With open communications and transparency, make it clear to employees that stress is experienced by everyone.
There’s been much made of an impending “turnover tsunami” lately, with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) being one of the first to sound the warning bell for organizations working hard to fill open positions and, especially, to recruit talent for hard-to-fill roles during a pandemic that continues to create challenges for employers and employees alike.
Before the pandemic, employees had been suffering from a range of mental health issues business owners were attempting to address. Since the pandemic, these issues have only gotten worse.
Employee stressors taking a toll
Employees feel out of control because, to a large degree, they are. They have no control over the virus, or over government and employer mandates that threaten to impact both their lives and livelihoods. And they don’t know what to expect next because, in truth, no one knows what to expect next.
It can be easy to be drawn down into a rabbit hole of despair.
It is in this environment that employers and their HR leaders need to step up to help stamp out employee burnout.
What does work/life balance mean during the pandemic?
Work/life balance has long been important for employees. But work/life balance since Covid emerged is decidedly different. Many employees still working in a remote environment no longer have a clear distinction between work and home. They work in their homes where their personal lives — spouses, partners, children even parents needing attention — are integrally tied into their workdays.
In this environment, it can be hard for workers to “turn work off.” Employers can play an important role here. Even something as simple as establishing a “no emails outside of scheduled work hours” can help.
Organizations need to take steps to seek and listen to feedback from employees, recognizing that each person’s situation can be markedly different.
How proactive should employees be about sounding the alarm?
One step organizations can take to help employees battle burnout is to establish a climate and culture of open communication and transparency that invites employees to “sound the alarm” when they’re experiencing signs of burnout.
Leaders can set the example themselves by sharing their own stressors and feelings of anxiety — after all, nobody is immune to pandemic-caused stress and its impacts. Make it clear to employees that stress is experienced by everyone and can naturally be overwhelming. Share information about how you’re dealing with your stress. Resources available to employees can go a long way toward bringing issues to the forefront where they can be addressed before becoming significant.
Through personal feedback or surveys, employers can identify other opportunities for helping to alleviate stress. One key stressor during the pandemic is “Zoom fatigue”. Minimizing the number and length of such meetings can help, as can lightening up on requirements for cameras to be turned on.
Time off: More is less
Some organizations are proactive in giving employees time off — offering mental health days or extending paid time off (PTO) during the pandemic. For those who cannot travel, people may consider “stay-cations” as a pleasant alternative for relaxing at home or doing homebound projects.
It may be counterintuitive, but companies that have unlimited PTO policies have actually found that employees take less time off under these liberal policies compared to installing a cap on PTO and subjecting people to “use it or lose it” restrictions.
Other companies have even taken steps to reward employees for taking time off. Earlier this year The Wall Street Journal reported that some companies are offering employees cash bonuses for taking vacations. LinkedIn gave all employees an extra week off in April. There are many other examples.
Companies are also recognizing — and taking steps to alleviate — the financial impacts that taking time off can result in, especially when time off is mandatory. When the virus first emerged, Microsoft was one of the first major companies to announce steps it would take to protect employees — recognizing, and paying for, additional time off.
I have been blogging since March, 2014 and while I’ve gone on a few hiatuses since starting my original blog, I don’t think I was ever really burnt out of blogging . There have been times when I was close to a blog burn out, but I have managed to work through these periods and I haven’t experienced anything like that for quite some time.
In today’s post, I’ll be discussing how I’ve avoided the dreaded blog burn out, and while this isn’t a “tip post” exactly, I do hope that my own experiences and methods will prove to be helpful for some of you, at least.
scheduling ahead of time
The most important step I’d taken to avoid feeling burnt out was to start scheduling posts ahead of time. While I wouldn’t call it a burn out, there are times when I’m not in the mood to blog . Granted, in most cases, I could force myself to sit down and write something, but I believe that would lead to a proper burn out, which is something I always try to avoid. On top of that, I don’t always have the time or mind-space to come up with new ideas and give them proper attention to make a good post out of them.
Thankfully, at other times, I can and want to write multiple posts in a couple of days , which makes up for the times when I just can’t concentrate on blogging. Typically, I have posts scheduled well into the future. I know scheduling is not for everyone, but I still recommend trying it out, as it has taken out all the stress from blogging for me. For those who have a predictable schedule – e.g. university students, like myself – I recommend trying to prepare for the periods when you know there’s a good chance you won’t feel up to blogging. For instance, I always make sure to have posts scheduled throughout my exam period.
posting about what I want
The second most important thing was to realize that this is my space on the internet, and as such, I can do whatever I want with it . Even a few years ago, I used to feel a pressure to write reviews, simply because they are “expected” from book bloggers. I kept seeing all the wonderfully detailed, convincing reviews my favorite bloggers were writing, and I wanted to create content like that.
