Burnout is Real and It Sucks

Once in a while, I feel like I need to write down the thoughts that have been lingering on my mind on my own platform (this blog) because I feel like anyone who comes across this, however way they find it, may need to hear some of these messages and hope they (or you) can relate because I know for me, I love finding content that hits me like “Yes, this is me!”. This story about burnout pretty much highlights where I am at my life, emotionally, physically, and all.

There’s a reoccurring theme that has happened in my life in the last years especially since being in my 20s and having numerous “quarter-life crises”, and it’s definitely that burnout comes in and out of my life. Burnout, an inevitable phenomenon, seems to be like “the enemy” for me, but only because I let it succumb over me. Sometimes, when you experience burnout in life, you’re forced to face re-evaluations of your life. 

I even wrote a whole guide of how to navigate burnout because they are the exact steps I repeat and I want to educate how big of a deal burnout can be. And burnout is really a long-drawn process to get out, especially if it makes its way into emotional exhaustion. I am burnt out, not just in a certain area of my life, but I am burnt out with life.

Some of the things I recognized I burnt out of

Overworking myself to produce content in a short amount of time

In all transparency, and as normal as this is, working on the one thing I love, which is this blog (which by the way, in conclusion, I do not have any plans to stop working on it! It’s my baby and the major thing I find purpose in my life), had me feeling mixed feelings over it. I was starting to feel like I’m not sure what the future of blogging would be for me. I have worked endlessly on it for 5 years now and found myself exhausted for many reasons. 

It didn’t even occur to me these feelings can come because I loved every thing about it but life happens and takes over and it’s kind of like when you find yourself being in a relationship. You may love that thing and enjoy your time with it, look forward to growing that thing, but there’s going to be some lows that may come and you need to work harder to continue to grow it and to choose to love it.

I’ve taken breaks, but somehow I am still drawn to keep producing work for it, which is great. But, I was, a few months ago, starting to lose interest for it. I evaluated why that was and I think it was me getting to a point of frustration how I would create content and how some of it will not be seen as much as I’d like them to be, or I definitely did not see the results of my own work was worth it. I kept writing and writing, editing photos, organizing these blog posts, creating social media content with detailed captions and edit video reels, engage with a lot of likeminded people, and yet, I felt after doing all of this, it was just getting more out of me than what it was worth.

It’s so easy to compare yourself to other successful bloggers and you see how they are producing so much work in specific platforms, but the truth of the matter is, some of them are just focusing on one or two of those at most. For me, I was thinking I can handle being on all platforms, but that is far harder than it seems. I’m not a machine or a robot, I’m a freaking human being.

I reevaluated how I need to take it slowly and just work with what I can. Blogging started off as a hobby at first for me, so I still need to treat it as it if I want to find joy in what I do, and not feel like it is all work. For example, I was getting serious with how it was absolutely necessary to document my trips because it needed to be created into content, but I need to remember I just love taking videos and photos because it is just fun for me as it was with my story of moving out to the west coast.

Another thing I learned from this is I do not need to do things unless I want to. I get it, treat your work like a business, but the blogging business is, fortunately, a bit different where I do not have orders of customers to handle (unless you’re selling a product or service specifically), but where I need to focus on driving traffic to this site.

I had reevaluated that I am not doing a great job at growing on Instagram, and I honestly feel like there’s not much return-on-investment in that. Instagram is super saturated (not to say blog sites aren’t either), but in a platform that favors reels over photos and words, I thrived off photos and my words.

I definitely decided to chill out with it because I don’t make my money off there, I make it here. By “chilling out with it”, I will make reels and share photos only when I feel like it – not to beat an algorithm. I will engage when I feel like it, especially only with my existing followers. In fact, doing less can be more because how was I able to gain 400+ followers on TikTok with such bare minimum with just re-posting my reel videos there and lack of engagement?

