Freelance Burnout: My Give-A-Damn Broke
I swear I had it just the other day. I could feel it, at least I think I did.
Have you heard this line of thought going through your head over-and-over again? Maybe even to the point in which you feel like you’re going crazy. From my experience, if you don’t address it – you just might board the crazy train. But, how do we go from being able to feel the passion for what we’re doing to feeling nothing? If we’re passionate about something, isn’t it always there?
Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. All that matters is that it isn’t there in this moment, and a lot of other moments. When this becomes the case, it’s time to take a hard look at what is going on before the change in attitude and passion starts to impact your business!
It’s Just A Phase.
I said the same thing, for the better part of 7 years. That’s a long time to live in denial, I had a few years in there where I felt the relief of joy and passion, only to have it all disappear again. The common thread? Working around the clock, letting go of everything I loved to do outside of work and telling myself it was the price you pay for success. Bullshit!
Yes, there are times where we need to buckle down and get shit done … but not for months or years at a time. That’s self-sabotage! Not fueling yourself with the activities that light you up will suffocate your passion. Do it long enough, and you could lose that passion forever.
Finding Your Happy Place Isn’t A Joke
I don’t know about you, but I always thought people were joking when they told me to go find my happy place. Also, being a rather logical person, I thought it was a physical place I had to find. It isn’t.
Your happy place is the place in life you feel comfortable in your own skin, at ease with the world around you and in those moments you are completely happy. What’s so funny, at least to me, is it can be the simplest of things.
For example, my happy place is pulling weeds, talking to my plants, mowing the yard, working with wood, sitting on a dock looking in to the water, riding my bike, sculling, sailing or listening to birds singing. There are no rules to what your happy place looks like, no one gets to decide but you. Here’s the trick – you HAVE TO GO THERE! Regularly.
The Happy Place Routine
As I make this change in my daily life I have realized it was really difficult to “fit in” my happy place, until I shifted the way I looked at it. I literally had to change my priorities, and in turn, change my routines.
Step 1: Take some time to look at your routines and find at least one that you can change up. Another example; I used to get up and go straight to my computer … now … I grab a cup of coffee and head straight out the back door to look at my gardens, pull a few weeds (let’s face it, that can be done every day of the year) and listen to the birds sing their hearts out. I’m in paradise. I also allow myself to decide what I’ll do next: work or more happy time. Depending on my schedule I’ll either get in some exercise or jump in to work.
Step 2: Look for an activity you REALLY love, for me it’s sculling. Create a way to bring that in to your life as much as possible. Going back to my love of sculling, I went up to the local rowing dock and signed back up for a membership where I can row with the coach every Monday and Friday evening. It’s in my calendar, nobody gets that time without my permission.
Step 3: Keep your eyes out for time throughout your week where you can jump over to one of your happy places, even if only for a few minutes. Commit to taking care of you first, the world needs your passion – protect it.
But, I Went Too Long. These Steps Aren’t Working.
First, I’m so sorry to hear this. But I’ve been there, and found my way back to at least feeling passion for something again. Unfortunately I still have not recovered any positive feelings for the passion I let take over my life. If that is where you are, then letting it go is your best path forward. It’s hard, I know, at some point you have to choose you and then begin to heal.
Steps 1 through 3 above will get you there, at least it has worked for me twice now, once you make the decision to put you first. You may need to seek out some professional help to get you through the transition, that’s ok. Everyone is different, we all have our own journey to learn through – step in to yours.