My most recent tryst with burnout made me think long and hard about the importance of taking a break from content creation. Given, most of us are content creators for the love of it. But even so, when it takes a toll on our mental health, it’s important for us to take a step back, focus on righting ourselves, and then get back to doing whatever we were doing. In this blog post, I will talk about why you should take breaks from content creation. These are my thoughts about it which I put forth before you out of experience.
I’ve been on the Internet creating content, sometimes rarely, sometimes heavily and fast, for about 8 years now. My first ever blog was on Blogger and then I marched over to WordPress. In November 2017, I started a Bookstagram account, followed by a BookTube in February 2018, and then followed by a new Bookstagram account in July 2018 which I’m using to this day. Amidst all of this, I have always had it in my mind that I need to keep writing, keep filming, keep updating in order to stay relevant.
But you know what? Content creation is about consistency and relevance, sure. However, it is also about recognizing the fact that if your own mental health is shattered, none of your content is going to come out the way you want it to. Burnout is never going to lead to peace with how your content is turning out. What’s more, this is a way of persuading me or you into taking a break, but content quality shouldn’t be the only motivation to get you to put your mental health first. Irrespective of anything, that’s what we should be doing: recognizing the signs of effed up mental health and taking steps to make sure that we are being kind to ourselves.
Taking breaks from content creation is a sure fire way of refreshing your repertoire of creative ideas. It will help you stew over your thoughts, help you think of iterations of your ideas, and come up with fresh, newer, creative ones that will make you feel rejuvenated and happy, even! And taking a break shouldn’t be done only for your mental health, even though it’s the most important one. You should do it even for the sake of your own creativity. Taking a step back from the hustle, bustle, and chaos of content creation will replenish your creative ideas and help you take steps in directions that you didn’t think were possible before.
I’ve taken 2 breaks in my BookTube career so far and both of them have been super helpful in ways that I would never have dreamed of 4 years ago. When I took a 3 month break in 2020, I came back refreshed and brimming with new ideas, which was the catalyst, I think, in pushing my content to become better and as a result, my channel’s growth. When I took a break in June 2021, without any idea about when I will make a comeback, I realized certain things: that churning out content isn’t going to be useful if I was going to be stressed and annoyed all the time. So I’m now taking a step back and instead of posting on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I’ll be posting on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This is a step that I am super comfortable with now than I would have been even 6 months ago.
I know that these tips and tricks will not work for everyone because everyone has their own ways and means of dealing with stress. But if what I’ve said so far resonates with you, then here are a few things you can do to reduce your content creation burden:
- Reduce the number of times you post for a few days/weeks.
- Write/film and edit in batches and schedule your posts. During this time, don’t go on social media.
- Do any form of self-care that you think works for you: spa days, Netflixing, reading for leisure, face masks, going to the salon, a long drive or two or ten – anything you think will be a stressbuster.
- Take yourself out on a date. Go the extra mile for yourself.
- Sleep. I cannot stress this enough. The long nights and sleep deprivation will catch up with you. So make sure to get in as much sleep as you can.
- Exercise. Never in a thousand years did I think I’d be saying this, but honestly, give your body some exercise. It might curse you now but it will thank you later. Trust me.
- Do a recce of your work and what you plan to do. Move around things according to your comfort and if you aren’t able to post anything, don’t beat yourself up over it. Tell yourself that you are doing this for you, that it’s okay. Guilt at not doing something never makes anything better.
These are some things that I’ve tried to implement and I feel at least 40% better now. I’m still on the path to become better and there’s a long way to go. But now that I understand why you should take breaks from content creation, I’m never going to take breaks for granted and I’m always going to put myself first.
What’s the point otherwise?