Maybe you’re just tired. Feeling overwhelmed. But feeling burned out is not just when you need a vacation to recharge.
Most likely, it’s when you feel overwhelming exhaustion, frustration, cynicism and a sense of ineffectiveness and failure. That’s how Christina Maslach, a pioneer researcher on burnout, describes it. Maslach says the main causes are:
- working harder than before
- insufficient rewards from work
- lines between work and home blur
- and feeling on-call all the time.
Sound familiar? Or maybe you are surprised, because you didn’t know that these things actually cause burnout. It seems like everyone complains about them, including me.
Let’s take these four causes of feeling burned out one at a time:
1. Working harder than before. On top of blogging there’s social media, Snapchat, Facebook Live, freelance work, and your own projects. As writers and bloggers, we’re working on plans and ideas and goals and visions and…whew. Much as it’s fun, it can also be tiring—and I sometimes feel scattered, unsure, and stressed.
2. Insufficient rewards from work. Most food writers do so as a hobby. Consequently, some start resenting the amount of time it takes when there is little money to be made. And some feel like they’re toiling away in obscurity, trying to get noticed. Yes, we food writers do the work because we love it, but we also like to be noticed and recognized. Often it’s hard to tell whether anyone’s paying attention.
3. Lines between work and home blur. This is a hard one. You love to cook! Is that a hobby? No, it’s work. You love to take photos! Is that a hobby? No, it’s work. You love to post on Instagram. Is that a hobby? No, it’s work. You love to buy pretty things for the table and kitchen. Is that a hobby? No.
4. Feeling on-call all the time. You get a BING whenever someone takes an action on Facebook. You read emails on nights and weekends to keep them from piling up. Fear of missing out (FOMO) compels you to check social media regularly, because you feel pressure to be on top of all the trends and breaking news. Seems like everyone I know is attached to their phones.
Do This Little Exercise
So, if you’re feeling burned out, I have an idea. Remember hobbies and things that give you pleasure? Make a list. Here’s what can’t be on it:
- Going to new restaurants
- culinary travel
- Taking photos of food
- Pinning on Instagram
- Taking cooking classes.
How’d you do? If you had trouble coming up with a list, that would be a clue.
Also, if you’ve been burned out, how did you recover? What are your coping strategies?