However, I grew to recognize that it’s more important to create posts I’m actually enjoying working on than to force myself to write something I have little interest in writing. I still review books, but I tend to write mini reviews these days that I group together based on the genre of the books, or another aspect of them. One of my favorite things I’ve started is ranking books written by a given author ; these posts contain nearly full length reviews, but I enjoy myself way more than I ever did when I wrote single reviews.
As a whole, though, I post a lot more recommendations and discussions than reviews, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Part of what I love about blogging is that I get to talk to you all in the comments – or on your blogs – and recommendations, discussions, and even mini reviews tend to create more of a discussion than simple reviews.
Another thing I find important when it comes to creating content is to write about whatever I am interested in, even if it’s not just books. I really appreciate it when bloggers share their favorites or hobbies on their blogs that are not necessarily related to reading. In our case, Sabrina and I both loved working on our folklore post, in which we paired Taylor’s songs with some of our favorite novels, and as such we connected an album we loved with reading.
Letting Go of ARCs
Let’s go back to the topic of reviews for a moment! Knowing that ARC reviews bring in more views than backlist reviews – do they still, though? I don’t necessarily think so. – I requested ARCs left and right. Being a smaller blogger, I obviously didn’t get everything I requested, but it was enough to make me feel like reading was a chore . When I had to get to certain titles by a certain date, reading and reviewing started to feel like a job, albeit one I was not paid to do.
These days, I rarely – if ever – request ARCs, and I’m much happier this way. That being said, this is not me saying that “ARCs are bad!” I know many incredible reviewers who request and review tons and tons of ARCs , and I love their blogs and all the effort they put into their reviews. Just because something doesn’t work for me, it can still work very well for others.
Coming Up With Post Ideas
When it comes to coming up with post ideas, mine tend to come pretty naturally to me, but I’ve also been inspired by other bloggers before . (Do not copy other bloggers, though! That’s not what I’m saying.) For example, a few months ago, I was inspired by Caitlin’s tweet to write a post where I shared my all time favorite pieces of media. Then, Emily – who really enjoyed the post/liked the idea – asked for permission to create her own list . This is what I’d consider a respectful way to be inspired, but usually it’s more subtle than this.
For those of you who are as forgetful as I am, I recommend writing down all your ideas , even the ones you are not 1000% satisfied with; you can always start working on reshaping these ideas whenever you are in the mood to blog. I note down every idea I have into my phone, which I always have with me, even though some of these are pretty silly and will never see the light of day.
Do you suffer from blog burn outs? Do you have any tips for avoiding them? Do my methods work for you, or not?
Are you sick of the daily grind? The hard work, the pull-up-your-bootstraps mentality of the present-day meritocracy has created a mythology that success means overworking oneself, avoiding sleep, and becoming a machine of non-stop productivity.
But the reality is that you inevitably put in so much work, churning out paper after paper, or doing more and more for your boss, but you aren’t rewarded on par with the efforts you put in. Burnout develops from the unrelenting stress that forms when you are running on empty.
It can be easy to confuse burnout with general stress or even depression. While these diagnoses aren’t unrelated, burnout is the feeling one gets from being completely drained, when a person can’t do any more work, and their projects drum up feelings of dread.
In May 2019, the World Health Organization declared burnout an, “occupational phenomenon,” and described it as, “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” WHO characterizes burnout as having three dimensions:
1. Energy Depletion or Exhaustion
2. Mental distance or cynicism related to work
3. Reduced professional Efficacy
While burnout is directly connected to the workplace, as a student, it is important to remind yourself that academia is a job that requires similar skill management, networking, and deadlines. Being a student is a real job!
One way to quickly notice burnout is if you have forgotten why you work or study in the first place. One works or studies so that they can have a more well-rounded and enjoyable life outside of school or the workplace; if that personal time is sacrificed for the sake of a job or school, then a person feels more a machine than a human.
Coping with Burnout
First off, tell yourself that IT IS OK for you to feel burnout at any time. More importantly, in the borderline-apocalyptic year that was 2020, everyone felt burnout. This has been the year of doing the same thing…everyday… in and out… surrounded by the same people, the same grey-paint walls… day after day.
You get the point.
Give yourself a break!
This is truly the best solution and only immediate remedy. Figure out the things that are best for yourself mentally and do those things. Then don’t let your soul become a second priority in the future. Care for your mental well-being and you’ll be rewarded in the long run.
Replenish your energy. Drink a smoothie. Have a nap. Meditate or journal. It might all sound cliché, but sometimes what one truly needs is to just breathe and relax.
Message your professor and ask for an extension or a break. They are here to help you, and for the most part they are understanding and cooperative.
Organize yourself! This is the hard part. As a student, end-of-term deadlines are inevitable. You can make the work easier by taking this approach:
1. Take half an hour to write out a list of all your remaining projects and tasks, no matter how small. Use sticky notes or a project management app like Notion or Trello and create a card for each task.
