Ep.07: Burnout and Balance, Part 1

Burnout turned out to be such a huge topic that we had to break it into two parts! This podcast is focused on what burnout is and is not, how we recognize it, and how it affects our lives.

Gina is back from a social media “diet” and self-styled retreat she gifted herself in July, and talks with Melody about how this fits into the “summer” modality of the Five Seasons of Writing (based on Melody’s book about five element theory, Soul of the Seasons). Meanwhile KimBoo grapples with not being able to write, and how that can lead to shame and frustration.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and are having trouble connecting with your creativity, we invite you to listen to this episode! We go deep but laugh at our own follies and hopefully can make you feel less alone!

Resources:

Sketchbook Skool: How to Start an Illustrated Journal

Music used in episodes of Around the Writer’s Table is kindly provided by Langtry!

We want to hear from you!

Please submit a comment or a question for Gina, Melody, and KimBoo to talk about in one of our upcoming episodes! 

We appreciate the viewpoints of our listeners and look forward to seeing what you have to say. 

Contact the Writer's Table Collective!

Ep.07: Burnout and Balance, Part 1 – TRANSCRIPT

Dave Hogan (Gina’s Pop!)
0:02
Welcome to Around the Writer’s Table, a podcast focusing on the crossroads of creativity, craft, and conscious living for writers of all ages and backgrounds. Your hosts are Gina, Melody, and KimBoo, three close friends and women of a certain age, who bring to the table their eclectic backgrounds and unique perspectives on the trials, tribulations, and the joys of writing. So pull up a chair and get comfortable here around the writer’s table.

KimBoo York
0:43
Welcome back to Around the Writer’s Table. And we’re so glad that you’re here to join us today for this particular episode. If you’re a regular listener, you know the topic, or maybe if you just read the title, that we’re gonna be talking about burnout in this episode. This is one that’s really topical. It’s something that I think not just Gina and Melody and I have heard a lot of people talking about, we are experiencing ourselves. Maybe it’s just the vibe of 2022, I don’t know, but it’s going around. And it’s really an important issue for creatives, particularly, because it’s one of those things… we’re gonna go into this in detail, but it’s one of those things where sometimes you just can’t power through these things. Sometimes you gotta use little tricks and wily ways. So we’re going to talk about what is burnout, how it affects you as a creative and solutions, possible solutions, things you can try. 

I, of course, am KimBoo York. I am both The Author Alchemist and The Task Mistress. I’m like a superhero; I have many identities. I’m actually a romance novelist and former project manager who helps writers and solopreneurs find time, mojo, and motivation to create. So those are some big issues that I like to help people with. 

My other co-host, I have Gina Hogan Edwards, author and editor and documentation writer, she’s been through a lot of things. She currently hosts both the Women Writing for CHANGE Facebook group and she’s a WomanSpeak Circle leader, which I’m sure she’ll get to talking about in a little bit. She is passionate about supporting women in finding their voices on the page and from the stage. So she’s got a lot going on.

Gina Hogan Edwards
2:24
Hello, everybody. I love your idea of like, yeah, we’re superheroes. We do a lot of different things.

KimBoo
2:31
We do, we do. And in that vein, we’ve got Melody, A Scout, who also wears many different heroic capes, landscape designer, plant spirit medicine healer, author. She does a lot. And so she helps her clients find their sense of home, by restoring balance and harmony to their lives through plant spirit medicine and her book Soul of the Seasons, which is a major part of our podcast as a whole. And in a second, we’re going to have Melody talk a little bit about that and give you guys some background on what Soul of the Seasons is and the aspects in the paradigm that we – I’m not explaining it well. She’s going to explain it a lot better than I have. And then we’ll turn the topic over to talking about burnout. So Melody, do you want to give our listeners a little bit of background on the five seasons, as we’re using it here as a paradigm for helping creators with their creative life?

Melody, A Scout
3:33
Sure, KimBoo. Thanks a lot. And I got really excited about the five seasons that I talked about in my book. They’re based on five element medicine, which is a component of Chinese medicine, and it is a dynamic, subtle, yet powerful way of creating balance and harmony through each of the seasons of the year. And the seasons apply to everything that goes on with life. And specifically as we’re talking about here, we’re talking about the five seasons of the writing process. 

So for instance, in Winter, it’s where our little seeds germinate, story ideas, ideas for novels, exciting things we want to do. They sit and they germinate for a while. 

In Spring, those seeds sprout into stories and outlines, and visions of that whole story comes into view. So there’s like this mad scramble, lots of writing, wonderful first drafts that come out during the season of Spring.

