Business as Usual: How To Avoid Photographers Burnout

Burnout.  Photographers have heard this ugly word before looming in the back of their minds and in the pit of their stomach as we diligently strive to complete every task placed in front of us.  From album designs, client meetings, location scouting, editing, marketing, budgeting, networking and of course shooting; the list is never ending.  You realize the signs of being burned out; when someone asks “how are you?” you always answer “So busy”.  You find yourself going to bed later and later at night to get work done, becoming easily agitated and have frequent headaches.  We know we need to slow down but who has time for that?!! So we suck it up and become frustrated and the first thing we do is question whether or not we’re cut out for this business.  Suddenly the quest to do more and more overpowers the  very reason we became photographers in the first place.  It happens to all of us at some point in our photography career.  We do what we love but sometimes at the cost of hurting ourselves in the process. I’ve been there; we all have.  A career in photography should be something that allows us to fulfill our passions while maintaining a living.  While I strongly advocate a healthy work-life balance, I find that there are simple things we can do on a daily basis to avoid burning out over time. Practicing yoga on a regular basis can yield amazing results for your mind and body.  You can do a simple routine at home that lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.  My favorite exercise is sun salutations.  It’s a quick and energizing way to stretch the body and get the blood pumping again.  I invite you to try doing five rounds of sun salutations in the morning before starting work to open you up to the day ahead with a great attitude. Meditation is another great way to clear your mind and take a break from the work day.  10 minutes of simple deep breaths in and out can bring about mental clarity and rejuvenate the senses.  Find a quiet space or just do it while sitting at your desk.  While meditating, it’s important to clear your mind and not think about your work or anything else during this process.  Whenever I meditate, I instantly feel relaxed and comforted because I can hear my own thoughts again.  The noise of the outside world is quieted and the tension eases. If you consistently work from your studio or home office, seeing the same things every day can dampen the mood a bit and can bring on the feeling of cabin fever.  Take advantage of the mobility you have as a photographer and try a change of scenery.  Break up the week a bit by doing work at your local Starbucks, a quiet restaurant, or the park when the weather is nice.   All you need is your laptop and a wifi connection.  You can easily do album designs or marketing tasks from a cozy restaurant during the day.   This helps to break up the routine and stimulate your senses with a new environment to do your work.  My favorite place to get work done especially during the winter is at a local café that serves the best chai latte’s ever. Another thing I like to do during the week to resist burning out is to go on an artist date (or day trip).  It can be a trip to view a museum exhibit, taking in a movie or going for a walk.  The point is to take one day to spend time by yourself doing the things that excite you.  This can be a great way to feed your soul with creative activities that will open and expand your mind outside of your work. The last thing anyone wants to do when they are feeling stressed and frustrated is smile.  But this simple act of just smiling can instantly put you in a better place and brighten your day.   Think of how good it feels when you see something that makes you smile; it can be so refreshing.  All of the pressure we put on ourselves to be productive and be the best can be overwhelming.  Whenever you have that feeling, visualize something that brings you joy i.e a newborn baby, your best friend, a puppy, laughter, and allow that vision to bring a smile to your face.  This allows you to slow down and melt away the tension you are feeling.  So no matter where you are and what you’re doing, smile away the stress. Being a photographer can be a labor of love and we do it because it is our passion and it is who we are.  The five items I listed above can make the challenge of running a photography business a little less stressful or at the very least, turn it into good stress.  It can help produce a feeling of being in control and creating a sense of accomplishment.  If you found the above information helpful or would like to share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you! See Beauty… Ariane Note: The above photos were taken while going for a leisurely 30 minute walk after the last NYC snow storm. This post would be too long without pictures :)! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please share on Twitter & Facebook.
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