2. Organize your projects by due dates.
3. Then based on the remaining days of the term, distribute time to each of your projects, whether it be 15 minutes or a couple of days. Keep in mind the assignments graded-weight and required work when distributing time.
4. Squeeze in a bubble for self-care. After your organization work is done, but before you start any projects, give yourself a short break. Designate at least one night and, if you have the luxury, take a whole weekend. Enjoy a bubble bath, play a video game, do whatever – as long as it sparks joy.
After this term is complete, make a promise that you will take better care of yourself and avoid falling into a burnout rut in the first place.
Here are some tips to prevent burnout:
1. Get eight hours of sleep a night.
2. Eat healthier. A green smoothie is always a good choice.
3. Always schedule yourself personal time.
4. Embrace spontaneity over repetition.
5. Reward yourself for doing well.
Now, I’m no expert on avoiding stress. I often fall prey to the same trappings of routine and unhealthy behaviour. I’m creating this guide, in a way, to help myself by writing a healthy dose of much needed self-advice that will help my sprint towards the finish line.
If nothing helps and the negative feelings seem unavoidable, perhaps it isn’t burnout but depression or anxiety that you are feeling. There is no shame in reaching out for mental health support. Get that shit off your chest! UNB and STU both offer mental health services for students.
Also, consider that there is a chance that your current faculty or major is not what you actually want to be doing. Talk to your academic advisor about different major options, or, if you need to, take some time off school to reprioritize and give yourself the breathing room you deserve. Life is about making do in our own ways, so permit yourself to live on your terms.
Everyone has experienced burnout symptoms at least once: fatigue, irritability, problems with concentration, apathy, etc., but if they were lucky, they avoided falling for it. And everything is bad about it: many victims of emotional burnout not only lose productivity, but also show suicidal tendencies.
The first talk about burnout was in the seventies of the last century, but it seems that these conversations stopped everything. Officially, at least. Emotional burnout is still not considered a disease, in the ICD falls under the concept of “fatigue”, and doctors can even make an abstract diagnosis of “depression”. But the problem with burnout is global, and those same fatigue and depression are just symptoms.
Who is prone to burnout
Representatives of most modern professions can burn out, regardless of how stable and emotionally stable a person is. Emotional burnout can overtake everyone.
- medical professionals (especially many burn out now — during the COVID-19 pandemic);
- personnel of banking institutions and financial organizations;
- IT employees;
- law enforcement officers;
- retail professionals, etc.
Most often, the syndrome is observed in specialists whose work is directly related to communication: with other people, company employees, subordinates, etc.
What makes people burn out
To simplify it, you can burn out because of stressful and stressful work, when you get more negative emotions from your activities than positive ones. The reasons can be both in the work (external) and in you (internal). For example:
|External cause||Internal reason|
|conflicts in the team||habit of working hard|
|toxic atmosphere||the desire to prove something to someone|
|not actually liking the job||fear of letting someone down|
How to recognize burnout
Because of a frivolous attitude to yourself, many people confuse burnout with overwork. In the case of the latter, it will help you relax for a couple of days, get some sleep, work out hobbies, and most importantly-abstract from everyday matters: business, work, and study. But with emotional burnout, everything is more difficult – over time, if you do not take any action, the syndrome can only get worse.
The sooner you can diagnose the problem and recognize the signs and symptoms of emotional burnout, the more likely you are to get rid of the syndrome quickly. I’ve divided the signs into three groups to make it easier to understand:
Chronic fatigue, physical and mental exhaustion:
- — in the morning you start spending more time collecting and preparing for the working day;
- — you go to bed early and still wake up tired;
- — you are constantly afraid of something and worry about tomorrow;
- — small everyday tasks take up more energy than before.
Detachment, cynicism, aggression:
- — trying to get out of the workplace as quickly as possible;
- — the feeling that you don’t have any prospects and achievements (in work, personal life, study) does not leave you);
- — you quickly lose patience with colleagues, family members, and friends who make even minor mistakes.
Constant feeling of inefficiency at work:
- — productivity decreases;
- — you don’t seem to be doing anything in the workplace;
- — there is a feeling that all efforts are doomed to failure.
If you notice any of these signs, I advise you to contact a specialist as soon as possible to prevent the development of the syndrome.
How to prevent burnout
If you catch yourself at the earliest stage, and the burnout hasn’t started yet, it’s pretty simple:
- Don’t overestimate the significance of events. Especially at work. This will help to avoid unnecessary unrest.
- Set aside at least one day a week when you will only do what you like.
- Spend more time with your friends and family.
This way you can avoid serious psychological problems and remain effective.