And Summer, which we’ve been talking about in our last episode, and how burnout is a component of Summer. We’re talking about the Summer is where you get in for the long haul. You’re overviewing, you’ve taken your first and second, third drafts, and you’re pulling things apart, and you’re organizing and making sure things fit together and work smoothly. It’s a maturation part of our process. 

And in Harvest, which follows Summer, this is the time where we have our completed manuscript or completed first drafts. We can revel in the hard work we’ve done. We have something to show for our accomplishments, and gratitude for all our hard work. 

During Fall, that’s the season of letting go. This is where we put our editor hat on or hire a literal editor – thank you, Gina – to come in and cleave away those things that do not serve our stories and do not serve our visions. This is the hard work of letting go of some of our precious stories that we love, but making our work streamlined and to the point. 

And then we transition again back into Winter. If you want to know more about it, we go into more detail; there’ll be links on our website for the podcast.

Gina
6:16
Yeah. And I think you said you were going to put a summary, that we’re going to have a summary sheet about this.

Melody
6:23
Yes, we have a list, a summary sheet. For all five seasons, there’ll be an overview. And for each particular one, if you click on that podcast [episode] link to that, we have the qualities and the notes, and exercises for each of the seasons to help you stay in the season and make the most out of that particular part of your writing process. 

So now we’re still in Summer. We’re going to talk about burnout, which is a big deal. I can’t tell you how many people – writers and not – are struggling with this right now, not only just in their writing process, but in their personal lives. Mm hmm.

KimBoo
7:13
Yeah, it’s a big one right now.

Gina
7:14
It seems like so many people that I’m talking to, like you said, not just writers, and not just in their writing, in their writing activities, but in life in general. So I’m excited about this topic, because this has been something that I have really struggled with over the course of this Summer. 

For the listeners’ reference, we’re recording this near the beginning of August, and in the month of July, I sorta did a step-back because of feelings of burnout. You know, like most of us, I was not able to completely pull away from all of my duties and responsibilities, but severely cut back on them to sort of do a creative reset to get me, hopefully, beyond a stage of burnout. 

So I wonder, for each of you, I’d love to know how does burnout manifest for each one of you all? What does it feel like to you? What does it look like for each one of you? KimBoo, want to go first?

KimBoo
8:26
Yeah, you know, it’s interesting for me because burnout is very personal. It’s like any other kind of emotional situation you go through. Even though there are some universal aspects for me, particularly. I describe it to others as drifting or listing in the Sargasso Sea, which the Sargasso Sea, if any of you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a patch in the Atlantic, which is basically a massive seaweed patch, Sargasso. And boats that try to go through, they’re basically fighting their way through this seaweed blockage. And it’s something to avoid at all costs. But sometimes you’re just going to end up there because of the winds and the tide. And I feel that that really reflects how it is for me, because I can’t really say that I know exactly what causes burnout in the sense of like, there’s one particular trigger. 

So usually, for me, burnout is a cluster of things, or is the result of a cluster of things, which can be trauma, stress, anxiety. I do suffer from clinical anxiety. So that’s something I generally have to fight, beat back with a stick, I think, as my papa would say. That’s a tough one. But when I get into burnout, it’s not simply that I don’t care, which is more of a depression type of thing. Burnout is like you’re trying to get somewhere. You’re trying to sail through the Sargasso. You’re really trying. But you’re just not getting anywhere. And you just don’t have the energy and it’s just too hot. You know, it’s just too, you just, you’re just exhausted. 

And so as hard as you try to set the sails or row, or whatever you’re doing, you’re just being pulled back all the time, a constant sense of being pulled back and trapped. So maybe I carried the metaphor a little too far.

Gina
No, no, I don’t think so. 

KimBoo
It really does capture how I feel when I’m describing or talking about burnout to people. And, you know, I’m not gonna say it’s cyclical, but certainly, burnout is not a one-and-done thing. Burnout, for me, is something that raises its ugly head on a regular basis. Maybe I don’t experience it for a year or two, but then it’ll come back. And I just have to, I’m still learning how to challenge that situation myself. Yeah.

Gina
10:57
Great. Great. How about you, Melody?

Melody
11:00
Well, you put it perfectly, KimBoo, in talking about being in the Sargasso Sea. And I sometimes refer to it as trying to wade through potato salad. You know, like, you wanna move. Progress is not going so good. And you are also correct in that it’s a complex situation, and often starts long before we notice it and come to the end of where we’re able to cope with those very things that we really want to do. I mean, they call it burning the candle at both ends for a reason. And it shows up for me as a lack of passion for things that I love and want to do. And not only the passion, but the energy and the brain capacity to do it. I find it difficult to focus. Normally, I can do complex tasks. I am a high-functioning person, so I can go a long time into burnout or am overwhelmed before I come to a stop and say, Oops, it’s time to deal with this. So when it gets severe, I have a low tolerance for disruption. I can even have over-sensitivity to light and sound and weather changes. And people talking. Just the least little thing can annoy me. So it is complex. And it’s good to recognize the signs early. So we can… 

Gina
Yeah, not very good at that. 

