When you work from home, it’s hard to recognize burnout.
You get to hang out in your PJs all day!
You get to pal around with your pup all day!
You can run errands at the drop of a hat, all day!
But that’s the key word: all day.
You can work all day, including Saturdays and Sundays. It never turns off.
Self-employment is uncertain. What if you don’t get another project for a month? What if a check is late? What if an unexpected bill comes up? What if an expected bill comes up, but you forgot how big that expected bill is, like car insurance, student loans, self-employment taxes, or health insurance (heyo, turning age 26 soon!)?
So you say yes to every project. And you still feel guilty all the time.
“Hustle or die”—not exactly the most encouraging mantra.
I think everyone is burned out in the winter. It’s dark early, the weather is terrible, and you don’t see your friends as often because they’re also hiding inside. There’s no relief.
I’ve been feeling burned out lately, but I’ve noticed a few things that have put a spring back into my step (that will hopefully last ‘til Spring.)
So ladies and gents, here is my fail-proof list of burnout cures! (Okay, probably not fail-proof, but oh well.)
1. Do things you love
Whether it’s scrapbooking, blasting music in your room, painting or redecorating your basement, watching your favorite TV show, or going for a run, DO IT. Who cares how much time you’re “wasting.” If it makes you happy, do it. It will rejuvenate your soul and give you perspective.
2. Take a break from what you’re working on
Whether it’s a short story that’s just not working or a marketing project that’s just not resulting, step away from it and either work on something else, or do anything at all, per Number 1!
3. Avoid your phone for the day (or at least turn off notifications)
This may sound like a terrible idea, but at least it will make you feel better! Not everything has to be done right now. Give yourself some breathing room from social media, email, etc.
4. Find like-minded people
A lot of people are going through what you’re going through. Actually, anyone going through a Chicago winter is probably feeling what you’re feeling. Find your people, commiserate, get drinks, watch a movie, or do whatever else you fancy!
5. Listen to podcasts or join Facebook groups
Listening to podcasts about freelancing, finances, self-care, etc. makes me feel less alone and realize that we’re all kind of making it up as we go along. Some of my favorite podcasts are “Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn” and “Forever35.”
6. Remind yourself why you’ve chosen this lifestyle
One reason while I’ve chosen to be a full-time freelancer is because I love the projects I’m working on. One of them is Cinema Femme, a new Chicago-based female film magazine. It launched in October, and it’s been so exciting seeing it grow and give a voice to female filmmakers, critics, artists, and writers.
I also love the flexibility freelancing has given me to pursue my love for children’s book publishing. I’ve been part of SCBWI since 2016 and I’ve always loved writing, but this year I’ve decided to really study the craft of picture book writing, go to events, and take myself seriously.
7. Get some sleep
Sleep is important. Get some of it! It makes a world of difference!
8. Call your sister
She’ll make you feel better and listen to you vent (and will also review your blog post before you send it out into the world).
I hope this was helpful in some way. Just remember, Spring is only 35 days away! (Unless winter decides to stick around a little longer…)