Burnout is something that we all experience at one time or another, it is also easily avoided.
Have you ever experienced burnout? Or have you recognised that you're experiencing burnout?
Some people will say they have never burned out, more often than not, that's not quite the case. The real issue is that they haven't been able to identify the signs of burnout therefore, they haven't been able to move on from it.
They're just stuck in that burnt out, exhausted state. And they seem to think that that's just life. But it's not. That's not how people function. That's not how a creative mind works. It will ruin your creativity.
As an author, or a creative in general, you will have ideas coming at you left, right, and centre. You will be tempted to jump on them all. It is very common to do too much and overstretch yourself.
How do you know when you're burning out? When you are starting to burn out one of the first things that happen is it becomes more difficult to focus, you will find yourself struggling to output the same level that you normally can. You might not even notice at first, they are generally small, incremental changes over time.
Next up comes a drop in your enjoyment of the process and you stop getting from it what you once did. After that, we have things like you become a little bit more short-tempered, a little bit more snappy, and your personal relationships suffer.
Eventually, that leads to physical and mental health problems that are hard to recover from. If you spot the signs before that happens, it's much easier to resolve. But spotting those signs isn't always that easy. Or, more accurately, they are easy to ignore.
When you have spotted the signs it is time to take action. You need to take some time out to get yourself together and allow yourself time for mental and physical recovery.
You are burning out. Your work is suffering. Your relationships are suffering. You are suffering.
You cannot keep putting it off. Stop with the, ‘just one more thing.’ It’s time to set yourself right.
Ask yourself this, what is the cause of your burnout?
More often than not, it is very little to do with your writing. The source of your burnout is far more likely to be related to your day job, your family life, and all the other stressful and busy areas of your life. There will be one most prevalent thing and everything else will contribute to it. Figuring out the pain point in your life requires some deep thought but it isn’t especially difficult.
Write out a list of all the things in your world that create pressure and add stress. Figure out why they are so stress-inducing and try to find ways to resolve it or cope with it. You cannot do that until you have taken some time to rest.
You might think that you have responsibilities to live up to, which you do, but those things will be fine without you for a little while. Despite what we tell ourselves, emergencies very rarely happen. 99% of the things we consider to be an emergency are actually things that we are emotionally invested in, that investment skews our perspective.
Take a step back from your life for a few days. That doesn’t mean you have to leave the country for a week, it just means you need to disengage with as much stuff as possible for a while. Figure out your minimum effective dose survival. Anything beyond surviving can wait a few days.
If you don’t do it now, what makes you think you’ll be able to do it in 6 months when you start to lose your grip on your mental health? What about in 12 months when your physical health starts to decline, rapidly?
Taking a break cannot wait. So stop putting it off. Do it now, while you have a choice, rather than waiting for the universe to put you on your back in a hospital bed.
Written By Mike on 14.06.2021