Five simple ways to avoid burnout
Let’s face it–with your schedule as busy as it is with you running your own business, it feels extremely hard to take time for yourself. Doesn’t it always feel like there is always something more important that you need to do in that moment? (I am so guilty of thinking this way.)
I’ve definitely learned the hard way that if you don’t learn to work self-care or time to recharge into your schedule, you’re going to burn out. It’s a challenge for sure, but we all need to learn how to do it.
This is especially true if you’re a creative business owner, as creativity can’t happen in a state of burnout. Burnout can set you back even more than not finishing that last task on your to-do list, so avoiding it all together is the way to go.
Here are a few ideas on how to design a schedule and routine that will help you avoid burnout:
I. Determine Your Version of Self-care
Figure out your definition of self-care, or what it is that makes you feel relaxed and recharged. Do you like being with close friends and having a movie night, or would you rather sit by yourself on the back porch with some coffee and a good book? Whatever one makes your heart happy is what you should be doing. Also, keep in mind that not everyone’s version of self-care will work for you. Some people want to take a run; some people want to sit and journal. Focus on what it is YOU want.
Super important note: your self-care activity should not be at all related to your work or any personal goals you’re trying to work towards. If you’re a graphic designer branching out into watercolor painting, you will likely find that working on your watercolor artwork, while fun and creative, feels a little too close to work for you to fully relax. If you’re learning to play the piano, that may be an energizing and exciting hobby, but it doesn’t count as self-care time in your daily routine. Find something that feels distant from your work, doesn’t require too much brainpower, and doesn’t put any pressure on you to succeed or reach a goal.
II. Put It In Your Schedule
Sure, your planner may be full of meetings and due dates, but make a promise to yourself and get something down for YOU. Think of it this way: how would you feel if a friend canceled plans with you? Not too good, right? Don't let yourself get the short end of the stick when it comes to your schedule. Self-care should be just as much of a priority as meetings and deadlines.
III. Find Accountability
There is strength in numbers. Find another creative friend and check in with them to make sure they devote time to recharge. Have them do the same thing for you. I suggest having a few close friends that lead similar lives so that you will need similar self-care time as them. They also will understand and relate to your situation better than other friends might.
IV. Keep Your Self-care Time Technology-Free (or at least on Do Not Disturb Mode)
If your version of self-care is catching up on that murder mystery podcast you love (same here, sister), then make sure to turn on Do Not Disturb mode. And do not, I repeat DO NOT, check your email–not even your personal email. This may feel like the hardest thing for some of you (again, same here, sister). Sometimes I find it helpful to just completely power off everything and find a technology-free activity, that way I’m not tempted to scroll through any feeds or refresh my inbox.
V. Plan for Your Time Frame
Sometimes you have five minutes, sometimes you have half of a day. Some days you can only make five minutes for yourself and that’s okay. Just listen to some music and chill for a few minutes, because those few minutes will still be incredibly helpful. For nights that you have off and all to yourself, treat yourself to something fun for dinner, watch a show, take a bath, or focus on an activity that you love (I’m partial to the New York Times crossword). Take that time for yourself, rather than feeling pressured to go off and do something else.
Make it a priority to avoid burnout - your sanity and schedule will thank you!
Do you have a favorite, go-to way to unwind? How do you fit self-care into your routine? I’d love to know in the comments below!