All of us have suffered from it at one time or another, the dreaded word "burnout." We often think, "Oh, I'll just power through this." Or "I've got a deadline to meet I can't possibly stop now, I won't get this project done on time." I used to be one of these myself. We often find that as burnout sneaks up on us, we become even more frantic to meet the deadline, complete just one more chapter, or write one more article. However, what we don't realize is that we've been going at breakneck speed for days, weeks, sometimes even months and years. At no point have we given ourselves the opportunity to breathe, relax, think about other things for a moment, or spend time with our friends and family. This is a not a good thing, and it can quickly lead to more serious health problems than burnout, such as depression, anxiety, even panic attacks.
So, what can you do as a freelance writer to prevent or at the very least minimize burnout, and other stress related health problems? Here are some ideas:
1. Take short breaks of 15 minutes after every two or three hours of writing.
2. Take an hour lunch break.
3. Decide ahead of time what is a reasonable amount of time to work on your projects per day and stick to it. When you get to the time that you've determined is the end of your day, then turn your computer off, and clean up your desk just as if it were the end of the day at a real job.
4. Have an exercise plan in place and make sure you stay with it. If you don't already have one in place, begin one. Yoga is a wonderful way to get exercise, tone your muscles and de-stress. I highly recommend it.
5. Make a point of eating a healthy diet.
6. Make time for the things you enjoy both by yourself and with others.
7. Learn to meditate and take short meditation breaks throughout your day, or one longer one.
8. Take a walk, breathe fresh air, and take in the images of what is around you. This is also a good way to get ideas for what to write about.
Ultimately the idea is to make sure you make time to relax, unwind, and de-stress. The benefits are many including ideas for what to write about, increased well being, fewer illnesses, and a healthier happier you.