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E - Running on Empty

I think I've been in burnout for quite a while.

I'm a single mom who works full time. And my work often requires a lot of brainpower. So I suppose it's understandable that I'm always tired. I go to work at 7am and get off just in time to cook dinner. I might have a couple of hours before homework, followed by bath and bedtime routine; but during those couple hours I have to be on call for my son. These days I don't even have enough energy or brainpower to work on my hobbies. I used to read. I used to do crafts. I just don't have it in me anymore.

I've been creating content on social media for three years now. I run a YouTube channel, a Twitter account (I refuse to call it any other name), a Tiktok account, and an Instagram (it used to be two pages but I gave one up). And then of course there's this blog when I have the mental capacity to write. I try to post pretty regularly. On Instagram I used to publish informational posts almost everyday. I burned out on that and now post every few days, and it's usually about my cats. Twitter isn't too hard because I mostly just post random thoughts or things going on in our life. I do try to post on Tiktok everyday, although I might stop doing that because frequent posting doesn't seem to increase my views in any way. YouTube--that's a struggle. It takes a lot to research a video, script it out, and film it. And since I'm a single mom with a full time job, I can only film during my lunches. I have three days a week that my lunch hour is available. I also have to keep up with clearing up phone space because I can't afford a camera right now.

It's been really difficult to put out content the past few months, and that's why I think burnout is at play. My creativity seems to have taken a dive, and I'm not as motivated as I used to be. Part of me is afraid that content creation was a hyperfixation and my ADHD has decided it's run its course. If that's the case my ADHD is being a jerk because it hasn't replaced it with another hyperfixation. I think my focus on numbers is adding to the burnout. I want to post content because I enjoy it. And I feel like if we're helping at least one person (or system) then it's worth it. But it's really easy to get caught up in the numbers game. I'm not getting enough views/likes/followers. The algorithm is working against me. Is it worth posting if so few people are seeing it? I'd like to be able to post because I want to and not care about all of that. But my perfectionism gets in the way.

The idea of monetization also doesn't help. What if I can get enough views to actually make a little bit of money? This is highly unlikely to happen, but sometimes I get caught up in the possibility. And it doesn't help to see other creators be really successful. It makes me feel like I'm not good enough, and why should I even bother to make content?

That might be a major part of the burnout. It's exhausting to set yourself to a standard you can never meet, and I have no one to blame but myself. I don't know how to turn off the competitive part of my brain. If I could figure that out I feel like I'd be happier. Then it wouldn't matter how often I post or how well my posts perform. It needs to be more of a hobby and less of a goal. I've started trying to get back to looking at things that way. I'm trying not to look at analytics and just respond to notifications as I get them.

Of course I'm not the only one in the system affected by this. Veronica dreams of having a large platform. She was the driving force of doing social media to begin with. Cameron doesn't want to keep doing it if it becomes more stressful than enjoyable. And Roly would rather our audience stay small. Remaining a small creator is safer. Some of the others only contribute begrudgingly. And still others have ideas but rarely get to front to act on them.

I know this post probably seems really whiny, but I think I needed to get it out. The way things are right now is not sustainable. There are very few things I find enjoyment in right now. I spend most of my evenings bored, but with no energy to do anything about it. I'm not entirely sure what the cure for burnout is. I get enough sleep. I could probably eat better and drink more water. And like everyone else, I am chronically stressed about finances. But there's got to be something I can do. I'd like to stop being so tired and find joy in doing things again.

1 Comment

Thank you Shell for being so honest and vulnerable. Much of this is so relatable to us, we're sorry you experience it too but it helps to know we aren't alone navigating this. - Mia

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