I feel like it’s inevitable that when you’re constantly working in a creative space, you’re going to experience burnout. That’s why I’ve come up with these 5 steps to help me manage burnout as a photographer. Many people may say that burnout is completely avoidable with just a few tips but when you’re juggling a thousand things and wearing all the hats sometimes burnout just happens.
At least for me, burnout is not completely unavoidable. That said, it doesn’t mean that I’ll never recover and get back to my creative happy space. Over the years, I’ve discovered the steps that help me manage my burnout.
So if you’re in the thick of burnout and struggling to get back in the swing of things for Spring. Or maybe you’re making a mental note because you know that burnout is inevitable for you too. Either way, these are the steps that I use faithfully every time.
If you know of something different that helps you, I’d love to know it! Share it below.
5 Steps to Manage Burnout as a Photographer
- Take breaks: It’s essential to take regular breaks to avoid burnout. Think on a small scale and on a bigger scale. Consider setting aside specific times during the day for rest and relaxation. Remember that resting and letting your brain get bored is probably when you’ll have the best ideas. At the same time, schedule weeks where you can step back from your work and do other things you love. For me, it’s spending time with my family.
- Manage your workload: Be realistic about what you can accomplish and prioritize tasks. This means NOT taking on more than you can handle. It also means learning to say no when necessary. This is especially important during the busy season. For example this past fall of 2023, I did a better job of limiting how many sessions I took on each week. I knew that I wanted to spend as much weekend time with my family as possible so I created incentives for people to book mid-week sessions instead. Be realistic with your workload but also think outside the box!
- Practice self-care: Take care of your physical and emotional health by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. These are just overall good things to do for a happy life. Also,, take time for things you enjoy outside of photography. It’s important to have an outlet from what may originally have been an outlet. Get outside, go to museums, read, and do something creative that isn’t photography!
- Connect with others: Surround yourself with supportive friends who understand the demands of your profession. Join a photography group or club to share ideas and experiences. Speaking from experience, finding and making photographer friends (even if it’s just through Instagram) has been such a lifesaver.
- Set boundaries: Learn to set clear boundaries between work and personal life. Avoid checking emails or working during off-hours, and make time for family and friends. You have got to schedule family time, particularly weekend family time. I recommend taking an entire day off from shooting every weekend. I’ve done it the entire 5 years I’ve been in business and it definitely hasn’t hurt me.
If you’re in the thick of burnout, I see you. I promise that it ends. Keep going and try one or all of these steps to get your head back into a creative photography space. You got this!