About a year ago, I had a pretty spectacular encounter with rock bottom. I felt uninspired, empty, emotionally drained and mentally exhausted. Falling asleep was a struggle. Waking up was a struggle too. My energy levels were low and I was weak and tired ALL THE DAMN TIME. Hello, blogger burnout!
I was no stranger to 12 hour work days. I’d easily get sucked down the social media black hole for hours. Each photo edited to perfection. An endless string of comparison… I was never good enough in my own eyes. And no matter how hard I tried, it was never enough.
So when my GP found nothing wrong with me, I booked a yoga retreat on a whim. I’d never as much as struck a yoga pose in my life, so this was a crazy idea – even to me.
Did 5 days at an isolated yoga retreat in the mountains heal me? No. But they were the catalyst of change and gave me the power to break unhealthy habits and turn my blogger burnout into a thing of the past.
So here are a few things you can do that will not only help you overcome blogger burnout but even avoid it altogether.
1 | Go for a walk without your phone
As research shows time and time again, regular exercise goes beyond a bikini body. It boosts creativity, problem-solving, and originality. So when faced with writer’s block, a simple walk in the park can work wonders.
Prior to winding up burnout, I would work for hours without as much as getting off the sofa. Some days I wouldn’t even get out of the house.
This had to change. So as soon as I got back from the yoga retreat, I bought my first mat and set a goal of 10k steps a day on my Fitbit.
I also started to deliberately leave my phone at home every time I’d go for a walk. Because let’s be honest, there’s no emergency that cannot wait until I’m back.
Sounds crazy? I’m challenging you to try this for a week!
So now, instead of walking and typing, I look at the pretty shop windows, the deep green grass, take time to do a bit of cloud watching and just clear my head.
It turns out it’s a beautiful world out there. Who knew?
2 | Stop living in your inbox
While unplugging for a couple of hours each day was huge progress, the fact that I was living in my inbox and let notifications rule the rest of my time wasn’t helping.
So many people are in the habit of checking their emails and social media and reading the news first thing when they wake up. But this is the equivalent of giving a total stranger the keys to your home and a note with your address on it.
You wouldn’t do that now, would you? Then why give away your power when you can be in charge of your own thoughts? If you fear you’d feel disconnected, try connecting with yourself and the people around you. I promise it will be so much more rewarding.
I switched off all desktop notifications and turned off all phone notifications outside my work hours.
This spring I unsubscribe from a bunch of newsletters that were no longer serving me.
Then last month Gmail introduced an option to receive phone notifications for high-priority emails only. Because I use Gmail for all my online correspondence, I switched it on as soon as they asked. It’s blissfully quiet now. And I get to answer emails on my own terms – usually twice a week.
3 | Set clear boundaries
This one was a big issue for me for a very long time. Who am I kidding, it still is, but I’m getting better at it.
When you work from your living room sofa, watch Netflix from the same sofa and maybe even have a quick lunch on said sofa, it’s nothing but bad news.
Now my sofa is perfect for binge-watching Big Bang Theory and I love it. But sadly, it’s not helping me keep the momentum going when I’m working. It’s just too damn comfy!
Space and time boundaries are super important. Most people need a certain level of structure in their day to function at optimal levels.
I’m slowly accepting that just because I can blog from anywhere it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Separating workspace from personal space can actually boost productivity.
I also set an alarm. You MUST have a life before and after your blog! My alarm goes off every weekday at 5 PM and it actually tells me to ‘Stop working and enjoy life‘. Ha!
Additionally, I lovingly encourage you to learn to say “no” without feeling guilty. If you live with other people, establish clear rules – you won’t make much progress if somebody asks for your attention every five minutes (babies and toddlers are an exception).
Having specific days locked in your calendar for client appointments can help as well. This is your business after all. Don’t let anyone else make the rules for you!
4 | Start journaling
Everybody’s talking about long-term goals and visualizing where you want to be in 5 years. But it’s impossible to get there in just one giant step. Thinking otherwise is madness. And it’s a surefire path to burnout.
I believe success has to be micromanaged. Get clear on where you want to go. Then break it down into baby steps and take daily action in that direction.
I’ve been writing in my journal that I choose ‘to engage in meaningful conversations with other bloggers for 30 minutes‘ every day for the past week. I’m making real progress. It’s working. My goal is to build a community around my blog. But this is meaningless if I don’t take specific, measurable, DAILY action.
Engaging with other bloggers doesn’t get added to my to-do list. This is not something I have to do. This is something I choose to do and it’s a whole different mindset.
You can do this too. Grab your Sunny Journal and start setting your intentions and priorities for the day. Write down 3 things you choose to do or be every morning. Because you know what? Every time you choose who you want to be and what you want to achieve, it gets a little easier.
