I can’t lie to you… I burn out pretty easily.
Burnout is a real thing. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you different. Sure, you have to be able to get through it, but you can’t do that without admitting that it exists. First step to solving a problem is admitting there is one.
So… I’m going through some serious burnout at the moment. I go through MAD frustration looking for topics to write for these blog posts, trying to find something new that I haven’t written before without copying other people.
Don’t get me wrong, I love writing for this blog. I really do. It’s just that sometimes, you spill out everything creative in you and you feel guilty when you don’t have much left to give.
But if there’s anything I’m learning from studying how to build a business, how to run a blog, and how to promote it all, it’s that I don’t have to manufacture something that isn’t true to me. And that helps a little bit.
But what if you have a hard time telling yourself this? What if you’re burnt out and you can’t figure out how to be ok with it?
Well, let’s talk about it a little bit.
How To Combat Burnout
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First, What Is Burnout and How Do You Know You’ve Got It?
Burnout is what happens when you’re so tired from emotional, mental, or physical stress that you basically just fall off the wagon. You’ve got nothing left.
A similar definition explains it as “a person showing the effects of drug abuse”… damn. That kind of makes sense. Like stress is the drug and you abuse the shit out of yourself with it, and burnout is the byproduct.
And according to NIH, there is no medical consensus confirming “burnout” as an official disease or diagnosis. But it is a legitimate symptom of various physical and mental illnesses (including but not limited to depression and anxiety- which are real, clinical diseases).
So, 1, if you’re experiencing burnout, it may be the result of a deeper-seated mental or physical illness that you should get checked out. And 2, FRIGGIN’ PUBMED IS TALKING ABOUT BURNOUT… it is real, you’re not crazy, and you’re not a terrible person.
Burnout is rough. And you’re probably not going to function properly until you address it.
So how do you “fix” it?
#1: Don’t Fight It… Work WITH It
The reality is that burnout is real. And trying to pretend it’s not- or getting PISSED when you can’t make it disappear- is only going to make it worse. Like eating food when your body has already told you it’s full.
There are ways to honor your body and mind without slacking off. For instance… just slow down. We’ll talk more about rushing later, but slowing down is a great way to keep working without overdoing yourself.
What do I mean by this? Well, basically, you need to work smart before you work hard. I know you gotta buckle down sometimes to get where you want to go, but chances are that if you’re “working hard” just to push out a result, you’re working hard for no reason.
When you’re feeling the burnout, the best thing you can do for your productivity is slow down and take it one thing at a time. In the end, the work you produce (whatever it is) will be better for it, you’ll feel better about it, and you’ll be a less stressed and a little less burnt out.
I mean, shit… I’m feeling burnt out today, and instead of hating myself, I decided to write about it. Kills 2 birds with 1 stone: I get a little release and I’m producing content for my blog. And I can tell you right now that I definitely feel good about that.
So don’t fight your burnout… work with it and turn it into something.
#2: Taking Time to Reflect on Why You’re Doing What You’re Doing
Ok, so this thing that seems to be causing your burnout… why are you even doing it? What’s the ROI here?
And I don’t mean ROI as in how much money are you making… tons of people make a shit-ton of money and HATE what they do. I mean what is the ultimate benefit to your life and the lives of others around you?
Example: this blog is a great outlet for me, so that’s the benefit it has on MY life. But you know what else? I get to turn my experiences and pain into something that might help someone else. Maybe multiple someone elses :). That’s super fulfilling for me.
Trying to obtain a certain result from something can really inflame burnout if you lose site of your journey, your process. So stop for a second, and think… what is it that you enjoy about your process?
#3: Remind Yourself Of The Part Of You That Is Confident
As much as I have that voice- or MANY voices- in my head that tell me I suck, I do have this general knowledge that I am intelligent, skilled, and resourceful.
I don’t know how else to explain it besides this: I know that I’m a natural creator. It feels good, I really don’t have to try (working hard and trying hard are different things), and people seem to like it when I do it.
Like, I know I can sing… I may never understand the “magic” that other people hear, because it’s my voice and I’m used to it. But I know it’s a good voice. So I don’t have to try hard to make it sound good. All I gotta do is fall back on the technique I’ve learned- where the hard work comes in- and I KNOW I’ll be fine.
I feel the same way about writing (hence the blog). Expressing myself through creativity has never been an issue for me. It’s only when I try to manufacture something to achieve a certain result that the shit hits the fan.
So, just like my vocal technique, I fall back on that confidence that never seems to leave me. When you know, you know.
What do you know about yourself that, no matter how many voices you hear telling you differently, you’re confident comes naturally to you? Fall back on that when burnout has you down.
#4: Keep In Mind that Patience Is A Virtue, And There Is No Rush
Here’s where I’ll explain the “no rushing” thing… you have your whole fucking life to achieve success. Despite what we’ve been taught, success doesn’t HAVE an age limit. Especially in this day and age… Hello, Internet.
You wanna know the most freeing thing I’ve experienced so far in my life? When I realized that I didn’t have to reach my peak before turning 30. As a singer-songwriter, I was told that my window of opportunity had an expiration date. One guy even told me when I was 19 years old- NINETEEN– that I was “middle-aged in the game”.