How to stop burnout
I may get scolded by all sorts of personal growth experts here, but first of all, realize that you are not a superhero who can do anything. Your day is limited to 24 hours, and you are not all-powerful – you have your own set of possibilities. If there are no illusions about this (well done!), here are some more tips that will help you stop burnout:
- Sleep enough. Try to normalize the day’s schedule. Go to bed and Wake up at the same time. Set aside 7-8 hours for sleep.
- Take breaks and pauses in your work. Try to distract yourself from the project/task implementation at least once every few hours. You can set aside 15 minutes for a walk near your office or home.
- Change your activities. Alternate work with everyday tasks or sports. Running or going to the gym, for example, at lunch will increase your productivity and improve your emotional state.
- Rest. On weekends or non-working days, completely abstract from work/business or study.
- Get a charge of positive emotions. Try to visit cinemas, theaters, water parks and other entertainment places that you liked/like.
And be sure to see a doctor. Articles on the Internet (even useful ones like this one) are great, of course, but they can’t be compared with the help of a real expert.
Things seem better, but we’re still feeling stressed. We’ve been doing everything to keep up this past year and it’s burned us out.
We hopefully only have a few more months till we can take the next step in this pandemic, and if you find yourself at the end of your rope see below for my dive into burnout and what to do about it from Emily and Amelia Nagoski’s book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle.
What is burnout? As defined by Herbert Freundenberge in 1975 burnout has 3 components:
Emotional exhaustion– fatigue that comes from caring for too much for too long
Depersonalization– depletion of empathy, caring, and compassion
Decrease sense of accomplishment— sense of futility that feels unconquerable: feeling that nothing you do makes a difference
“It’s the emotional exhaustion for me” as the meme saying goes. It’s the most likely thing to impact us negatively. That’s for our health, relationships, and work—especially for women. This happens when we get stuck in an emotion—we haven’t gone all the way through the tunnel.
We have to deal with our stress not just our stressors. Family counselors have seen this a lot lately.
Stressors activate the stress response in our body. Anything from a sight, sound, smell, memory. It could be something external like cultural expectations, discrimination, work, money, family, or time. Or even more internal things like self-criticism, thinking about the Future, identity.
Internal or External Threats. Our body treats them the same.
All of these things can be perceived by our body as a big, scary threat. As in Um, Hi Mr. Tiger, Please don’t eat me.
Stress is the psychological and neurological reaction when our body encounters this threat. Our bodies activate a stress response that sets off hormonal and neurological activity that changes our entire body’s physiology in order to help us survive.
What do we do? We want to either run (flight), want to get angry and give them a piece of our minds (fight), or the less talked about option shutting down (freezing). But given our social niceties these days we usually can’t do those things.
And this happens day after day- especially with COVID—phew we escaped getting the virus again- or ok people recovered from it hallelujah! This is a chronic stressor and gives us chronic stress—on top of everything else.
What happens when we’ve dealt with the stressor, but not the stress? E.g. when the kids have stopped crying after a massive meltdown or the jerk at work has calmed down. “You’re body is soaked in stress juice just waiting for some cue that you are now safe from the potential threat and can relax” as Emily and Amelia Nagoski say.
We have to complete the stress cycle. Ugh, but how do I do that?
The most efficient way is physical activity. Running. Swimming. Dancing around the living room. Jumping up and down with your kid. Sweating it out to Beyonce or in a workout class.
As long as you are doing anything that gets your body breathing deeply for 20-60 mins. And for most days-yes I said it. We experience stress most days so we need to complete the cycle most days.
Other ways to complete the stress cycle?
Breathing: deep slow breaths (such as in this video).
Positive Social Interaction: this casual, friendly interaction is the first sign the world is safe- we haven’t been able to do this much. But even just complimenting the cashiers smile or saying “have a nice day” helps reassure your brain.
Laughter:deep belly laughs.
Affection: a 6 second kiss with your partner, or a 20 second hug with someone you love and trust— This can also go for those of us who are living alone-petting a cat, dog, or any animal you love.
A good cry: Yup the “ugly cry” Oprah talks about. The one where you need tissues.
Creative Expression: painting, music, theatre or a backyard play, any kind of storytelling helps us move through the big emotions.
These can teach your body it’s safe. That you escaped that darn bear.
How do I know I’ve completed the cycle?
It might be a shift in mood, tension, or physical tension. Find whatever works for you. It might be different on different days or during different times. The important thing is you need to build completing the cycle into each day.
If you’d like more individualized help with burnout or completing your stress cycle. Contact us for a free 15 min consult.
Do you ever feel you’re taking on too much at work? You’re not alone. Throughout the developed world, chronic work-related stress, more commonly known as burnout, is on the rise, with a 2018 Gallup study finding that in the US alone, two-thirds of employees experience burnout at least some of the time. In Europe, employee burnout is on the rise. So it’s essential to look out for the signs of burnout.
