Last weekend’s conference couldn’t have come at a better time.
I had been feeling overworked, unbalanced, and even wrote a post about it before I left for Utah. I’m pretty attuned to the symptoms of burnout and felt them creeping up on me as I pushed myself to make more and be more in my career.
I have this instant gratification and impatience problem. 🙂
Last weekend’s conference left me feeling inspired and invigorated — exactly the opposite of how I had expected to feel after three consecutive weekends of travel. I felt like I did when I hit publish on my first blog post and immediately started another one because the ideas and creativity poured out of me. It’s like I had found a tiny trickle of water and then used a stick to widen it’s borders until soon a gushing stream began to take control of the borders around it instead of the other way around. Did anyone else do this as a kid? No? Ok, moving on.
Here’s what the weekend taught me.
I love everything about this crazy writing blogging social media thing. I feel most alive when I’m doing it, thinking about it, and talking about it. While sharing a room with my friends at the conference, we all commented more than once that we could just work forever as the minutes ticked by into the night. When you find something you could literally do forever and you don’t want to stop, I think that’s something that needs to be nurtured.
Training is still important to me because I can actually SEE the difference I am making in people’s lives, but there’s nothing quite like the pull to the keyboard and the feeling when I know I’ve gotten something out that needed to be said.
I’ve felt like my posts lately are more reactionary. The ones where I actually talk about important things are because I see something or hear something online that rubs me the wrong way and I feel compelled to write about it. That doesn’t mean those posts aren’t good, but they’re externally motivated. I’ve lost the time that I need to internally listen and come up with posts that I feel will help others.
The weekend was a good wake up call. It helped reinforce that this is my life and my journey and I can make it whatever I want. Why that needs to come from someone else to make me actually hear it I have no idea, but I thought about it and decided to make a few changes going forward.
Stop my weekend recap posts
Within the last month or so I’ve only been posting three times a week instead of four. With a week that’s opened with a weekend recap and concluded with Five Things Friday, that only leaves one other day to talk about fitness, mental health, self-care, wellness, food, etc. I think we need more of those days, especially when I’ve had a weekend where all I’ve done is watch movies and nap. There’s more valuable content than that.
So I know many of you have said that you still enjoy those posts, so I plan to do a monthly “Life Lately”-type recap, but it won’t be every Monday anymore.
Take another day off
Currently, the only time I have dedicated to blogging and freelance work is Tuesday from about 11 am – 530 pm. Any other similar work I try to shove into random chunks of time I may have throughout the week. It leaves me feeling rushed and certainly not inspired.
I’m going to take a second day off. Neil and I went through my finances like I discussed in this post because I am horrible with understanding money and he loves to do anything related to business. We found out it was more than fine for me to stop taking new training clients and also migrate their schedules to a M-W-F arrangement, leaving me with more time to grow what I REALLY love to do.
I hesitated to set aside more time, but I realize that I need it. In order for me to write and really CREATE, my brain needs to slow down. That’s when the thoughts come. That’s when I’m actually able to OBSERVE around me and find inspiration. Oh, and answer emails. 🙂
Finish my book
If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that I started a book over a year ago. I got about halfway through and lost it, “it” being the creativity and inspiration that drives us to create. If you’ve read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, do.
I feel that I’m meant to be a writer in some sense of the word. It’s something I’ve felt since I was young and I’ve lucked into this magical world of blogging where I can fully control the words I choose to use and practice them every day.
About a month or two ago I was feeling so overwhelmed that I shouted to Neil that I wanted “to escape to a cabin in the woods where everyone would leave me alone, I could drink tea, and just WRITE.” I thought it was just an exasperated cry on my part, but the urge came up again for me over the weekend. I can’t describe how I know these decisions are what’s right for me, they just are. And so I am researching cabins to take a week off from everything and just write. Finish (more likely, start again) this book that I know I need to get out.
So this is my new plan. I’m grateful to everyone that I talked and listened to over the weekend who helped me — albeit unknowingly. My hope is that making these small changes will help me continue to put out good content for all of you and also help slow me down a bit.
Have you ever felt close to burnout? I’d love to hear some of the ways you got through it in the comments! I’m also going to shamelessly mention that if you ever read any posts on here that resonate with you, please share them to Facebook, Twitter, or wherever. You guys are the best. 🙂
Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.