Maybe you’ll find yourself writing the same things over and over again. That’s okay. Consolidating a habit takes time.
To find the motivation to blog consistently and avoid overwhelm and burnout, you have to commit to taking one step in the right direction every day. And the best way I know how to do this is by keeping a journal.
5 | Channel jealousy into something beautiful
Listen up, guys. Jealousy and comparison will eat you alive. So stop. Just stop! Simply because her book got to be a #1 bestseller, she looks amazing on camera or she gets paid thousands of dollars for her coaching services, it doesn’t mean she’s taking anything from you. If anything, her success means that great things are possible for all of us.
Trust me when I tell you, any successful woman in the world worked her ass off to get where she is today. Don’t compare your beginning to her middle and don’t be catty – it doesn’t become you.
Cara Alwill Leyba talks extensively about this in her book Girl Code. It’s a great read and one of my favorite books for female entrepreneurs. But that’s not my point. My point is that you can channel all that negativity into something that serves you and moves your life forward.
Just think how much good you could do in this world if you redirected those negative feelings into positive actions. If instead of belittling your own work, you’d look at her with admiration and welcome her as your mentor. And if instead of endlessly stalking her online, you’d actually write her a thank you note for choosing to use her precious time to lift others higher.
I’m an introvert and sometimes I’m clumsy, but I’m working on this right now and it feels amazing. Highly recommended!
6 | Find your strengths. Delegate everything else
What are your strengths? Try not to look through the lens of perfectionism and comparison. I don’t care what you can do better than anyone you know. That barely says anything about you.
I’m might not be Elizabeth Gilbert. But I write much better than I speak. I’m also diligent and meticulous.
So what are the things you do best or care deeply about? Does writing posts or talking to people on social media feel good? Or are you more in your element in front of the camera? Whatever it is, that’s your bread and butter. You hold on to it like your life depends on it.
Now think about all the tasks you don’t care about at all. Is it marketing? Editing? Budgeting? Web design? Whatever it is you don’t like doing, start delegating those tasks first.
I’m not saying to do it as soon as you start your blog. As a new blogger, you probably don’t even know what you like and dislike!
On the other hand, if you are having a hard time wrapping your head around all the tech stuff, you are allowed to hire someone to help you set everything up. Or grab a copy of Blogcabulary Plus, which is a great ebook that will teach you all the basics and walk you through all the terminology.
But further down the road, you’ll have to let go of the idea that you can to do it all yourself. Blogger burnout is a real thing. And it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to take care of your wellbeing and put yourself first. Because you cannot pour from an empty cup.
How other bloggers recovered from burnout
Write for the pure enjoyment of it
“The first time I experienced blogger burnout was about a year into blogging, when I was no longer traveling that much. I write a travel + wellness blog so the lack of new travel experiences made it difficult for me to feel inspired to write new content. Since then, I experience blogger burnout every now and then – mostly in the form of writer’s block. I find that the best way to overcome it is to stop feeling like my content needs to fit inside a box of “what’s popular.” Instead, I just force myself to write about anything, in any style, for the pure enjoyment of it. I might not publish it but it usually works to get me inspired to write + create content again.” – Michelle Belair of Journey to Bliss
Take the pressure off
“I had a major blogging issue after Hurricane Irma that we went through in September 2017. I literally left the blog with the post regarding my hurricane prep on September 5th and then disappeared! It took me a long while to post anything on social media (after informing everyone that we were safe) and it took me a full 249 days before I could upload my first post following the storm. There was a combination of factors involved, but burnout (I had been blogging three times a week which just wasn’t really sustainable for me) and then a fear of returning played a major part in why it took me so long to get back into it. I was caught up with a feeling that I needed to blog about the storm – that everyone was expecting my ‘hurricane story’ but I just didn’t feel ready to write it. Eventually, I had to decide to draw a line under it all and move forward with writing since that always made me feel better! Maybe one day I will decide to tell my hurricane story, but it was good to take that pressure off myself. I took the time to re-brand and re-design the blog towards the very end of my break so that when I came back it was on a new domain and with a new look. Now I blog once a week and I am so much happier. It’s a much more manageable schedule!” – Charlie Bufton of The Barefoot Angel
Organization is key
“I have been blogging for about a year and a half when I felt the first signs of burnout. They seem to come in waves every 3-6 months now. It’s all part of the process. So I started collaborating with other bloggers by featuring their stories and articles on my blog as guest posts. This helps with the content. I also created a schedule and plan out my posts in advance. Organization is key. I try not to do so much at once that I would burn myself out. I’m spacing my workload over the course of the day, week and month. Since I have another full-time job during the week, pacing myself is important.” – Daniella Flores of I Like to Dabble
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Hey there dream chaser! I’m a writer and designer on a mission to inspire and empower you to create a highly profitable minimalist online business and show up for your dreams in a sustainable way.