While most of us in the blogging community are here because we love writing about a given topic, there’s no denying that maintaining a blog requires a great deal of time and energy. From creating content on a weekly basis to marketing that content to a larger audience, blogging can often feel like a full-time job. For some, it is.
But many bloggers hold other full-time or part-time positions on top of running their blogs – meaning that we’re spending the vast majority of our time working, whether professionally or creatively.
It’s not surprising that this wears us down over time. It would exhaust almost anyone.
The reality of how non-stop I’ve been about my own writing career came crashing down on my head last weekend. I was overwhelmed, anxious, and totally incapable of getting anything done for about 48 hours. File under: no bueno.
Thankfully, I was able to snap out of this state by dragging my boyfriend out of the house and going on adventures. We got fresh air, ate some brunch, explored a new bookstore. And while doing this, I realized just how easy it is to forget to live your life when you’re so caught up in writing.
And I’m certain I’m not the only one who experiences this. So I figured I’d write a post about it, maybe offer some suggestions to other bloggers.
Below are my suggestions to avoid getting to the point of burnout, or to ward it off when you do feel it.
1. Remember that every week doesn’t require a full posting schedule.
I’m starting with the hardest one first! If you’re a bit obsessive about running your blog like a business, this might be difficult for you to nod along to. But the reality is, your blogging schedule is entirely up to you. You’re your own boss here. So while most of us set a default number of posts that indicates a successful week, it’s okay not to meet that number from time to time. Should you try to reach your goals most weeks out of the year? Absolutely. Should you stress yourself out even more when you’re too down to write anything one random week? No.
Go easy on yourself.
2. Draft back-up posts for situations like these.
I used to draft more posts than I needed to each weekend, leaving me with a small collection of unpublished posts “in case of an emergency.” Until this weekend, I never realized how useful it was to have those back-up posts waiting there. Instead of taking the week off, I was able to just publish one of them every time I had a problem writing new material.
This is a tactic I’ll definitely be adopting again, and I recommend trying it when you’re actually having a good writing week. It never hurts to have extra.
3. Take a day off from all of your social media accounts.
A huge portion of blogging involves social media marketing. Even people who use social media for personal connection experience burnout from time to time, so imagine that on a much larger scale. I’m exhausted thinking about it.
If you’re feeling too wrapped up in the world of the interwebs, take a 24 hour cleanse from it. Shut off your phone, or don’t allow yourself to use it for anything outside of calls and text messages. Hide the computer under your bed for an evening. Do something else. Preferably not work-related.
4. Get outside, regardless of the weather.
I’m much better about doing this during the warmer seasons, but I often use the winter weather as an excuse to spend entire days inside, pounding away at the keyboard. It’s easy to convince yourself that you have too much work to do and shouldn’t leave the house when the tundra waits outside your door.
Go outdoors anyway. You’ll be amazed by the effects of a little sunlight and physical activity. Plus, it’ll take your mind off of the silly little things we fret about from day to day.
This one’s a bit obvious, huh? Too bad none of us follow it quite so well as we should. When you’re working against deadlines, it’s easy to put sleep on the back burner. My article is due now, but sleep can happen later. That’s the general mindset, and it’s a horrendous one.
So I’m encouraging you to do the opposite of what I’d do after reading an article like this one. Go and sleep. Even if it’s a few select days out of the week, make sure you’re getting the recommended amount. Make it a priority.
6. Make time for your loved ones.
Have you ever seen that photo that says “If you’re not where you want to be, why you chillin’ so much?” That’s a sentiment I’ve subscribed to, and honestly, I don’t know if it’s for the better. I mean, yeah, if you have goals to attend to, getting wasted five nights out of the week is probably a crap idea. But it’s easy to go overboard with this mentality.
Make sure in your plan to tackle your goals, you’re also leaving time for fun. There’s no point in being successful if you aren’t allowing yourself to live a little. So go see your friends, spend time with your families and significant others. Those relationships are ultimately more important than anything else.
7. Plan a full day of adventuring.
Your brand of burnout could also stem from an overdose of routine. If your schedule looks something like “wake up, go to work, do more work, go to sleep,” then this could be your problem. Routine can be useful at times, especially when sticking to your workload, but it can also bring on a severe case of “What’s the point?” Think too hard about your daily routines, and you’ll find yourself depressed and existential.
Try to break your routine sometimes. Go new places and try new things. It helps.
8. Don’t forget to exercise on a regular basis.
Much like sleep, exercise also tends to be thrown on the back burner. Many of us just assume that we’ll have more time once we’re able to cut down on our work. Then we’ll exercise. Later.
Don’t fall into this trap. If your body starts feeling like crap, your mind will follow right after. And you kind of need that brain to get your work done.
Those are my tips! What do you guys do when burnout strikes? Let me know in the comments below!