What to Do When Burnout Is Sabotaging Your Freelance Career

Previously published on The Writing Cooperative

Yes, burnouts are horrible. But, if you are freelancing for a long time, then you must know that burnouts are unavoidable.

Many think that the life of a freelancer is so attractive. You can have your own schedule, you can decide who you work with and you can work from any place you want. It does sound appealing when we paint a picture like that. But behind it all, there is no escape from burnouts for freelancers. It’s just a matter of how long it takes to come out of it.

I’m not going to list out the usual ways of managing burnouts. I’m not going to ask you to listen to music, pick up a hobby or focus on one thing at a time. Because if you are here, then you would have tried all these already. We will see some practical and unconventional ideas to quickly get away from the burnout phase. As you read through this piece, you may even identify the root cause of your burnout and resolve it in no time!

Ditch that client whose call you dread

Let’s not deny it. There is always one client we come across who annoys and stresses the most. The minute we see the client’s name flashing on the phone, a mini anxiety hits. This client could be someone who keeps loading you with so much work and so little time or could keep checking in a million times before the deadline.

If you are having such a client right now in your burnout phase, then it’s time to ditch it!

What’s the use of talking about the freedom of freelancing when you can’t let go of the client who is stressing you out?

No, don’t think about the amount of money you will be losing. This client could be one of the main factors for causing your burnout. Since burnouts are triggered by extreme stress and anxiety, getting rid of the stressful factors in your life will give you relief and help you to get back on track.

Get some appreciation for your work

We all have the need to feel appreciated. When you go through a string of rejections, it could make you feel worthless and helpless and soon, burnout sets in. When you start feeling that your work isn’t up to the mark, it automatically reflects in the deliverables.

What you need is a shot of appreciation!

When you have been in the burnout phase for a long time, don’t wait for the appreciations to come to you. Go out and start looking for it. Showcase those past works that haven’t seen the daylight. Post it in blogs, forums or social media. Find out unconventional ways to get that due appreciation you deserve.

Get your best-unseen work out there and let some good-old praise do the trick!

Get rid of that social media platform that’s fueling your burnout

When you are feeling stressed out and unable to give your best foot forward, seeing others performing so well and getting so much of admiration can add fuel to the fire.

I’m not asking you to stop using social media altogether. Just that one platform that’s making things worse for you. It can be Instagram, Facebook or even LinkedIn. Personally, for me, LinkedIn was actually stressing me out during my burnout phase. When I stopped using it for several weeks, it actually helped me to bounce back quickly.

Identify which social media is making you feel bad and stop using it for some time. Once you are back to your normal self, you can always come back to it.

Try your hand at something different in your profession

Sometimes, the work that we do every day may feel monotonous. We may not consciously realize it because we still enjoy it most of the time. But a little change, or say a deviation, in your profession, will do you good.

If you are a copywriter, branch out and try your hand at writing fiction or maybe an e-book. If you are a technical illustrator working with CAD diagrams, try your hand at drawing simple illustrations for your journals.

Try out anything that’s a little different from what you’re currently doing, something you have always wanted to do but didn’t have the time. You don’t necessarily need to make money out of it or even publicize it. You create something for your own eyes or gift it to someone. And if you are able to money out of on the side, it’s a double advantage! But that should never be the motive. Tapping into your creative side should be the prime purpose. This one small addition to your routine can motivate you to look forward to something every day and eventually, help you recover from burnout.

Don’t let burnouts sabotage your freelance career! Be bold and try out these ideas and get back on track soon!

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