It’s okay to say “NO” – Preventing Burnout as a Photographer || Southern Illinois Senior Photographer
Hey y’all, I’ve been meaning to start sharing about this for awhile now, but I just wasn’t so sure when. I’m hoping to share more of my story and my experiences with you soon, but for now, this is a great starting place.
You see, last year and the beginning of this year, I went through a very difficult season of burnout. No, I’m not just “throwing” that term around for fun. It was real. It was tough. I didn’t know how to get through it. While, I hope to share more on all of that later, I wanted to encourage many of my creative friends who are going into the busiest season of the year – FALL.
Last year, right about this time, I was nearly completed booked until November. I had several sessions scheduled each week, many of which I had to drive a 4 hour round trip for, I was volunteering each week at my church, and I held a full-time position with a company. In addition to that, I was a wife that was unable to spend quality time with my husband (& our families), and I rarely gave any time to myself – even to workout or just watch a movie without working.
Let me first say, that I understand that sometimes in life, you have to hustle. Sometimes, as a caregiver for your family, you have to sacrifice. However, sometimes as small business owners, it easy for us to become SO consumed in our craft and work and competing with ourselves, we let our companies take hold of our lives. This THING that we’ve created for a better life actually gives us a more STRESSFUL life (ya get??).
I really thought I was doing the right thing. I LOVED ALL the things I was doing: the full time job, the volunteering, the weddings, the senior sessions, the spokesmodel gigs… I loved every single thing. So, I thought “how could there be TOO much good?” Well, turns out that too much of anything can be bad.
I had friends and family tell me that I needed to slow down. They shared their concern. They told me I needed to take time off, not book so much, treat myself, sleep in, etc. I made that a challenge to prove them and myself that I could do more. If you’re anything like me, then you understand that most of the time your biggest competitor is yourself. However, I wish I would’ve listened because maybe I would had to walk through 5+ months of extreme burnout for my business.
I want to encourage you. Listen to your body, and if you can’t do that for yourself, create a great inner circle that can remind you when you’re doing too much and you’re crossing the line on your health.
I know it is SO easy to fall in the trap of “everyone else is booking,” “everyone else is shooting multiple sessions a week,” “everyone else posts more times than I do…” It’s so easy to fall into the trap that there’s SO much more to do, and you need to do something RIGHT NOW to catch up.
Let me tell ya a little secret… you will never catch up.
Just when you think “I’ve got it,” there will always be something new to chase. Always.
Now, that’s not to say, GO FOR IT!!! Just keep in mind, while you’re going for it, to take care of yourself. Say no to things – even when they’re good things! I know it’s difficult (hello, definitely not a pro at that!), but prioritize what things mean the MOST to you. Then, stick with those important items and don’t look back on the rest.
Find peace in knowing that going your OWN PACE is a-okay!
Also, being busy is NOT a badge of honor! Yes, I understand that in business, busy often means BUSINESS! Busy means cash flow, and that’s needed! However, as Dolly Parton once said, “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
I hope and pray that this “busy season” i.e. fall is just that… a season. I hope that you make a conscious effort to work hard through it, but decide a healthy time for that season to end. Because just like the Earth needs seasons of growth, it also needs the dead of winter.
As always, I’m rooting for you.