Sunday Reflections: Design Sponge Podcast on Burnout & How to Deal

Photo by Tim Lingley

Photo by Tim Lingley

I’ve been looking for some podcasts to listen to while I paint and/or sketch, and as I was going through some of my feeds I spotted a show called “After the Jump” that Design Sponge had posted. This week’s show discussed work-life balance, and whether or not it actually exists. It’s a great podcast and I highly recommend that anyone in a creative profession, whether it’s blogging, cooking, art, etc go listen.

Grace Bonney, blog-runner at Design Sponge and host of the show, discussed why work life balance is an issue. Burn-out is a phenomenon that’s become more and more common over the past decade, but why is that? She goes on to say that with the popularity of the internet and social media, more people are finding ways to create and work their dream jobs. Having a career that you love makes it much harder to separate life and work.

One of contributing factors to burn-out is social media. We’ve become accustomed to sharing every part of our lives on the internet through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, and there can be a subconscious urge to frame our life and our issues in a way that’s pleasing to others. This puts a lot of pressure on us to be perfect and to gain the acceptance of others. With social media being so readily accessible through laptops, tablets and phones, we stay plugged into it indefinitely, even while we’re supposedly on vacation. If we’re busy trying to show off that perfect beach photo, or tag the right restaurant, are we really totally on vacation?

This podcast hit home for me because Grace reveals some personal details about medical issues that arose from burn-out. It’s both funny and sad that when we go to the doctor for a physical issue such as an infection, and are prescribed a drug, we automatically trust the doctor’s opinion. However, if we go in with physical symptoms and are told to stop stressing out and be more active, we dismiss it and assume something more is wrong with us! Of course there will be cases where there is something other than stress is at work, but stress is a powerful and terrible beast that I’ve had too much experience with. It can manifest in lots of horrible ways and be every bit as miserable as any other ailment, and needs to be taken just as seriously as an infection would be.

I don’t want to give away the entire podcast, because it’s awesome and totally worth listening to, but here are a few more areas of discussion that are covered:

  • How to figure out and achieve your goals, short term and long term.
  • Saying “no”, letting go of the “should” voice, how to get over the feeling of  “losing out”.
  • The importance of a support network.

I’ve experienced burn-out during my previous job and don’t want to experience it through art. One of the reasons I decided against art right after high school was that I didn’t want it to become something I dreaded, something I hated. Now I know that I need to separate what I do during the day, and focus on relaxing/enjoying my own life so that won’t happen. In order to feel a balanced life, I need to make sure that my personal life flourishes just as much as my professional life does. This means slowing down and not taking on too much work so that I have time to stop and smell the roses. Even if that means it’ll take longer to reach my goals, I’ll be able to enjoy the ride that much more and not be hindered by burn-out down the road.

Do you feel like you’ve reached your goals, but it doesn’t feel like you thought it would? This work-life podcast will help you figure out why and what to do about it. Go listen!

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