Photog’s Life: The Burnout!

Okay, so I wrote an Instagram caption the other day. It wasn’t my typical gushy girl kind of caption. Instead it was long and didn’t have any exclamation points. (Rare right?! haha)

But it was a topic that seems to be taboo now a days, which is to take care of yourself. Mental health is something I’ve written about in the past, but this year it really took a toll on my wedding season. Let me be blunt: EVERYONE carries shit & regardless of the lifestyle lead, there is always something that can cause pain or mental discomfort. If I’ve learned anything about my own life: the best way to have a sharp mind and healthy body is to take care of myself.

Which is hard to even admit, because I feel guilty for ever taking a day off. Owning your own business is not all fun and games. There is only about 10% that I show on social media, and it’s the travel, excitement and butterfly feeling posts!
The other 90% is what creates a burnout.
We forget about the lack of sleep,
dehydrated body,
back problems,
computer migraines
or even stressful stomach ulcers.
These come from wearing so many hats. From CEO down to Secretary down to the Temp that picks up coffee.

So even though I can take time to eat lunch in the next room, I do it by my computer in case an email pops through.
If I go to yoga, I bring my phone, yes it’s on silent, but just in case a bride needs me.
My Lightroom app is constantly open, and I had this strong feeling of failure if I didn’t update my expense sheet daily.
But I guess the worst part is that I just realized this.
That I can get so wrapped up in capturing other people’s lives, I forget to take care of my own. 

So the burn out.
It’s an accumulation of everything.
It’s the stuff I carry with me from moment to moment.
It brings up worries, anxieties, and thoughts.
No matter how irrational, it can consume my good days and create immediate bad ones.
It can cloud my life and cause instant overwhelm.
It can cause physical pain, and stir up mental challenges.
Which is what happened this time.

On Sunday it hit me square in the chest. I wasn’t even in Ohio. I still had another session to do that evening, but I knew something was wrong.
I grabbed my rental car early, and drove back to my own bed.
I sent apologetic rescheduling emails, made doctors appointments, unplugged absolutely everything and tried to rest as much as possible.
And for the first time in three years that I completely let go.
I shut everything off, I didn’t post on Instagram, I didn’t update my website, or edit any images.
I didn’t respond to emails or even keep my phone around me.

I decided I finally needed to be as honest with my life as I am with capturing my clients.
Because I am not Wonder Woman. I can’t complete a bajillion tasks in one wedding season.
My body will truly break down. So I listened to my body, and took care of myself.

And guess what?
Life didn’t stop!
Nothing caught fire.
My business didn’t crumble; I didn’t have to close my doors.
I was able to kick off Wednesday with a clear mind and a semi-back-to-normal body.

I’m grateful for the ability to talk about it. because I know I’m not the only one to struggle with this. I’m not alone.
I’m absolutely blessed with my clients and couples that understand and care. It reminds me that I am in such a unique position! One where clients book me for a service but also know I am only human. I’m not a robot or a machine. I need sleep and water and sustenance.

So what am I doing to better tackle this for next year?
PLANNING my schedule.
I’m not overloading my travel or my sessions.
I’m actually scheduling in me time, and taking it.
I’m going to shut down my computer and my Instagram at night
&& will physically be unplugging during yoga (because gosh darn-it, that is what it’s for!)

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