There’s been radio silence on my blog for two weeks and this word document has been open on my laptop for over three. There are only two words at the top,
Let’s just say this post is definitely written from recent experience. However, rather than just vent about what just happened, I want to share with you how it happened, why it happened and most importantly how to avoid it or come out on the other side stronger.
Before we dive into this doozy of a post, I’ll quickly define (in my own terms) what blogger burnout means.
Blogger burnout refers to when a blogger loses their momentum, passion and or drive to create content for a blog they otherwise love. It can happen slowly or suddenly and for a variety of reasons.
However it often manifests in several or all of the following things happening:
- Content becomes stale
- Posts become less frequent or consistent
- The blogger feels less passionate about their blog, which they otherwise love
- Other areas outside the blog become overwhelming
- Inspiration dries up
- The blogger feels like a chicken blogging with their head chopped off
- Blogging begins to feel like a chore instead of a passion
- Or a blogger may take a break all together
In these past two weeks, as my blog has been collecting dust, I’ve thought about why everything came to a screeching halt. I thought about why I ignored the warning signs (and what they were) and my plans to come back stronger (a la a badass phoenix).
For me, I realized it came down to two major issues.
1.) I never took time off
2.) As my life evolved, my blog remained the same
The truth is, with these two issues I was bound for burnout. However the catalyst, for me was the craziness that is the summer season on Nantucket. Summer on Nantucket is such a different and intense time of year. I didn’t expect to be so caught up in the season but I let it knock me off my blogging game. I’m actually grateful this all happened because it’s given me a chance to slow down and collect my thoughts, goals and aspirations. Moving forward, there will be some exciting changes that I think you’ll love. But before we get to those I wanted to share the:
3 Ways to to Avoid Burnout Before it Happens (or bounce back if it already has)
1.) Take Time Regularly to Enjoy Your Life Outside Your Blog
Loving what you do, whether it’s your full time job or a side hustle is truly an amazing gift. When your work doesn’t feel like traditional work, those extra hours are exciting not cumbersome. However, I fell into the seductive trap of thinking I was too important to take time off on a regular basis.
Every night, every weekend and honestly what felt like every free moment, I was always working on something related to my blog. My co-workers and family stopped asking me what I did on my days off because it was always “I worked on my blog.”
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be putting in the necessary hours, however, I let the fact that I loved blogging, blind me to the fact that I wasn’t taking those necessary breaks I needed to make this dream sustainable.
Instead, what happened was, because I had been so unbalanced with my time, as soon as I started spending more free time with friends, I didn’t know how to adjust to a new normal. I did a bit of a 180º (or at least that’s how it felt.) I started letting things slide on my blog and when I would sit down to work all I wanted to do was spend time with friends. It felt like the two years of crazy intensity was crashing down around me.
Now, instead of using both days off and every night to work on my blog, I’m planning to use one full day as well as 3 hours a day after my barista job to work on my blog. The rest of the evening and the other day off will be dedicated to doing things I love outside of the blog as well as making time for the people I love.
I have a hunch that with a better separation of free time and dedicated work time, I’ll be more efficient, more productive and more excited to work and feel less guilty about enjoying not working.
Avoid Burnout By:
Giving yourself regular days off that have nothing to do with blogging. Every day try to give yourself several hours without your phone or blogging work. These breaks will refresh you, recharge you and help make your blog even better.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Be clear with the people you love when you need to work and when you want to play. Accept that some seasons will be more work than play or visa versa, but the clearer you are with those around you the less you’ll have hurt feelings and misunderstandings about putting work (or play) first.
2.) Check-in With Yourself Regularly
Have I mentioned I’m stubborn yet? (this is a joke because I think I say that in every post). Well one of the many things I can be a stickler on, is sticking to goals, even if they’re no longer true to me. Obviously, I don’t do this on purpose, but it’s a result of keeping my head down and not pausing to honestly check-in with myself.
We get so caught up in our daily and weekly to-do lists, that we forget to make sure that these time consuming tasks are even getting us closer to where we want to be in the long run.
