You know this feeling all too well.
You’ve been overbooking yourself in the hopes that you’ll finally land those dream clients. So you never say no. The thought of having boundaries when it comes to your business just doesn’t make sense. Why would you turn money away? So, you keep saying yes. You even schedule double and triple header weddings. You have the perfect plan going into it. Until day 2 comes along and you’re completely wiped. The camera fatigue has set in and you’re wondering if carpal tunnel is a real thing.
With 3 full weddings to edit, you decide you’re going to do each one in a day. Just edit the entire wedding straight. So you set yourself up, but you start pulling all nighters so you can “stay on track.” Your eyes become so drowsy that when you wake up, you have to go back and re-edit those late-night photos anyway.
Now it’s time for a break.
Another client is asking for photos, they just need those 2-3 photos with Aunt Wilma for the Christmas card. So, you stop editing the wedding and search for those photos. Que another day lost. And you can’t forget the fam sessions this week. The thought of needing to be “on” for a family session strikes your anxiety and suddenly, you wonder if you chose the right career.
You ask yourself, “is wedding photography for me?”
You’ve tried it all, and nothing seems to work. You’ve tried batch editing, outsourcing your edits and hiring a VA to take over those managerial tasks. You even thought that the new presets would completely change your life. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to get out of the burnout. Que another breakdown.
But, you don’t have to live this way. Your business shouldn’t be in charge of your life. You should be in charge of your business. And this starts at the very foundation of exactly why you wanted to be a wedding and elopement photographer in the first place. Getting back to the roots of why you started your business. What made you fall in love with the photos? This is what will give you a solid foundation to work from.
Let’s start with the very basics. What is burnout?
Burnout can be summed up by 2 main principles, being overworked, and being overwhelmed. This can come from a variety of things like doing a full day of mini sessions and suddenly you have 8 shoots to edit or it can be that looming deadline to get the photos out which makes you feel overwhelmed knowing you won’t be able to deliver on time.
All of these things stem from one main thing. Self-awareness of who you are. I know it sounds cliché but hear me out. Remember, you are in charge of your business. You are your business. And before anything can happen, you need to take care of yourself first.
Here’s your 12-step plan to move out of burnout and gain endless energy and abundant confidence.
1. Schedule Yourself First
Self-care needs to be your number one priority. When all of your needs are met, it becomes very easy to get into a workflow. You no longer think about all the things you need to do, because they’re already done. This looks like having your morning routine on point and making that the foundation of success for your day. When you first get out of bed, let your body have time to warm up. Don’t go right into screen mode. Get up, drink some water, make some coffee, and exercise. Do the things that make you feel alive and boost your creativity. I recommend starting your workday with at least a 2–3-hour gap from when you woke up.
2. Exercise in the Morning
Exercise helps boost your brain power, especially your divergent thinking. This is the part of your brain where your creativity comes from. This is where you feel in flow while shooting, without having to think about it. Exercise gets you there. I recommend 3-5 days per week of exercise for 20-30 minutes. This can be walking or a full body strength training workout (2-3 rounds of 5-6 exercises). Because your brain is working more efficiently, you’re able to get more done in less time. Exercise also helps boost those feel-good hormones called endorphins. These are natural hormones that your body produces in order to relieve stress and pain. Imagine going through your entire day without any stress, it would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?
3. Remember, never skip a meal
If it’s on the schedule, it gets done. Set aside time to take a lunch break during the day away from your work. Your body needs food in order to work. It also needs food to recover from a shoot. Being conscious of these choices will help you stay on track and fuel up for another efficient workflow sesh in the afternoon. You have a job that requires a lot of mental and physical energy. So, you have to eat like it. A quick breakdown of how food helps your body: carbs give you energy, protein helps your body repair itself and build those muscles that carry you on your long elopement hikes and keep you on your feet for the long 14-hour big weddings. Fat helps you absorb vitamins and minerals that your body needs and also provides essential fatty acids to help your body work as efficiently as possible.
4. Schedule Off Days
The grind never stops. But what if it did? Grinding long hours is the exact reason why you wanted to work for yourself. The grind isn’t working, especially not for you. You can actually get more done, in less time, by taking off days. This gives your mind and body a chance to relax and get out of work mode. I want you to live a life where you can go to these amazing places and have the energy and confidence to enjoy them. Without feeling burnt out. So, you can truly enjoy this life you set up for yourself.
5. Daily Journaling
This isn’t just writing for the sake of writing. These journal prompts are going to give all the ideas, thoughts, and whatever else you have floating around up there in your brain, a place to live. Doesn’t it feel good when the house is completely clean and everything is organized? You need to do the same for your brain. Every morning, answer these journal prompts so you can have space for creativity. At the end of the day, you can revisit these to plan for the next day.
What ideas do I have to increase my business?
What creative projects do I have?
How was my energy yesterday and why?
How will my energy be today and why?
What is constantly on my mind and why?
Is there something important in the future I need to plan for now?
Is there something in the past that I need to follow up with?
If I were to show up and be my true, 100% authentic self, how would I approach this day?
Want more tips on battling burnout? We have lots more! Check out the full PDF guide below on How to Battle Burnout where Nik shares his 12 tangible steps to move out of burnout and gain endless energy and abundant confidence as a wedding photographer.
Written by Nik Reese — Mindset and Energy Coach for Wedding Photographers. Be sure to follow along on his Instagram for more tips!
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