So with not one, but TWO of my novels to edit recently (not to mention various other deadlines, including my IFS students’ end projects), I have been feeling the BITE of burn out lately.
So, when Rachel Jackson got in touch with me to share some ideas on how to combat this feeling, I was all ears!! I particularly like her points 3 and 5. Enjoy!
What Is Writer Burn Out?
Burn out is silent and sneaky. It creeps up on people when they least expect it. Stress levels slowly begin to rise … Before you know it, you’re in way over your head.
Burn out is an awful feeling to carry around. It weighs you down, kills your passion and it puts a complete stop to your productivity. If you want to break out of your burn out, it’s time to shift your attention away from your stressors and towards the things that will help you recover:
1) Go On Vacation
Going on vacation doesn’t necessarily need to mean adding the stress of travelling hundreds of miles away. It just means using some of the vacation time your employer affords you with, or arranging to carve it out of your own schedule as a writer. If you’d rather spend your vacation time taking long naps on the couch, the more power to you. As long as you’re changing your scenery and spending your time in an environment you don’t dread, you’re taking a vacation from your burnout. MORE: 43 Famous Writers Share Their Happiness Secrets
2) Take Care Of Yourself
Improving the way you physically feel can help the way you mentally feel. Writers spend a lot of time sitting down, and that could be a significant contributor to the problem. Exercise and eating right can boost endorphins that battle stress hormones. This doesn’t mean you need to run for a few hours a day and stop eating between meals.
A light jog in the morning and some healthy snacks can make a noteworthy difference. Slowly graduate into a better routine – completely changing your lifestyle overnight isn’t practical and it might cause you to be a little too hard on yourself. Sleeping in until noon and tacos are always fine in moderation, especially if they make you feel happy.
3) Shift Your Priorities
What’s burning you out? Are you focusing on all the wrong things? Are you missing a ton of alternative routes? Are you forgetting to explore grey areas? Talk to a friend or a family member about it. Talk to other writers who have also experienced burn out. What did they need to change when they encountered the obstacles and high stress levels that you encountered? Be open to unorthodox ideas, especially if they’ve worked for people you trust. MORE: 33 Industry Insiders On Success, Dreams & Failures
4) Rest and Relax
A lot of specific events can lead to burnout, like criticism, having a script rejected, or feeling stuck with an idea. Exploring your mind a little more might help you see things from a new perspective. Some people like to meditate. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a spiritual ordeal, with candles and incense. It just needs to be a quiet environment where you can breathe deeply, calm down, and be alone with your thoughts in a comfortable chair. Getting yourself into a meditative state of mind can help you organise your brain.
5) Find Something New
You know the thing that’s making you feel burned out? Stop doing it! Stop doing that exhausting, stressful, overwhelming thing. If it’s bringing more trouble into your life than its worth, work on something that won’t. Even if it means throwing away all of your progress on a writing project, it’s worth it to be able to breathe deeply again. It’s worth it to make the dread go away and the high blood pressure subside. You got yourself this far – you can get yourself to an even better place that you haven’t yet explored. MORE: 30 Experts On the True Power Of Ideas
No two cases of burn out are the same. You might find that yours is easy to fix, or that you need to use a combination of methods for an extended period of time in order to truly feel better. What matters most is that you prioritise your wellbeing … Writing can wait!
BIO: Rachel Jackson is a mother of 2 beautiful boys. She loves to hike and write about travelling, education and business. Rachel is also a great fan of sustainable living and a strong supporter of the sharing economy.