Creators Share their Experiences Navigating Burnout
Being a creator is not a bed of roses. A lot of work goes into showing up consistently for yourself and your audience. Many creators juggle a 9-5, content creation, administrative work, among other tasks, and doing this for an extended period of time could lead to burnout, leaving them exhausted and unable to perform their duties.
A study by video-editing platform, Tasty Edits conducted on Creators in the US, UK and Canada shows that 75% of creators are experiencing burnout. But how does this translate home, and what stories and experiences can we share to validate its existence?
For this week’s #CreatorStories, we talked to several creators who shared their experiences with burnout and provided useful tips that could help you deal with it.
Keep reading to find out what they say!
When did you know you were burned out? How did it happen?
“After posting content daily, speaking at events every other weekend, and working on an online course, I couldn’t get myself to as much as write a script.” – King, Content Creator.
“I had been tired for a while, but I was exhausted to my bone and soul. I had read somewhere that burnout takes a whole year to cure, but I desperately hoped and prayed that it wasn’t the case. Lmao. It was. I didn’t have the zeal to do anything at all, and I didn’t care. I just wanted to fade. I was barely getting by, and even when I managed to write things, my clients hated it. I hated myself and everything, and the worst thing is that life doesn’t give you the time to take a while and come back. At least not usually”. – Valerie, Storyteller and Strategist.
“I’m used to going hour after hour on my laptop. Every hour of the day (literally). Then one day, I woke up and realized I couldn’t do anything. I opened a fresh doc, but I couldn’t write. I didn’t want to show up to any meetings or take any calls. I tried to sleep throughout that day, but you also can’t really sleep with the thought of everything you need to do on your mind. There were also intense headaches and body aches, but the real effect of burnout was on my mind. It’s as if the muscle is sore, exhausted, and can’t produce anything for an amount of time. It’s not dissimilar to what it feels like when you play a sport or gym for too long.” – Kalu, Copywriter.
“I didn’t feel the motivation to create, and it constantly felt like a chore. I also started comparing my content and numbers to other creators, and I completely lost it. I spent too much time checking my page after posting, obsessing over the numbers, and being affected badly by the result of my content. I stopped enjoying it completely and started to feel like a failure at it.” – Cassandra, Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Creator.
“I stopped meeting deadlines, lost the zeal to work, and showed up only because “it’s my job.” I knew I was burned out when creative ideas stopped flowing from me. I did what I was told to do: nothing more, nothing less.” – Chris, Executive Assistant.
“I’ve been burnt out since December 2022 which is crazy because I’ve also been quite functional throughout 2023. I realized I was burnt out when I just didn’t have any vim to create content. It used to be second nature to me, and then one day I just couldn’t. I think it happened because I didn’t take a break for a very long time. I was creating videos every day and editing and just constantly on social media, so my brain just gave up.” – Hamda, Content Creator.
“I stopped being creative. I would involuntarily ghost work and I find myself crying about it because there was a lot to do, but my body just wouldn’t do it.” – Oyinkansola, PR Expert & Marketer.
Have you found any remedies for your burnout? If so, what are they?
“I haven’t. It still comes down to intentional rest and making time for long morning walks. Also, I learned to forgive myself for not working because sometimes I realistically cannot.” – King.
“Taking it easy, understanding the problem, not fighting against it, being honest with myself, and resting has helped me. Not an anxious resting, but the unplugging kind of resting. If you can afford to have someone else fund your life so you can breathe, do that.” – Valerie.
“I started taking entire weeks off at first. I took a week with minimal work and just watched movies in bed the entire time. I woke up, ate, and slept. I had to convince myself that there was nothing worth my sanity (I think I was getting paid N1,200 for 1000 words back then). Finally, I conditioned my body to take Friday as a rest day. Now, I don’t do anything serious on Fridays. I just glance through what has been done and what needs to be done.” – Kalu.
“Taking breaks, watching content I created earlier that I’m proud of, and experimenting with my setup and creativity in general instead of doing the same thing have helped remedy burnout for me. Sometimes, I take time off to just exist, read a book, or crochet.” – Onaopepo, Beauty Content Creator.
“The best remedy for me is letting it pass. Burnout is simply my body and soul reminding, or rather, forcing me to take things easy. So, I do just that. Eventually, it passes.” – Chris.
“Not outright remedies but I’ve found ways to manage it. I try to batch create content as opposed to creating daily. So I create when my productivity levels are high. I also just take breaks off social media once I start to feel extremely burnout.” – Hamda.
Any advice to other creators experiencing burnout?
“Rest. Build intermittent rest into your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule.” – King.
“Give yourself time. Take a walk. Do other things. If you can find something else to give you joy, do that. Maintain a healthy routine – journal, drink water, take walks, read books, listen to music, hang with friends, and drop the guilt.” – Valerie.
“It’ll pass, I promise. And it’s totally normal, especially when you monetize your hobbies. Just make sure you take your time and also learn to create content in bulk so you can repurpose it when you’re too tired to create.” – Onaopepo.
“Your burnout is transient. Treat it as such. Nobody is going to kill you for burning out, but you might kill yourself (and I don’t mean just physically) if you don’t stop when you need to. You’re not a machine. Let the burnout come. And then let it go.” – Chris.
“Take a week off. Enjoy your weekends. Some days, just lie in bed and put on your comfort show. You’ll realize you come back with renewed vigor to crush your goals and deadlines. Your mind muscle also needs rest days so it can thrive creatively. If you don’t slow down, your body will force you to.” – Kalu.
“Don’t overstretch yourself. Take some time off, when you feel the need to. Remember, you cannot pour out of an empty cup.” – Oyinkansola.
As a creator, experiencing burnout can be a really unpleasant and draining experience. It leaves you feeling exhausted all the time and without the motivation to do much of anything. This can negatively impact not only your physical and mental health but also your earning potential. The best way to prevent this, as seen from the answers provided by the creators above, is to adopt preventive measures and life practices to avoid burnout in the first place, as recovery from it may take a very long time. Preventive measures could look like:
- Putting systems in place to prevent burnout, like building rest into your daily life, and having days dedicated to leisure.
- Adopting healthy and relaxing habits, like sleeping on time, and paying attention to your hobbies.
Find what works best for you and implement it to keep burnout at bay.