You may feel like you can just push through the burnout, and things will get better, but ignoring the problem may make it worse, possibly leading to anxiety and depression, and with mental health issues being the leading cause for work absence in the UK. As well as the most common claim for income protection, it’s essential to look after your mental health. In last week’s blog post, we discussed the signs of burnout, here’s a quick recap.
Common symptoms of burnout
Exhaustion – Struggling to get through the day awake, or needing to go to bed as soon as you get home.
Unable to switch off – A healthy work-life balance is the key to keeping your personal and work lives in order. If you come home and can’t stop thinking about work, to the point you struggle to relax or do anything while you’re off, it may be a sign of burnout.
Insomnia – The stress of chronic burnout can interfere with your sleeping patterns, resulting in struggling to sleep, waking too early, or going whole nights without sleep.
Poor performance – Unfortunately, worrying about work all the time, is likely to negatively impact your work, resulting in you struggling to do basic tasks.
Physical and mental health conditions – Over time, the increased stress and exhaustion that comes with burnout can cause people to develop a range of health conditions, both physical and mental, including depression, anxiety, digestive issues, alcohol dependency, and obesity.
How burnout impacts the workplace
It’s not just employees that should be concerned about burnout, if you’re an employer and see it in your employees you should be concerned too. Employee burnout is associated with high employee turnover, higher than average sickness rates, and workplace conflicts. All of which can hit your bottom line.
So if you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms, either in yourself, or your employers, here are some strategies to help you cope.
Set aside time to unwind from work.
After a busy day, many of us just want to get home, but if you’ve had a stressful day and go straight back from work, you will bring some of the pressure into your home life. Set aside a short amount of time in between and spend it doing something that helps you relax. Whether that’s reading, meditation, working out, or anything else you enjoy, use that time to calm down, so you can enjoy the rest of your evening.
Log out when the day’s over.
As more of us work from home, it’s easy to see the upsides. Saving time and money on the morning commute has lowered stress for many people, but as we navigate the new normality, there are other stressors to watch out for. By accessing your work emails and software on your home computer, the lines between work and home get blurred. If it’s after hours and you find yourself looking through your work emails, that means that work is eating into your home life. So unless you’re on call for the evening, log out when you finish for the day. There’s not going to be anything that can’t wait until the morning.
Find things to focus on outside of work.
Surprisingly, those who enjoy their work are more likely to experience burnout than those who don’t. Part of this is because those who enjoy their work are more likely to feel defined by their careers, so when the job’s stress becomes too much, it hits their identity. Finding work you enjoy is excellent, but don’t let it define you. Find fulfilling ways of spending time outside of work that challenge you, whether that’s a sport, volunteering, or any other thing that you find rewarding.
Breakdown your work and prioritize
When you have a lot to do, it can be overwhelming, and sometimes you might not know where to start, but it’s often not as bad as you think once you break it down. So take a short amount of time to write down the things you need to accomplish, once you’ve got them written down, you’ll find you won’t stress so much about missing something out, and you’ll be able to see which tasks are urgent as well as which ones can wait.
Talk to your employer.
Depending on how your organization is, this might be a hard chat to have, but it’s essential, both for yourself and your company, that you tell your supervisor when you’re struggling. Some people find it difficult to say no to their bosses, but if you’re already stretched and continue to take on new projects at work, you’ll hurt yourself and the company.
Unfortunately, some employers may not be willing to have these conversations or be dismissive of your claims, and at that point, it’s okay to think about moving on. A company with employees that are always dealing with burnout is not a healthy workplace.
However you deal with burnout, don’t forget to protect your finances.
As we mentioned in this blog post, mental health claims are on the rise and are, in fact, the leading cause of sick days in the UK, and one of the most common reasons for claiming income protection. As burnout can lead to both mental and physical health conditions, make sure you protect yourself financially from the impact. VouchForMe’s income protection insurance helps you pay the bills when you’re unable to work for an extended period. Click here to find out more.
Like a lot of us, I wanted to be a vet for as long as I can remember.
Well, there was that brief period of time where I wanted to be a garbage man because they got to ride on the back of a truck and they bought lemonade from my stand, but I ultimately decided on the [only slightly] less malodorous career. Some days though, I often think riding on a garbage truck might not have been a bad way to go, especially the way these last 18 months have gone!
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. I love being able to help an animal that is sick or suffering, I love finally diagnosing a difficult case, I love puppy kisses and kitten nibbles, and I also love educating clients and the public in general about animals and their care.
But despite all of that, I came to a breaking point earlier this year, and considered leaving clinical practice altogether.
I was working, on average, an extra 10-11 hours every 2 weeks above what I was scheduled (and paid) for. I was getting home some nights at 8 or 9 o’clock, with 2 elementary-aged kids in tow, who were tired and cranky and also dealing with the uncertainties of a hybrid virtual and in-person learning environment.
