This week: Don't Burn Out Edited by: Kit
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|Have you ever experienced burnout? What do you do to prevent it?
There are many benefits to being creative, but don't take on too much!
This week's Drama Newsletter is all about managing your time when doing what you love.
|When something is enjoyable to do, it is natural to want to do it as often as possible. A lot of the time that’s fine. Whether it’s going to the gym, putting pen or paint to paper, or playing a favourite game, it is good to make time for fun and relaxation in our lives.
This is still the case when what began as a pastime evolves into an obligation – as long as this obligation does not place too much pressure on a person, or the people around them. For example, online gaming often involves teaming up with other players at set times to complete missions. Moderators have certain responsibilities towards staff and their community. Creators of hobby websites want to make their space safe and welcoming towards those with a same interests. Outside of the Internet, too, people get together, and create groups and organisations based on what matters to them. Being a part of a community can be a healthy addition to one’s life. We are a social species, after all.
The problems begin when we take on too much, and that is surprisingly easy to do. We decide to do one thing, agree to do another, and before we know it more and more time is taken up doing what was meant to be relaxing but now feels very much like work. The pressure mounts. More hours are spent fulfilling obligations than on our actual hobby. That’s when burnout sets in, and you can easily lose that hobby for good.
It has happened to me, on more than one occasion. One was offline, when I was a volunteer for a cat rescue organisation. I was just in it to help the cats, but more and more responsibilities were placed upon my shoulders, and I was young, then. I didn’t know how to say no, especially when surrounded by some very strong personalities who knew how to guilt me into things. My role became a source of increasing stress, and eventually I had to step back from it.
Another source of stress was an online game I once enjoyed playing. I started as a complete newbie, rose through the ranks and became the co-leader of a team. When I first played the game it was great to wind down with after work. Over time, however, I spent hours organising missions and sorting clashes between other players. There was more admin than you’d think would be involved in an online game. There were spreadsheets! It was like having a second job. It got silly, and I had to step back from that, too. I never played the game again.
To avoid this happening with something you love, it’s important to sit down on occasion and think of how much time you spend on it, how much time you want to spend on it, and how you can make that happen. It’s something I have had to learn here on Writing.Com. I often see so many different contests and activities that I know I would enjoy participating in, but I also know that I cannot do them all. I have to be realistic, and choose. That isn’t always easy. Especially not when inspiration strikes from different directions. But it’s necessary, as I love it here and don’t want to burn out.
The same goes for my own activities on the site. I run a few each month, but never more than I can manage. I may not be the fastest judge because I do run multiple contests and events, but I make sure it’s done in a reasonable time. Outside of unforeseen circumstances I know my own pace and my energy levels. I want to be reliable, and offer other members something of value, so I have to make sure that I am able to keep up with the obligations that come with it.
I have had my overenthusiastic times on this site. As said, there’s so much to see, so much to do. Every once in a while I allow myself to run wild and free, but I know it’s not sustainable, and I must reign myself in.
I have lists. No spreadsheets, thankfully. Just written lists of what I want to participate in each month. Some months that’s more than others, depending on what else is going on in my world. It’s not the most spontaneous approach to the creative arts, but needs must. I don’t want to have to take a step back. Not from here.
Have you ever experienced burnout? What do you do to prevent it?
I wish you much joy in your writing and other hobbies,
|Some contests and activities to inspire you:
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Wishing you a week filled with inspiration,
The Drama Newsletter Team
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