Burn out is a real thing, let me tell ya! Even when working from home. In the past when I’ve felt burned out from one of my endeavors, I always seemed to move on from them. I decided it wasn’t worth it anymore, or it wasn’t fun anymore – so I just let them go. Then I started this blog. It was perfect for me. I could write, design, podcast, all sorts of things I loved to do! And I was doing it A LOT. Every idea I had, I put it into action. I was so high on this new business venture that I felt like I was never coming down. I began to feel afraid of burning out and moving on, leaving my project behind just like all of the other ones. That’s what always happened with every new project I tried to take on. I worked so hard on this design business, I didn’t want that “OK, I’m done now” feeling to come. But it always does.
When it did come, I felt really down. Ugh all of this hard work just for me to feel like I can’t do it anymore?! WHY, BRAIN? Instead of completely giving up (because I put hours and hours of work into this baby!) I decided I would just take a week off. I didn’t get in the mindset of quitting, I got in the mindset of “OK, after this week off I am getting right back to work! I am not going to give up! But for now, just chill, alright?”
If you’re working a job and have a blog on the side, that’s a lot of work and burnout might come super quick for you! When you start feeling burned out from trying to build a super amazing blog AND working a job, try putting your blog off for a week and refresh your brain. Just focus on relaxing during the times you would usually work on your blog.
How can we refresh our brains during burnout? Well first, take a week off. Don’t get in the mindset of quitting, just the mindset of taking a week off. During my week off, I did 5 things that helped me relax and shift my focus.
I went hiking about 3 times (and camping once!) during my week off. Getting out in nature and exercising really seems to do something to my brain. It helps me refocus on the bigger picture of life – how we are all just a part of an infinite whole in an ever changing world full of variety. Being out in the quietness off nature is refreshing. I don’t mean quiet in a literal sense, although it definitely is silent in the woods, but quiet in a sense of distractions. You have one goal when you’re hiking, and it’s to get to the end of the trail and enjoy the journey doing it. You don’t have to work on projects, you don’t have to sit down to do your finances, you don’t have to work because you can’t! All you can do it walk. Sometimes we put pressure on ourselves to do work just because it’s right there in front of us to do, and feel guilty if we don’t. But there is no way to do work if we aren’t around it to do it. Hiking takes us away from that.
TOOK ON OTHER ODD JOBS
Did you know I became an Uber driver? That happened. Honesty moment: I did it because I was tired of not making money and being cooped up at home all day. I wanted to feel like I was contributing something. My husband and I actually had a really fantastic talk about my guilt over not making money, and I feel a lot better about that whole situation now. But I still continue to do Uber driving because first of all, it’s helping me save up for a vacation, secondly, it’s fun (but sometimes scary) to meet new people, and thirdly, it feels amazing to get out of the house and drive around!
It’s so hard for us to just take a week off and do nothing but I really think it is SO IMPORTANT. Do not feel guilty about it because really, what is a week off going to do? Destroy your entire dreams? Starve your children? No! The more you take care of yourself and your needs, the happier you will be and that is the truth my friend. But sometimes, we might need a little extra something to do on the side just as a change of scenery. I chose Uber driving because I needed a change of scenery and also wanted to have a legit way to make money, but you can do volunteer work, transcription work, freelance gigs, or just try out painting and putting some things up for sale on Etsy. Why the heck not, ya know? It will trick your brain into being productive. 😉
PUT DOWN THE PHONE – READ A BOOK
Ugh this was so hard for me, you guys. Why do I pick up my phone every two seconds and then feel so guilty about scrolling through facebook? I feel the harm it is doing to me. Every time I get on Facebook or Instagram, I feel that comparison creep in. It makes me feel like poop. Sure, there are a ton of things I can do on my phone that don’t make me feel that way, but for some reason those are the 2 things I usually choose to do. So I decided for that week I would read more and use my phone less. If you want to do this too, try these tips:
- Every time you get the urge to check your phone, pick up a book instead.
- Keep your phone in a separate room for the day.
- Turn your ringer off.
- Turn off push notifications on facebook, instagram, and even email so that when you do check your phone, you don’t feel like you need to check that notification that pops up in front of your face.
- Pick a book that you won’t be able to put down. Treat yourself to one on amazon or go to a bookstore.
BOUGHT SOME HEALTHY FOOD
I recently ended up watching a bunch of documentaries on Netflix about healthy eating and how it can really affect your mood and obviously, your health. Not in a small way, like in a huge dramatic way! Food changes how you think and how you feel! So why do I eat so crappy all the time?? I’ve been feeling very anxious lately, so I was excited to buy some healthier foods and see how it affects my emotions. During my week off, I even decided to make a healthy meal plan for the following week. Seriously, when I went to the store all that was in my cart was fruits and veggies. It took me forever to check out because I had to look up each item on the self check out screen while the person behind me with 1 or 2 items and waited patiently while I scrambled to find where the “Squash, Zuchinni” was listed in the computer. Sacrifice of eating healthy, I guess.
Eating healthy and cooking at home saves me money and saves my health too! It also takes up some of my time with productive yet relaxing and creative activities. I don’t know about you, but cooking, meal planning, and meal prep is actually quite calming for me and also a fun creative process.
Some great Netflix documentaries I highly recommend for healthy eating inspiration:
- Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
- Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead 2
- Food INC.
- Fed Up
- Hungry for Change
SPENT TIME WITH FAMILY/FRIENDS
There is nothing like spending time with family and friends. I truly believe it’s good for your soul to just hang out and relax with a few really close family members or friends. Share your struggles, laugh, encourage… that’s what we were made for – to love and be loved in return. All you need is love! (Ok, Moulin Rouge-esque rant over)
Seriously, though – loneliness is NOT OK and can do awful things for your mental health. Think of that one person you feel completely comfortable sharing everything with, and plan a time to get lunch or dinner, go on a walk, or just go see a movie together. Sharing your life with a friend who gets you is something that can really help you relax and put the world in perspective. One of the most valuable things you can do for yourself is share your life. If there is one thing you shouldn’t do on your week of relaxation, it’s isolation. Do not isolate yourself from the world. It might feel easier to do that, trust me, I get that feeling (I sometimes go a week without seeing anyone but my husband), but you truly won’t know how good the things are that you’re isolating yourself from. Being in community, sharing struggles, laughing – these are all things that are vital to your mental health, so make time for them!
During a week off from your creative work, I think it’s important to not force yourself to do anything you don’t really want to do in your time off. These are all suggestions of what I did that you can try, but I only did these things because they felt natural to me. So the number one tips I have for you is to find your flow and do what you feel is best for you to relax in that current moment.