How I Saw Burn Out Coming or How I Learned to Say 'No'.

I had planned a knitty story for this Wednesday's blog post- I'd even lined up the pictures and thought about what I'd say. I hold a sort of editorial calendar these days that helps me keep an eye on what's coming up, opportunities to collaborate and talk about topical things. I like to share inspiration and the thing about creativity that really hit me last week is that it can't be scheduled. 

When you're a freelancer or small business owner, particularly in the creative/ crafty industries, it's easy to get swept into DOING MORE. More is pretty much the answer to everything. Worried about paying bills if you get sick? Work more this weekend. Worried someone else might move into the niche you're currently occupying in your industry? Work on firming up your networks a little more. Feeling in danger of running out of ideas? Look around for more inspiration, quick!

The thing is, you can burn out. Just type 'freelance burn out' into Google and see the number of articles you'll find. There's even a wikihow titled ' How to Avoid Burn out Working Freelance at Home'! A few weeks ago I joined one of the regularly scheduled #Blogtacular chats where they discussed a much publicised and debated article in the New Yorks Times 'When Blogging Becomes a Slog'. The reason that particular chat rang true for me is because I'd felt is several times- maybe I should just STOP? The theme here is that there are a lot of people who freelance and work online who are feeling like it's all just going a bit to fast and maybe jumping ship is the only solution.

You're not alone. 

Last week, I took the Tot on one of our daily outdoor adventures because toddlers are not creatures that should be inside for too long. Left to her own devices, the Tot will slowly meltdown into an angst filled creature who communicates in wails and climbs walls if left inside for too long. She needs to be out, seeing the world and learning. It's how she functions best. 

getting outdoors

Then I thought about that and felt like an idiot. My toddler just reminded me of what I need in order to function best. I started snapping pictures to remind me and that's when it really hit me: I just don't get out of the house enough on work days. In fact, I sometimes only leave for the nursery run. So this week, each work day, I've gone to find something that makes me smile and you know what? It's been such a more pleasant week. 

outdoor inspiration

At first I found it hard to let go. What about that email I was waiting for or that copy I know I need to start writing the minute the file hits my inbox? I would start walking, promising myself just 5 minutes and then I could dash back home but as I started to relax into my stride, I could feel the anxiety drift away. I actually found that when I returned to my desk 20 minutes later, I was fresher and had thought of a fix for that little thing that had been niggling at me all day. My emails have been less scattered and I've started using a timer to focus short bursts of work then rewarding myself with another walk around the block or doing something like throwing a soup together for a delicious lunch- something else I was getting worse at remembering to actually have time for. 

So I'm challenging you to try it this week: say no, put down the phone, close your laptop and just breath in and out a little. Get yourself outside your door, collect some fresh produce and fuel your body for the marathon you run. Go on. I dare you xx

 

ETA: 15 minutes after I hit publish on this post I was sat browsing my blog reader and this perfect post by Rachel over at 'Do What You Love' popped up. I'm not kidding, it's like Beth, the creator behind the blog and website of general awesomeness, just gets me sometimes and if you haven't discovered it you should. Her team is full of inspiring stories and this was so apt I just had to edit and add it here. The theme of the month is 'Love to play' and it couldn't be more appropriate. Enjoy xx