If you’re a content creator, you probably feel like you’re always on all the time. We make videos, we stream, we maintain a social media presence, etc, etc, etc.
But do we ever stop thinking about content and stop to take a break?
For many of us, the answer is no. As content creators, we know we have to work hard and produce great content to build a dream we’ve built up for ourselves. This often leads to overworking. We get tired of what we’re doing and can even start to resent what we once loved.
That’s good old fashioned content creator burnout for you.
I want to talk about that today. Specifically, I want to talk about how burnout affects content creators, our mental health, and how we can avoid it.
I’ve got a video about this you can watch, or if you prefer to read just scroll down!
What is Burnout?
So before we dive in, what exactly is burnout? We typically define burnout as a form of extreme exhaustion caused by excessive stress. Now, this excessive stress can come from a variety of sources: work, school, even relationships. As a content creator, all of these factors can contribute.
What Causes Burnout for Content Creators?
Working Too Much
Burnout in content creators can often be seen from working too much. Whether you’re focusing too hard on your next YouTube video, streaming too much, making sure you’re keeping your social media up to date, or putting effort into building a great online community on platforms like Discord or Vibely; these are all work for content creators. In the moment, it might not feel as much, and the onset of burnout can sort of blindside you.
Taking on Too Much Emotionally
Beyond the actual work of content, there’s also the aspect of relationship building. A lot of content creators for a community where people feel close to them. These parasocial relationships can end up being detrimental to you as a creator if you don’t set boundaries. Make sure you’re not opening yourself up to trauma dumping or to being your community’s “therapist” if you’re trying to avoid emotional burnout. Being too emotionally invested in the lives of others wears you out and is an often overlooked cause of burnout, especially in the content creator space.
How to Avoid Content Creator Burnout
The biggest recommendation I can make when it comes to burnout is to do everything in your power to avoid it, if you can.
Recognize Your Stressors
The first step to avoiding burnout is to be able to recognize your stressors. This means taking a step back and seeing what aspect of your content creation is causing you the most stress, as well as how that stress presents itself.
Take note of whether your work or your emotional investment is making you feel too tired, too anxious, more irritable, or if you’ve noticed changes in your eating habits like stress eating or perhaps not eating enough.
Schedule a Break
Now that you’ve recognized what is causing your stress, it’s time to take a break. In order to avoid burnout, the best course of action is to schedule a break in advance. Take a look at your calendar and see when you have a good week or so that you can take off. You are taking a vacation from content creation.
Some creators find it helpful to batch prepare content to schedule while they take this vacation. This way your online presence never falters and it’s almost as though you never left. The key here is to completely avoid content creation, and the related tasks like social media, during the entirety of this break.
Instead of working on your content, work on yourself. Be kind to yourself. This is a great time to explore new places, practice self care, eat good food, etc. Disconnect from social media if you’re able and let yourself just exist for a bit.
Once you’ve taken your break, it’s time to return to content creation. The first thing you should do is take a look at what you were doing before. You’ve already recognized what caused your stress, so take a look and see what you can do to change it. Were you streaming on Twitch too often? Were you trying to post to YouTube very day? Were you focusing on creating content you no longer enjoy? Take a look at what you can change so you can reduce your stress back to manageable levels. We don’t want to start the cycle all over again.
How to Recover from Content Creator Burnout Once it Starts
Sometimes it’s going to be impossible to recognize burnout before it fully sets in. If it gets too far and you’re already fully burnt out and miserable, it’s time for a hiatus.
I know this isn’t what a lot of people want to hear, but in the grand scheme of things it is what is going to work. I know it’s hard, but your health is more important than your content.
My biggest recommendation when you’ve recognized that you’re experiencing burnout is to start your hiatus immediately. The first week or so of your hiatus should be a nice little vacation, just like the one I mentioned above. The only difference here is, once you’re vacation is finished, you are not jumping right back into content creation yet.
First, you want to take a step back and reevaluate if this is still something you want to do. For some of us, the answer might be no, and that is ABSOLUTELY OKAY. There is no shame in looking for something else that can bring you joy and satisfaction.
If even after this vacation, you’re still sure that content creation is for you, it’s time to take small steps forward. Take a look at your goals and what you were doing. Make sure you take your time so you can figure our exactly where you had too much on your plate. Remove as much as you can while still feeling comfortable about what you’re producing. I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again, but quality over quantity is the goal here.
Once you’ve figured that out, start slow. This might mean only streaming when you feel like or maybe one a week. Maybe you’ll only post to YouTube once a month instead of every day. Focus your attention on smaller goals that are less stressful. Don’t fall back into the trap that burnt you out in the first place.
The Importance of Socializing
While relationships can be the cause of burnout if you don’t have proper boundaries, they can also be a crucial piece of recovery. While you are taking your vacation or hiatus, surround yourself with friends. Your time used to be consumed by your content creation, so too much free time could be detrimental. If you’re anything like me, too much alone time with my thoughts can lead to nothing good. Spend time with your friends and loved ones that make you feel whole. This will help you recover from that stress overload a lot faster.
The Effects of Long-Term Content Creator Burnout
I know there are going to be plenty of people out there who don’t think burnout is serious. And those people are a bunch of fucking idiots. If you don’t take burnout seriously and take care of yourself, it is going to fuck you up. Our society has built up this hustle culture of workworkwork all the time and that’s the only thing that makes you good enough. That is a poisonous way to go through life and can quite literally kill you. You are good enough no matter how much or how little you work.
Overworking yourself and letting burnout set in can lead to disastrous consequences for your health. Long-term burnout can cause sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, digestive problems, and it can even lower your overall stress tolerance; that means more burnout more often. Add all of that together with the weakened immune system burnout can cause, and you’ve got a recipe for misery. If you don’t take burnout seriously, you’re going to be in an endless cycle of it.
There are still people out there who don’t think content creators are doing real work. The burnout we experience certainly disagrees. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can still do good work and create the content you want without letting yourself die of stress.
I hope these tips can be helpful to you on your journey to become a better, healthier, and more balanced content creator. It’s only together in this space that we can create a safer environment for ourselves and for newcomers.
If you have any questions or you have your own tips about avoiding burnout, please leave comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter!