do something else or to do nothing at all. The absence of doing is difficult for a lot of people. We feel like if we’re not working, we’re not being productive, and anything else isn’t worth our time.
Our society and culture has built a system where we tie our worth to our productivity. This leads us to neglecting our health–physical, mental, and emotional.
Taking a break is so so vital for me. Whether that’s taking my dog out for an hour walk, practicing yoga for 20 minutes, and spending 5 minutes watching my tea brew, breaks are essential.
If you’re a planner and scheduler, maybe you can locate gaps in your day where you step away from your work, take a break, and return to it when you’re in a better headspace. If you’re like me and can’t seem to schedule or plan your work day, set an alarm to remind yourself to get up and take a break.
Hopefully some of these things help. If you have other suggestions, please comment below with them. Community and sharing is such a powerful tool to utilize as someone out there may have that little nugget of awesome-ness that we needed to hear or read or to try.