One of my biggest goals when I started writing “Dear Sister” was to make sure whatever I did to market myself and build community was sustainable. I am way more familiar with burnout than I’d like to be, and I knew if this was going to be a long term arrangement I needed to approach it in ways that supported my mental health and personal priorities. I had (and have) zero interest in hustle culture.
This has been much harder than I thought it would be. Partly because once I zone in to a creative project, I usually work it until I burn out completely. Partly because there have been seasons that did require a lot more intention and energy than others. I still feel like I’m recovering from the Kickstarter campaign last August sometimes.
But here’s the big thing I’ve learned through Insta challenges and Kickstarter campaigns and book launches - the work will always be here.
So if you need a break, take it.
There’s this ideal dressed up as counter culture, that sells the same burnout package we get in jobs where we’re overworked; that if we make the rules it will magically feel different. Here's the twist, if we don’t change the harmful structure, we’re still doing the same thing to ourselves. Being your own boss and burning yourself out has the same results as you working for "The Man", likely just with a crappier or nonexistent benefit package. Don’t let social media algorithms own you. Don’t let sales or client goals own you. None of these things are more important than your sanity, health, and peace.
Also, take note of what kind of break you need. Have you ever spent a weekend binge watching Black Mirror on Netflix only to emerge bleary eyed, sleep deprived, and unsure of what day it is, wondering why your "rest" didn't work? No? Me neither. But in the hypothetical case that something like this happened, it could be because we weren't aware of the KIND of rest we really needed. I saw this graphic from shine text recently and had an "aha" moment.
Ya'll. There are AT LEAST seven kinds of rest. SEVEN.
Sometimes we need one kind of rest, sometimes we need multiple kinds of rest, sometimes one week an activity is restful and the next it's draining because we need a different kind of rest that week. This is where our self awareness and mindfulness comes in, we have to check in with ourselves to know what kind of rest we need.
Try this out as a journaling prompt - write down what restores you when you need each type of rest.
Anyways, If you’re waiting for a magic signal of some kind to take a damn break, from whatever, for however long, here’s your sign, permission slip, get out of (insert activity here) free card. Don’t let that thing own you. Make sure your creative work is sustainable, we need you around for a while.
Have you taken a break lately?
Tell me about it in the comments!