Upon, burning myself out, I realized that I was spending time, and more importantly, mental energy on trying to reach milestones and goals that didn’t resonate with where my gut wants to be. I had lost focus and gotten caught up in the minutia of pageviews and trying to make an income, letting it drag my real vision down.
I’ve also changed a lot, personally. My attitude and beliefs about what the heck it means to be healthy has evolved. There was a time that I scrutinized every bite of food searching for the answers to every problem with what I ate. As I grow as person my priority when it comes to healthy has been towards happiness and energy. I want to be filled with joy everyday and I want to have a body that can help me do the things I want to do. I want the content on my blog to reflect these core beliefs. I want to be able to share a message that’s true, because the truth is what will resonate.
I’ve been afraid to change parts of my blog because a lot of it “works” in terms of getting pageviews, engagement and even attracting sponsors. But it feels like I’m sharing just a sliver of my true passions and gifts and the kind of writing and content that I think can actually get me closer to a blog and business that makes an impact.
For me, it’s taken burning out to show me quite vividly that if I’m not connected to what I’m creating the magic just won’t come. In the future expect to see a little more #realtalk and explorations of health outside of tasty healthy recipes. Of course there will still be some of those because ya girl loves ta eat, but health is so much more than healthy food.
Avoid Burnout By:
Whether it’s weekly or monthly, make sure you check in with the goals that you’ve written down and even those big ones that you store up in your head. Maybe you always wanted to be a certain type of blogger, but as you get closer you realize that’s not you at all. That’s a-freaking-okay. What’s not okay is charging ahead anyway and losing yourself in the process. The more you check in and are honest with yourself the less likely you’ll stray from your path.
3.) Do Less, Better
There was one semester in college where I took 18 credits, had 3 jobs, was on the executive board of 4 different clubs and trained for a half marathon. I thought I was doing everything right. Then I studied abroad in London where I only had class 3 days a week and had an internship 2 of those days. That semester I felt like I lived more than the last 3 years of college combined.
I was able to come back my senior year and focus on just my capstone courses, my campus jobs and one internship. It couldn’t be clearer to me in that transition that doing less, but better was pivotal to actually moving the needle.
However, somewhere along the line I forgot that message when it came to blogging. I let the bells and whistles of social media and different collaborations take me away from the core essence of what I love, connecting with readers.
In order to do less, I have to say no. GOD I HATE SAYING NO. Especially to people I love who bring GOOD opportunities. But if I’m trying to get to a certain level with a certain vision I can’t keep letting myself get distracted or unfocused by good. I’ve raised the bar on saying “yes.”
Now every time I get an opportunity I have to ask myself “Is this getting me closer to my ultimate vision of awesomeness?” If it’s not a “HELL YES” it’s a no.
Sure I might eff up and say no to some really great things. But I can’t let FOMO pull my path in 1000 directions I don’t want it to go in.
When the vision is laser focused the “no’s” will be come easier.
Avoid Burnout By:
Look at your schedule right now. Highlight the things in your day you LOVE doing and the ones that get you closer to your goals. Then notice the rest of the the things in your day. “Are they essential?” Ok, I know you’re going to say yes, but ask yourself again “are they really really essential?” If you can, try to gracefully remove yourself from some of these obligations. Trust me, letting people down is one of my biggest fears, but if you let that fear rule your decision making you just won’t get closer to that big ass dream of yours. You need that time, that mental energy for the super important stuff.
DUUUDES. I hope this helps some people who are going through a burnout or helps you avoid a future one. I definitely got knocked down these past two months. It’s been really crappy to feel like I’m windblown seagull, going backwards while everyone else is soaring around me like a convocation (the correct collective noun btw) of majestic eagles. But down can be an exciting place. It’s given me time to think, to step back. It’s given me time to look at the big picture… the “long run” if you will.
I hope by being this honest, you’ll know that life happens to everyone. And it keeps on moving. That you don’t have to be anything you think you’re supposed to be if you don’t want to. And this will sound like a negative, but no one cares. And once you realize that no one cares you get to be exactly who you want to be and it’s freaking awesome.
So allow me to dust my shoulda off and rise from the ashes like a freakin’ phoenix.
- What’s the best thing you did for yourself after you got “knocked down”?
- What was something fun you recently did totally outside of blogging?