One Friday night in March 2021 around 8pm, it was dark, pouring down rain, and I had just worked a long and stressful day at work and then picked up my kids from my in-laws. I was exhausted and hungry, and the kids were cranky.
I didn’t even see the other car. With my dog in the front seat and my kids in the back, I crashed into the side of a dark-colored car in a roundabout.
Fortunately, no one in either car was physically injured, but that night left emotional scars on me that I don’t think will ever go away. The “what if’s” still haunt me to this day, and it was the morning after the accident that I knew something needed to change in my life.
Burnout and depression in veterinary medicine
Over the next few months I wrestled with how I could keep doing what I loved, without it destroying me and my family. I remember one night a few months after the accident, I picked my kids up late, and my six year old daughter asked me if I had forgotten about her.
Countless times, I had to say “no” to weekend playdates or birthday parties because I had to work or I was on-call. I missed soccer games, karate ceremonies, doctor appointments, and various school events. I had begun to lose my patience with my family, because I had nothing left to give after work.
A few years ago, I lost a veterinarian friend and former schoolmate to suicide. As someone who has struggled with both depression and anxiety throughout my life, I became fearful of the path that I was on, and the stress that I was under.
Some of it was my own doing — I had been at the same high-quality practice for over a decade, and I had become so close (too close?) to so many people and pets.
I would stay late doing call-backs, and talking people through difficult situations and medical decisions. I was (and still am) very good at these conversations, but they are hard and emotionally draining.
Things culminated the week of July 4th, when I had to euthanize my own 13 year old cat due to a hemoabdomen (bleeding splenic tumor — he always did act like a dog), and within that same week I had to help two beloved clients say goodbye to their dogs for the exact same condition, and then two of my other favorite patients also died — the sadness of it all was overwhelming.
A new path in vet med through relief work
For me, I found my release in leaving my long-term practice, and becoming a relief veterinarian through IndeVets.
Becoming an IndeVet has saved my career and quite likely also my life. I can set my own schedule, my down time is truly my own, I can take vacations whenever I want, I leave work on time, and I can spend every holiday with my family (if I want to, that is!)
But, obviously we cannot all take the path that I did, nor is it right for everyone. So where does that leave our profession? The struggles I speak of are in no way unique to me, and many are in far worse situations (I see you, ER vets).
Veterinary medicine is in a crisis, and while almost all of us in the industry recognize it, we don’t quite know how to fix it, because it is bigger than any of us as individuals. Stay tuned for my next post, where I will explore some of the ways we got here, and what, if anything, we can do as a profession to get out.
Kristen Dewey, DVM is an Associate IndeVet practicing in North Carolina.
The blogging struggle is real. Although I wrote a previous post about avoiding blog burn out, I’m not exempt from experiencing it. Over the past eight days many of you have noticed that I’ve been absent. I’ve been MIA from comment pods, haven’t posted any photos on Instagram, and my blog has been very quiet. Some of you have even sent me texts about my whereabouts.
Don’t worry, I have not been kidnapped I’m alive and well!
Life has been extremely chaotic. I’ve been so busy being Shasha that there wasn’t enough time for Shatia. I didn’t plan on taking a break until one day I had a heart to heart with my husband. He gave me a piece of advice that stuck with me. “You need to slow time down.”
Initially, I thought he was crazy when he said this. No one in the world has the ability to slow time down. After taking some time to think about his advice, I realized that I could slow time down in a sense, by slowing down my pace and focusing on other aspects of my life.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve managed to pull myself out of the funk. Here’s a couple of tips that helped.
1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. I felt super guilty about taking a break. Especially since this break wasn’t pre-planned. On the flip side, I never feel guilty about taking time off from my corporate job, so I should really feel the same when it comes to my blog. I felt like I would miss out on what was happening in blogging social scenes and the latest news surrounding the blogging world. However, during my break I gained a lot of clarity and realized that I needed to make some beneficial changes that I wouldn’t have made without taking a break.
2. Stop Checking Your Stats. It was really nice to not have to worry about checking my stats and analytics. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that most of have my stats had stayed fairly consistent during my break. I didn’t realize just how well my blog stats could do, if I just let it be. SEO and Pinterest for the win!
3. Re-Visit Your Goals. During my break I spent a lot of time thinking about my goals and coming up with a concrete time plan on how and when to achieve them. Although I had many goals before I took a break, I had slowly allowed some of them to slip underneath the cracks. Now that I’ve taken a few days off, I feel refreshed and ready to conquer them.
4. Go Have Some Fun! I never realized just how much time I spend blogging until I realized all the things I could do when I took a break. Reality sat in that I needed to do a better job of managing my time and building more free-time into my schedule. Last week, my husband and I went on a date night during the week, I scheduled an awesome reflexology appointment at my favorite spot, and dug out some time to continue reading Shonda Rhimes’ newest book. Going forward, I’m committed to doing a better job of balancing my time and not viewing blog time as me time. it really isn’t the same.
