On Burnout and Peace
This image from Pocket Fuel basically sums it up.
In the last few weeks, I’ve had quite a few readers ask for advice on how to overcome discouragement and burnout as a blogger.
It must be the season for that because throughout the last few weeks of 2013, I myself have been working through that thing called burnout. Specifically food blogger burnout, teacher of struggling students burnout, and cleaning my new old house burnout. Cleaning. BLEH.
I recently read a post by an entrepreneur friend about this very topic, and after I read it I just felt better. There is something really comforting about knowing you’re not the only one. So if you’re feeling tired and burned out, take heart. Cause we’re all in this together.
Me? Ok, let’s back up a few weeks, to before I started sleeping in during the longest winter break ever. Before that goodness.
I was staying up too late.
I was getting up too early.
My expectations for myself were really ambitious, and frankly, way. too. high. Because one single person cannot possibly manage a teaching job while publishing three weekly recipe posts, responding to all emails, being an expert at all social media, improving their photography, working with a sponsorship team, creating a new product… AND staying physically active, being well-rested, investing in important relationships, and generally feeling happy all at once. Not. Possible.
Then Christmas happened. Planning did not. Our sweet, romantic evening of Christmas tree decorating got pushed back at least 73 times and eventually became a time to embark on house fixing projects. Hm, fun. There was present buying happening on Christmas Eve and last minute wrapping that happened just in time to hand the presents to their recipients. As a person who likes to think she has her ducks in a very straight row, that was yucky yuck.
Then came the real punch: the worst head cold I’ve had in years came and kicked me in the face. The lack of sleep, the working all the time, the skipped workouts, the never ending quest for “balance” (yeah, right)… it just caught up with me in the form of physical sickness and pure exhaustion. A horrible side effect of being sick was that my appetite basically disappeared. One night I literally stood in the kitchen, looking in every cupboard, thinking through anything I could make that sounded remotely good enough to blog about. The result was the pomegranate shrimp dish from that fail post. Ugh, gag. I needed a break. And a nap. And a bowl of Annie’s white cheddar macaroni and cheese followed by a Salty Dog chocolate bar.
The cold ended up turning into a sinus infection that knocked me down and out for a week leading right up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And when I say knocked me down and out, I mean I was completely worthless to do anything and felt 99% miserable 99% of the time.
I’m not dramatic, though.
Sweet, Sweet Peace.
I am determined to change this year.
For the first 9 days of this fresh new chapter, I’ve been prioritizing this strange and wonderful thing called resting. After a nice long journey together, my sinus infection and I parted ways and I no longer risk coughing up both lungs when 9pm hits. I feel rested. I’m eating better. Things in my heart and mind are a little lighter. I have enough energy to try doing things like yoga pilates fusion. Once. Because, wow. That’s hard.
In 2014, it’s time for peace and rest every day, all the time, in every season.
- reading books
- learning from podcasts —> I challenge you to listen to this, particularly #8, #9, and #10, and not be changed for the better
- going to church, bonus if we make it on time
- drinking water
- dating Bjork
- cooking and baking, not necessarily for the blog or a project but just for the pure enjoyment! I mean, gosh. Imagine that.
You, Too. Right?
If you are a blogger or entrepreneur, you know the pressure of being your own boss. You WANT to work all the time. And if you’re not an entrepreneur, same goes. You get it. Sometimes life just … yeesh. It’s a lot.
We all have down swings, whether you feel like quitting or you don’t have enough energy to do everything that you want to do or you have a nasty cold and are just plain old tired. So to answer the question that I set out to answer at the beginning – how do we get past burnout and discouragement and lack of inspiration – my answer, based on personal experience, is let’s take that seriously and bring rest and peace in before the downward spiral sucks the quality out of our work and our lives.
And take it seriously means chill out. For real. Slow down, stop working for a while, and come back in a few weeks and tell me if you find that a) your inspiration back, b) your work quality goes up a jillion percent, and c) you’re nicer to be around. Cause that’s what I’m thinking is going to happen.
I recently read this great article on why being busy isn’t respectable anymore. It deserves a read. Take it to heart, fellow over-committers and people who want to do everything and be busy all the time (ahem, self). This is really really good stuff.
I also recently read this great article on divorcing your phone. For my peeps who understand the love/hate phone addiction thing.
We have a framed print from Sacred Made in our bedroom that says Peace: Heavenly Rest. Beautiful prints that inspire – check them out.
One last thing – while writing this post I jumped on Facebook and low and behold, found myself distractedly clicking on links within two seconds. Preeedictable. But this is for people who like list articles: 37 things you’ll regret when you’re old.
Hey you out there? Take care of yourself. Go on a 15 minute walk around the block, watch a movie with your kids, cook dinner with your sweet, play outside with your fur baby, or just buy a nice big hot tub and soak in it for the rest of the year. And then go to Trader Joe’s and buy their salted dark chocolate almonds.
I MEAN IT.
He means it, too.