I decided to put more focus on the SEO of this website and Pinterest to reach my blog goals. And if you’re a content creator too, please watch out for creator burnout because it is real! It exists!

Handling more than what I think I can handle

On top of my blogging, I was doing a lot outside, maybe more than a person can do. I thought freelancing in marketing would give me a break and it did! But, I’m also a Type A overachiever as I’ve been half of my life. I decided to fill in the time with other things like teaching assisting for a university’s marketing bootcamp, doing paid photography work, doing church duties, and yet, I wanted to also have a social life on top of it all. I was doing so many things that were bringing in experiences, but it wasn’t going to be anything long-term for me. Many of those have ended and had to be sacrificed to these profound realizations.

And so I came to the conclusion… it’s so much more freeing to simplify your life. I’ve noticed since I’ve been in college, I was involved heavily in other opportunities while being a full-time college student and as I age, I don’t think it’s viable to keep living out a “go-go-go” lifestyle. I learned more isn’t just… more and filling in workload to be more productive is actually less effective.

And I also concluded that anything I need to do out of life from hereon will serve me if there’s a long-term payoff, or as I like to say it in a Christian perspective, with an “eternal perspective”. 

Our society teaches us so much that we must hustle and grind day-in and day-out and balance multiple sources of income or multiple projects to feel like we are doing well or kicking butt in life, but for many of us, it’s just not it.

My on-and-off chronic illness is leaving me more tired.

So aside from the many endeavors I try to place in my life, my own physical limitations added onto this burnt out feelings I’ve been experiencing. I talk about chronic illness here and I think doing too many things can add more weight while you’re trying to make time to heal. You really do not want to work your body like a machine, including your brain. You deserve rest. You deserve to make room for your self-care needs and only for what needs major prioritization, whatever that looks in your life. Sometimes I think me having to be challenged with chronic illness was God’s way of allowing me to think clarity up to this point and to remind me to sloooowww down.

How else can I manage burnout?

You probably learned from what I wrote above, I just did a self-reflection on the things I worked on. Constant self-reflection on your projects is necessary to move past this. 

From browsing around Reddit and reading from experts, one effective way to manage burnout that has reached emotional exhaustion is to just deep rest it out. Sleep when you can. It seems like a simple solution, but this means, it requires your time so it needs to be a daily routine.

You need to take some things off your plate! And detach from some of those tasks, if you think it won’t have a major impact in your life.

Where I want to see my future from here on

I just want to get out of doing less now. I don’t want to feel like I’m stretching myself thin and I need to allow my mind and body to breathe with me at my pace. I want to know that now, at my age, and moving forward, I will work towards the future I envision. 

I’ve decided, and as I mentioned before, to definitely still stick with blogging because it’s my sanctuary and it encompasses all of my interests like writing and photography and knowing I’m making an impact to someone’s life (Don’t quit btw, newbies!) and the other part is, I decided to just focus on my marketing career with working one-two companies only.

Aside from those things, I need to live my life with slow intentional living. I want to just put my focus on the things that I know make me happy (travel/outdoors stuff), enjoy my home life, and nourish the relationships in my life, which bring me fulfillment! I want to stay close to my relationship with God, and by doing so, I use my time to study and read His words (scriptures) and to let it allow me to guide my life and find comfort in that.

Blogger Gabrielle Sales in front of a mirror in her church clothes and reflecting on her burnout story
I love going to church to have a place of self-reflection and to rest from the motions of life. I love spiritual journaling too and reading/studying my scriptures.

I mean, the possibility of… what will happen if I suddenly fall in love and want to start a family? That will definitely take more of my priority than just all the work stuff, just saying. I think I realized that there is more to life than accomplishing things.

I realized that my past generational traumas had me feel like I need to constantly work to fill in the missing gaps in my life, but that’s simply not true. And that holding such titles made me “me”. But nope!

I’ve decided to steer directions in how I do things than how I did it before. And this is how I will manage burnout.

Tell me what you thought below!