The Fastest Route to Burn-Out

Can you really have too much of a good thing?

Everyone has experienced burn-out in one form or another.  I can list a handfull of areas that seem to frequently pop up for me: Motherhood, caring for a home and yard, keeping up a business, and even my little ‘ol creativity.

The quest for balance is never easy.  Nor should it be.

The balancing act requires a bit of give and take in order for us to learn proper perspective about what is most important in our life, and those things always require sacrifice.  Always.

I don’t have all the answers for achieving that blissful sought after state,


I do know some things to beware of… and  knowing what to avoid can be equally helpful.

As I admitted last week in my Graduate School Confessions...Spending three years only composing music to please a small panel of faculty didn’t exactly fuel my passion for my art.  I left creatively exhausted and defiantly determined to abandon musical pursuits till I could learn to love it again.

Dramatically sad.

But one of my biggest mistakes could have been avoided… and perhaps even been my saving ticket to keep me from reckless abandoned burn-out.

Who do you work for?  Who do you serve? Why do you create?

If the answer to these questions doesn’t include YOURSELF–at least in portion–the road will end soon.

Not once in three years did I pause to compose a piece for myself.  Oops.

A reoccurring mantra that I see photographer, Jonathan Canlas, preach, is the need to shoot personal work.

As if I didn’t even learn from past experience, I spent all of 2010 shooting for everyone but myself…leading to–you guessed it–more dramatic burn-out by the end of the year and a proclamation of 2011’s Sabbatical Journey.

I’m growing tired of the drama… and finding that just a little bit of “self time” can make all the difference.

Not surprising that one of Julia Cameron’s two fundamental routine activities for caring for the creative self–involves TIME FOR YOURSELF.

Like… regularly.

Remember how it will require some sacrifice?  The most important things always do.  It feels a bit selfish too (thats the censor trying to keep one away from what is most helpful and absolutely necessary).

Our family has had to make a few sacrifices in order for me to have some self-time to keep from regular life/mom/wife burn-out.  Whether its forking out the money for a babysitter, getting up a few hours earlier before everyone else is awake, scheduling in “spontaneous fun”, or changing up traditional roles in the family, it’s helping.

And the best part?  It really does affect more than just you. Everything is just better.  (so there, censor!).

Its dramatically important, but very hard to make it work.  What do you do to help make time for yourself?  Please share!




Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  She gets up each morning at 6:00 a.m. for… you guessed it, time for herself.  Journaling, meditation, reading, and simple crazy prevention.  Its worth the late night sacrifice.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons , online photography classes, as well as seasonal photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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7 Responses

  1. Regularly scheduled girl time. (last Sat. of the month in the evenings) Regular date night. (mandatory once a month)
    Unscheduled trips to “browse” the shops to get inspired.
    Read a book that is not work related. Call a friend because I want to and not because I need them or they need me.
    Sometimes it’s the small acts that add up to me feeling balanced. Always a daily goal.

    1. Kathleen, you’re so spot on for girl time and date night 🙂 I also love browsing and non work related books 🙂 We all need that recharge dono’t we?! Micah… you almost persuadest me to become a runner… almost 🙂 Cindy, we’re kindred spirits in the morning routine 🙂 What would we do without it?

  2. I run.

    I have never been a runner but since starting grad school its the only way I can justify having time away to just myself and my thoughts. And since I am sort of torturing myself at the same time, I don’t feel quite so guilty. The catch is, the more time I want to myself the longer I have to run. It helps me keep everything in check.

  3. Almost every morning I grab my bible, journal and coffee and sit on my porch and let my thoughts and my heart pour out. Its so cleansing. I need to add your idea of shooting for myself.

  4. Brooke,

    i’ve been enjoying reading your blogs and website for good ole reminders. i just wanted to chime in to this post.

    my son is napping right now and this time is so sacred to me….oh..i cant even tell you….

    i’m a single mother of a 19 month old son. i’d never change a thing, i love this little man with my whole soul…but its only been a few months since i have began giving myself some time – for me.

    motherhood is so all consuming in positive and exhaustive ways.
    …not to mention even getting time for my creative side….and my photography hobby…

    as i was reading your post i recalled a quote by neale donald walsch that says something like this “what you do for yourself, you do for another. what you do for another, you do for yourself”

    for moms..its probably hard to get that going for a walk in solitude is helping other family members too but its really true!!

    my road as a single parent is a bit different but i am trying hard each day to give back something special to me from me……even though my son fills me so.

    much gratitude,

    1. Jessica! Thank you so much for your comment! And way to go for being such a well invested great mom! Your son is really lucky to have you! Absolutely, we need time to give to ourselves in order to give to those in our family. I always like to think of it as “filling the reservoir”. If all I do is give, then I’m eventually going to run out. But if I also take the time to nourish myself, then I have more to give and everyone is the better for it!

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