Burnout, Giving Ourselves Space, and Healing

Once upon a time on the internet, I used to be very open about my life. I put so much of myself out there for anyone to know about. In the years since, I’ve become more private and wary about what I share. It’s good in a lot of ways; setting healthy boundaries for yourself and what you give to the world is necessary. But sometimes I think I give off the illusion that my life is peachy keen and without its struggles.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a post this week that goes into some of that. I have been a full-time freelancer for a year and a half now. And I’ll preface the rest of this piece by saying that I am so blessed to be able to sustain myself in this industry. But with that being said, it is a constant hustle—it never stops. Every single day I wonder where my next paycheque will come from and if I’ll continue to find work. That alone takes a toll on my mental health. Going into every day with at least a low-grade level of anxiety.

Since I went full-time, I’ve taken on a number of editing and writing projects that I am responsible for. Countless deadlines to keep track of and stay on top of. Recently, I noticed an inability to focus on my work—beyond my existing hurdle of having ADHD. When I sat down in frustration at my lack of productivity, I realized that what I was feeling was burnout. As I processed this, I had another realization: I needed to find a way to reprioritize what was on my plate and make some changes.

When it comes to projects, I hate saying no. I also hate letting people down. But I had to make a choice—continue on with projects that I wasn’t able to give my best self to OR back out as gracefully as possible. I chose the latter and have begun the process of healing myself, slowly but surely.

As my career continues on, I’m discovering what’s important to me and what I need to do to thrive. When I still had my day job, I had the luxury of turning down projects knowing I had a salary to pay the bills. But I don’t have that safety net anymore. It’s forever a balancing act that I’m still trying to master.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with all of this, but I’m working on opening myself up to people again. It’s important to me that others know that they’re not alone in their struggles. Creative industries can chew us up and spit us back out—it’s taxing on us in every way. Not to mention that there constantly seems to be something coming up that thwarts any progress we feel we’ve made. For me, I’m working on giving myself space and being kinder to myself, especially as I heal from what I’m experiencing.

One final thing that I’d like to leave with you is this: I originally posted my update via Instagram deliberately. Instagram is a visual space and looks can be deceiving. The perception that people can give off there is that everything is great—when in reality, we only let others see what we want to see. We all struggle and what we are each going through is varied. The photo with this blog is what I often give off to people around me, but my outward happy appearance isn’t the whole picture.

Be good to each other out there and if you’re struggling too right now, I’m sending much love and positivity out into the ether for you.