As a content creator for the past six years, I’ve faced many periods of extreme burnout. While scoring brand deals and hitting over 100,000 followers on social media might seem glamorous, it can be exhausting. During my moments of creator burnout, I’ve been stepping away from my phone, ignoring my audience, and hiding out on my couch.
But when you’re a full-time creator, learning how to overcome and avoid creator burnout is extremely important and is part of the job.
Before diving into how a creator can avoid burnout, let’s dive into what the term means.
What is creator burnout?
Creators work around the clock to brainstorm new ideas, record and edit posts, and show up for their audience. But meeting the demands of their content schedule, answering messages from followers, and hitting deadlines for brand deals, can come at an overwhelming price.
Creator burnout is when a person feels mentally and emotionally exhausted by the work they are producing. While every creator handles burnout differently, the buildup of stress can cause exhaustion and make them take a break from content.
How does creator burnout happen?
To grow as a creator, you often have to produce a steady amount of content over a consistent and lengthy period. When a creator is constantly churning out new content, maintaining a work-life balance can feel impossible, especially if you’re giving people access to the behind-the-scenes of their life.
Creator burnout often hits when a creator is experiencing fast growth and works to keep up the momentum or a creator has been working on their brand for a while.
Is being a content creator stressful?
Content creators juggle many daily tasks, from keeping up with trends to meeting demands placed on them by their audience. In addition to having to produce endless amounts of content, creator burnout often happens because of too much stress.
Five tricks for avoiding creator burnout from top creators
To help me dig myself out of the hole of creator burnout, I’m currently feeling, I asked five successful online creators for their best burn-out tips and gave each one a try.
Here’s a taste of how each creator burnout tip worked and which could help you avoid burnout in the future.
1) It’s okay to take a break
Consistency is everything when you’re eager to grow your brand and audience. But Jennifer Pallian, a food blogger and content creator, shared that taking a break is more beneficial than you might think.
“A common fear many creators have, including myself at times, is that taking a break will negatively impact our performance in the algorithm or that we’ll become irrelevant if we step away,” she said. “I’ve discovered that this worry is unwarranted.”
Instead, Pallian said that taking a break for a week or longer can benefit your mental health and even help your content. She said you can return with fresh and rejuvenating content if you take time off from content creation.
“Remember, social media platforms want engaging content. If you’re burnt out, your content might suffer. So taking care of your well-being can boost your performance in the long run,” said Pallian.
Plus, Pallian discovered that, in her experience, posting less frequently led to higher engagement. She often waits 2-3 days before posting in-feed posts and sees better results.
In the middle of May, I listened to Pallian’s advice and took a week off from posting. During that time, I could clear my head and fight off a lot of creator burnout. When I posted my first Instagram story after a week off the platform, I noticed I received 30-50% more views that day than usual.
2) Create a content calendar in advance
I noticed that one of the reasons I was experiencing creator burnout last month was that I was planning content daily. It became overwhelming to wake up in the morning and rush to create last-minute content for that day.
Chloe Sasha, an OnlyFans creator, told me to try a different approach. When I shared some of my struggles with creator burnout and finding time to create, she suggested I make a content schedule.
“Planning your content can help create a clear roadmap and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by last-minute decisions,” she said.
Sasha told me that doing this would help me stay organized and maintain a consistent posting schedule.
At the end of May, I decided to do this for June. I looked at the calendar, selected three days a week, and wrote down what type of content I wanted to create on that day. Then I spent a day filming and shooting photos for all of those ideas. I spent another day editing and writing captions. Now that June is here, I have my content in a folder ready to be posted on those days. This approach makes me feel less stressed, anxious, and exhausted.
3) Strike while the energy is high
One big thing that led to my creator burnout was that I found myself working 10-hour days. When I did an audit of how I spent each hour of the day, I realized I was only productive for 3-4 hours and spent the rest of my time procrastinating.
Malvika Sheth, a fashion and beauty content creator, suggested leaning into the moments of the day when my creative energy is high.
“That’s the best time to batch a bunch of creative ideas and execute on them, even if that means rolling them out slowly or saving some for later,” she said.
I listened to Sheth’s advice and noticed I was the most creative daily from 9 am-11 am and 3-5 pm. Accordingly, I dedicated those hours to creating content and spent the rest of the day doing tasks that required less creativity. I felt less creator burnout and more happiness at the end of each day.
4) Delegate and let other people help
I work full-time as a content creator but don’t have a team behind me. I do all of the work myself. Kahlil Dumas, a podcast host, can relate. When he started, he felt he worked in 19 different roles, from marketing to product creation, networking, and more.
He enlisted help through service agreements with independent contractors to alleviate this burden and avoid creator burnout.
“While I couldn’t afford to hire them full-time, the 10-15 hours per week they spent on video editing and PR coordination freed up my schedule significantly,” he said.
I decided to set a $250 budget and hire a virtual assistant and video editor to help out a few hours a week. Doing that helped me clear my schedule and focus more on the parts of the job I love (interacting with my audience and brainstorming ideas).
5) Make Motivation Your Best Friend
Jen Gottlieb, an influencer, shared that one of the best ways to avoid creator burnout is to stay true to your purpose.
“Remember why you’re working hard and what you hope to achieve. Aligning your actions with a meaningful purpose can be a powerful antidote to burnout,” she said.
Gottlieb suggested I write down my biggest motivators on notes and stick them on my computer. That way, when burnout started escalating, those notes could remind me why I was working so hard.
I tried this out, and seeing those notes did give me a spark of energy. Sometimes, seeing my purpose written down didn’t make me want to work harder at the moment, but it guided me to want to take a break.
Avoiding burnout seems like a combination of awareness, preparation, and giving in to urges to slow down and take a break. I know I’ll face burnout as a creator again, but I hope to cycle through these suggestions to help me climb out of the moment I’m in a funk.