I can’t stress enough how important ‘me time’ is, especially when you feel that you’ve hit the dreaded ‘burn out’ phase. It hit me around 3 weeks ago, if you’re unfamiliar with it then lucky you, cause it’s not nice. The feeling of I can’t be bothered is strong, and your daily motivation flutters up and down more times than Trump’s comb-over in a breeze. Your whole get-up-and-go has indeed got-up-and-gone. Sure I got on with work but it felt more like a chore than a venture into the creative realm.
The first part is acknowledging you’ve reached it. The second part is realising that you’re actually not the only one to reach it. Both these parts clicked into place for me by telling (well, it was more like moaning Victor Meldrew style) fellow creatives, others who are self employed and people around my hot-desking space, about it and getting responses like ‘oh yes, I get that’ or ‘yep, I’ve been there’.
Then you get on to how to fix it, and you soon realise the error of your ways was simply not taking enough ‘me time’. It’s so easy to forget, speaking from the self employed side, I was always working to client needs first, always poised to act on that email that may come back any time now (there’s good customer service, and over-kill good customer service) ending up with a mindset where I was worrying about not being around should a request come back and therefore forfeiting any potential time I had for me.
‘Take a holiday’ was a popular response, and a good one too, except it’s not always that straight forward when you’re self employed. ‘Go for a walk’ was the next popular suggestion, something so simple and yet admittedly I failed to consider it.
I have a cat that doesn’t need walking and the thought of anything classed as exercise like running puts me off as I’ve tried it, didn’t enjoy it and soon stopped it. A walk however is just a walk, a stroll in the park, which is exactly what I’ve been doing whilst telling my noggin it’s just exercise for the brain and it is none the wiser that it’s also exercise for the body too. I’m enjoying it (granted the current weather helps) and I’m finding it’s helping my work mojo.
So my tip if ever burn out strikes, make room for some time for yourself. Doesn’t have to be long, a quick walk in your lunch break perhaps, or a longer one in the morning/evening. Walk, run, cycle, do whatever suits you personally just to help break that work routine we all so easily get stuck in. Most cities have a park that is hopefully easily accessible, and yet we perhaps take them for granted what with them being on our doorstep. In my case it’s Nene Park, which I stop at on way to or from the office. A 3.6 mile walk around three lakes that takes just over an hour. It’s nice soaking up the great views it delivers at various times of day of which I’m happy snapping and instagramming away every time (people may get sick of all my lake photos eventually haha) and the hour includes a few minutes of just sitting somewhere and doing absolutely nothing but look. This morning it was funny to watch 3 teams of 3 lads, struggle to row their kayaks towards a buoy in the middle of the lake. They were giving it all the drama as to who should row which side and when as they came down the river and entered the lake. One team just ending up doing several doughnuts with the lad at the back just about giving up trying to get straight before eventually they all got the hang of it and sort of zig-zagged towards the buoy. The team of girls however were first out of the river, floated about a bit on the lake all casual like as they waited for the lads who were shouting ‘stroke your side’, ‘too far we’re in the bushes’ (lol), before heading straight for the buoy no drama.
Sometimes it’s just the littlest of things that help.