5. Confide in Your Blogging Buddies. I had an excellent conversation with my favorite blogging duo Virtuous Virgos. We were able to discuss our experiences with blogging and it was really comforting to be reminded that we all need to take breaks at certain times. Talk to your blogging buds when you’re feeling down. I’m sure they’ll be able to relate to your struggles. Who knows, they might even be able to provide some helpful advice and insight.
6. Remember Your Why. Have you ever heard of the term Know Your Why? As a Blogger, you probably already know the reason why you started blogging. However, the longer you blog the more challenging blogging becomes. I had to take a moment to reflect on why I started my blog in order to regain the motivation to continue blogging. You can easily lose sight of your blogs purpose when things get hectic and tiring.
I’m so glad that I took a blogging break. Going forward, I’m going to plan to schedule my blogging breaks every quarter. Have you ever taken a break from blogging? Do you have any tips for overcoming a blogging funk? Drop a line below and let me know!
As a travel blogger, it probably wouldn’t sound right if I say I’m tired of travel. But as travel blogging is my job, I’ve found it changes the way I see/experience travel.
Knowing I have a responsibility to my blog followers,… to keep things interesting, keep content fresh, informational and exciting, sometimes, I feel I only partially traveling for yourself. This might still be okay, I guess, if I could afford to travel often. But what happens if I’m barely affording my own lifestyle? In that case, fatigue, frustration and worry can quickly enter the picture.
I’m leaving on a trip in a few days and hmmm… I’m very stressed about it. It took me a while to warm to the idea I’d be on the road again. Today’s video and post will explain why.
Table of Contents: How I Afford Travel Blogger Burnout
Is one woman doing it all alone… enough?
Not at the moment.
Juggling all the creative skills, tools and expenses to implement a successful travel blog, YouTube channel and Instagram about female solo travel takes more energy than one person can put out.
Especially if I’m splitting my focus/energies/time on job hunting and surviving a lifestyle in the U.S.
How to achieve blogger burnout
Rather than quitting GRRRLTRAVELER (a 60+ hour unpaid work week) to focus on finding full-time employment and detour blog burn out, I downsized my writing workload –a band-aid solution. The reality is, my burnout hit so bad this year, I’ve come to loathe writing. A visual artist, I’ve long held a love-hate with words. When I’ve spent hours to days on a post only to get a few reads or likes, it’s felt like my dead end 9-5 ball and chain.
To alleviate the burden so that I can still continue my blog, I turned to a creative outlet I absolutely love, … video. Producing creative weekly videos is still a lot of work and my equipment is nowhere cheaper, but the creative challenges of video, inspire the creator in me to keep going.
Through weekly videos on my YouTube channel, I can take you inside travel to demystify the solo experience! My goal is to inspire you, share travel tips and to show you, that you can travel and not only survive it but have the time of your life! But pumping out quality solo travel videos weekly is not easy. It take a lot of time to film, edit and promote my videos to audiences and video is not a hobby for me. Camera, tech gear and maintenance repair is also an expense (Check out my gear bag). I have had my DSLR react badly to Thailand humidity and had to buy a point and shoot camera while traveling.
Personally, I want to keep making travel videos to inspire and get more of you out there living your travel dreams! But I can no longer do that all alone.
Read 11 Best Vlogging Cameras for Travel Blogging and YouTube
How do I afford travel and my YouTube lifestyle?
Simply put, I juggle jobs outside my blog. My outside work has to fund my American lifestyle, my blog/YouTube maintenance (and all it requires in equipment), as well as, fund my travels. Meanwhile, I also have to find creative ways to navigate and film my travels safely and alone, based on a scant budget.. It’s a lot of pressure to juggle. At my age, I want more than to just narrowly get by.
I’ve had many past jobs that paid me to travel. Travel blogging and YouTube is not one of them. In many ways, my blog is similar to the 9-5 cubicle job that many want to escape from. I have regular responsibilities and have to perform with quality content. With one big difference though… I don’t get a paycheck for my work hours. It’s hard not to want to hate myself for doing that to myself… for being a slave to you, to myself, to this blog entity that’s swallowed my life and free time.
But I also believe in what I’m doing to encouraging confidence in female solo travel and empowering independent travelers.
This obviously isn’t a smart or sustainable business model for GRRRLTRAVELER (since 2008) as a source of inspiration, empowerment and information for many travelers and solo traveling women.
Read about how much I would make as a freelance videographer and host
How i afford travel blogger burnout
I’m coming up on a trip and for the first time, I’m stressed and reluctant about traveling. I’ve chosen inexpensive countries, but my budget still affords few options outside of cheap and occasionally unsafe choices! And if I’m going to attempt any sort of video editing on the road, it will require stretches of down time held up in my accommodations. Without proper funding in general, my creativity will be stretched thin, juggling budget/safe options, solo safety and video creation…I know I’ll burn out quickly.