Well, fuck. When do I officially become an old fart, then?
Technically, I must have reached it, like, 2 years later… and I’m 24 now, so I’m basically a geriatric wannabe pop singer, right?
You can fuck RIGHT off. Sure, this might be the case if I were to go beg at the doorstep of some high-and-mighty record exec… oh, I’d get torn up then. But we’re at a point with the internet and social media where you no longer have to wait for anyone to say that you’re good enough to start something. If you can figure out how to get going, develop your skills, and put in the work, that shit is yours.
So I’m perfectly fine with putting in the work now, at 24, and interacting with my audience directly. The right people will find me. And this has really helped ease the effects of burnout.
You don’t have to be between 15-20 in order to achieve things… there are so many opportunities out here now. It’s not over till your dead, so don’t let burnout kill your legacy.
#5: Staying In Your Lane Is NOT A Failure
I’m gonna tell you a little secret about bloggers and content creators: most of us have no fucking clue how technology works. Why? Because we’re spastic “artist” types with so many words buzzing around in our heads that there’s no room for coding or graphic design.
But this doesn’t mean that we’ll never be successful or our businesses will never take off. It just means that we have to admit that to ourselves and get help in those areas.
It’s called humility. And a healthy dose of it is probably the key to being a successful person with peaceful mind.
So ask yourself, if you’re experiencing burnout, in what areas of your life might you be biting off more than you can chew?
#6: Success Is What You Make It
Listen… I know we value people with loads of money and cars and stuff. We consider that “the measure of success”. But you’re successful when you decide you’re successful.
Honestly, if you’re happy waiting tables and paying your bills while running a little side hustle for extra cash, guess what, homie? You’re successful. You’re doing what you need to live and loving it. That’s pretty much all there is to it.
And the people who have a shit-ton of money? They experience burnout, too. Some of them are trust-fund babies who never get to make their own way in the world, so they exhaust themselves trying to prove their individual worth.
For reals, I’d rather be a happily married mom making $60K a year working for myself than living off my dad’s money for the rest of my life. That, to me, is success… what does success mean to you?
#7: In A World Full of Spectators, Be A Doer
TONS of people will tell you in your life that what you’re doing doesn’t cut mustard. They’ll try to tell you that your idea of success is bullshit.
But hey… there are 2 kinds of people in this world: the spectator/critic type and the doer type. The doers get their hands dirty, shoot for the moon, and are content to land amongst the stars. They figure out what they want and make it happen.
The critics? They’re comfortable on the sidelines. They point out what’s wrong with what you’re doing because they’d be too scared to do it themselves, so YOU must be stupid for trying it, right?
Now, constructive criticism is different. There ARE people you will meet in your life who seek to help you rise, so they’ll give you tips for making yourself better. I’m not talking about these people.
I’m talking about the ones that laugh in your face when you tell them about your ambitions… the ones can’t resist the urge to tell you how stupid it is and how it’ll never amount to anything. Chances are they’re telling you this because they have tried and failed OR they never tried at all.
If you let these kinds of people get to you, you’re setting yourself up for burnout.
Don’t give them air time, don’t pay them lip service. They are simply fulfilling their role in life: being sideliners. And you have to fulfill YOUR role… being a doer.
#8: When You Get Overwhelmed, Stop, Take A Deep Breath, and Let It Out
Ever gone to the doctor to get a shot or blood drawn, and the doc tells you to take a deep breath and let it out real fast? It’s supposed to relax your muscles so the needle hurts less going in.
It also stops the natural fight or flight response that happens when you get angry or anxious. It’s something my therapist recommends that I do when I’m around people or situations that stress me out.
And I remembered having to do it quite a lot when adding Google AdSense to my website. Remember, I am not a techie. Even when told flat out “paste code here”, I’ll probably mess it up (especially since code has to be so precise). But I had to get it done.
So every time I started to get too frustrated to keep working, I took my hands off the mouse, closed my eyes, and breathed deep. Then I picked up where I left off.
30 seconds to a minute is all you really need.
#9: Your Mess Is Your Message
Like I said, this blog is cathartic for me. The end goal is to make money on it so that I can do it all the time, but I would do it for free.
Why? Because it helps me and it has the potential to unite and help other people just like me. I make it a goal to be completely, gut-wrenchingly honest on this blog because hiding the truth helps no one.
So if I’m gonna be a mess, let me at least make a message out of it.
And this way is one way that you can bypass burnout altogether, if that’s your mission. But if it’s not, remember this…
#10: You Are Valuable No Matter What
Even if you never become the next big thing, your life is precious and somebody loves you.
I’m telling you right now, Person Reading This Post, that I love you and you mean the world to me. Thank you for reading my blog, supporting me on social media, sharing my posts… whatever it is that lead you here, thank you.
If you’re a human being who does your best to be kind to others and contribute to your society, you deserve love and respect. And I extend that to you.
So take that and know that you are valuable no matter what.
Honor Your Burnout
In conclusion, the best thing your can do for your burnout is to honor its existence and work with it, not against it. It’s just a very real part of our journey as human beings.
It’s ok to take a break to breathe, decompress, reevaluate, and relax. Ultimately, that’s what you’ll need to achieve the best things in life.
How can you honor your burnout today?
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