How can you help me continue making videos?
I’m running a Patreon campaign. It’s an ongoing, monthly fan funding campaign to help GRRRLTRAVELER be more self-sustaining. You control how much you want to donate, how often and when to quit. I’ve set up some milestone goals to reach for. In the future, I’d like to run workshops and tours, but at the moment, it’s hard to see I’d last GRRRLTRAVELER, if she can’t start pulling some of her own weight. If you prefer making a one-time donation you can Buy me a coffee via Paypal
If you are not financially healthy, then please do not donate.
- There are other ways to keep me on the road (See this list)
- Share, comment and like my videos on YouTube.
- Offer to translate my YouTube videos in another language so others can enjoy it and it travels farther!
One girl can’t do it all alone. She needs help. Support, share and like my campaign and help me inspire women and soloists towards their travel dreams!
As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, millions of employees across the country suddenly began working-from-home—many for the first time ever. In the midst of this transition, many companies were forced to reduce their headcounts, giving remaining employees more responsibilities and longer to-do lists.
As a result, it’s likely that employees may be feeling anxious and overwhelmed. In fact, 75 percent of employees have experienced burnout within the last few months , with 40 percent of them directly attributing it to COVID-19. This has created a whole new category of chronic stress for employees: work-from-home burnout.
What Is Work-From-Home Burnout?
Work-from-home burnout is stress that employees endure when they don’t separate their work life from their home life. According to data from NordVPN, employees are now working 3 hours more per day than they did before the pandemic. Therefore, what used to be a typical 9-to-5 job has become a much longer workday.
Employees also tend to suffer from work-from-home burnout when they work in the same space that they eat or sleep. These employees struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
When your employees are experiencing this type of burnout, they may start to lose track of tasks, miss deadlines, be unproductive, and struggle with their overall mental health. Therefore, it’s crucial to be proactive and keep your employees motivated.
Here are some tips to help your employees avoid work-from-home burnout:
Encourage Employees to Take Time Off
The key to avoiding burnout is taking breaks from work. However, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and increased responsibilities at work, employees haven’t been taking PTO during this time. According to Namely data, employee time off requests dropped by 20 percent in April compared to last year.
So how can you encourage your employees to take time off?
Whether it’s adjusting your vacation policy, implementing mandatory mental health days, or extending Summer Fridays into the fall season, you need to provide your employees with the opportunity to take a break. For instance, Looker’s HR team created a new vacation policy that allows employees to take 2 weeks off with no questions asked and no penalization.
On top of encouraging your employees to take a break from work, you need to make sure it’s easy for them to request time off. Using an intuitive platform, like Namely’s PTO tracker , simplifies the process of requesting and approving time off for both employees and managers.
Be Flexible and Accommodating
If your employees are starting to feel burned out, they may be struggling to be productive and hit due dates. To help decrease their stress levels, enable your employees to work flexible hours , extend deadlines when necessary, and take short breaks throughout the day. Some of your employees may also be struggling to balance working-from-home with child care , so give them a sense of control by allowing them to adjust their schedules accordingly.
Additionally, tell your employees to log off when they’re supposed to. Unless the email they receive after hours is urgent, it can wait until they log on the next morning. Encouraging them to unplug at the end of the day will help them separate work life from home life.
Offer New Wellness Benefits
When employees are burned out from work, their mental and physical health can suffer—especially during these uncertain times. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start rethinking your wellness benefits .
From telehealth providers to mental health support and Employee Assistance Programs, there is a wide variety of virtual services you can include in your benefits plan. To help your employees focus on their health and avoid burnout, you can also host virtual meditation sessions, stress management webinars, and workout classes. If your employees are burned out because they work, sleep, and eat in the same area, consider giving them stipends to buy equipment and create a separate work space in their home.
Boost Employee Morale
According to Psychology Today , burnout can lead to increased feelings of loneliness. So during a pandemic that has already left employees feeling isolated, it’s likely that those who are suffering from burnout are feeling even more lonely. To help them stay connected with each other, you need to focus on boosting employee morale .
From virtual team lunches and happy hours to company-wide fitness challenges, there are several ways you can keep your employees engaged. Continue celebrating work anniversaries and recognizing employees for their accomplishments, no matter how small. Overall, frequently checking in with your employees to see how they’re doing will enable you to be supportive, keep them connected, and help them avoid burnout.
Looking for more ways to keep your employees engaged and motivated while they work-from-home? Check out our recent blog, Employee Engagement in a Remote World .
See how Namely’s flexible solution will help you streamline your HR processes by having your people, payroll, and benefits info all in on place.