Melody
Yeah, right.

KimBoo
13:04
I was thinking the same thing, Gina. You mentioned that you took July off because you were dealing with burnout. What were the signs? I mean, what led you to that decision? 

Gina
Well, I can relate to what Melody was saying about the brain fog, but what comes for me before the brain fog…Well, let me back up. So, to me, burnout is the exhaustion that I feel after I have been completely overwhelmed by whatever, by all the things. And it starts to manifest in my body as – I’ve tried to describe this before. It’s a vibration. It’s definitely energy that feels like it’s, my body constantly feels like it’s vibrating 24/7. I don’t know any other way to explain it than that. And then the brain fog sets in and I get sidetracked easily. I can’t focus. I just get into this sort of muddled mess sort of feeling. I love the Sargasso Sea analogy too. I can really relate to that sort of slogging through the thickness, the potato salad, if you will. Both of those are great, great descriptions of how I feel, but along with that sort of vibration that I described. 

And I know that it’s hard for any of us to pinpoint what is the cause, what is the trigger, what sets us into burnout, because I do think that it is an accumulation of things. But one of the main contributing factors, even when we’re doing – I’ll speak for myself – even when I am doing all the things that I love, even when everything that I’m doing is related to my passion and my purpose and my why, when I forget self care, when I am taking care of all the other things and not myself, when I leave out that piece, I know that burnout is right around the corner. But I forget that and so I get into the burnout. And then it’s like, Duh, what are you doing? What are you doing?

KimBoo
15:28
I just want to say real quick-like, I think, too, that it’s easy for us to get in that hamster wheel because the society we live in is so focused on productivity and doing more and hustling and stuff like that. So I think it makes sense. Like, sometimes we just like, No, I just need to keep going. I don’t have time to meditate. I don’t have time to do yoga. I don’t have time to go do my exercises. It’s a harsh feedback loop.

Gina
15:54
Yeah, I don’t have time to do other creative things that fill me up instead of deplete me. So when I say self care, there are those things that are on the surface, like exercising, eating right, and those kinds of things. But also, just the little everyday things that bring us joy that we don’t make time for when we are trying to be productive, trying to contribute in whatever way we feel like we’re called to contribute. I’m interested to hear from each of you how burnout, when you get to that point, affects your writing process. Again, KimBoo, would you like to go first?

[laughing]

KimBoo
16:47
What writing process? What? For me, basically burnout, I guess burnout and depression, do you have some similarities in that a lot of things just stop. For me, my creativity, just, I get so frustrated in that Sargasso Sea, continuing that idea that, man, writing becomes such a chore. It really loses its joy for me. And that’s tragic.

Gina
17:09
And that’s so sad. Yeah, it’s tragic. It is tragic. It’s tragic for you personally. And it’s tragic for those of us who are readers who don’t get to experience your writing when you’re not writing. So avoid burnout. So, Melody, how does burnout affect your writing process?

Melody
17:33
Well, I noticed that I get easily overwhelmed. Where in the beginning, so I’m in that Spring phase, and I’m getting all excited about the storyline and my characters, and it’s all blooming and blossoming and growing by leaps and bounds, I’m excited where it is, and where it can go. I lose all of that. And instead, when I think about all those things, I get very tired, and I have to go take a three-hour nap. That’s good for the productivity. 

So I get easily overwhelmed. Sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees, because I’m looking at all the things, all the things that need to be done. And again, my go-to is go take a nap when I see all the things. It often leads to some brain fog for me and confusion and chaos ensues where I start one thing, but I don’t finish it. And then I go back and I start another thing and I don’t finish it. So yeah, that basic lack of passion for my writing shows itself, and just creativity in general.

Gina
18:54
Yeah, so I recognize everything that you both are describing in terms of my own effects on my writing process. I can’t focus on things like character and plot and really getting into my story, no matter how passionate I may have been about it in the past. I do find that I make the shift when I’m in burnout, from my creative writing back to my journaling. And I think that’s because the journaling is always sort of an anchor for me whenever I am in sort of an overwhelm or even when I’m seemingly doing well. You know, things are moving along but I’ve got a lot of pieces parts, you know, a lot of things to fit together. The journaling always kind of helps me untangle the mess in my brain. And so a lot of times when I’m feeling like I’m headed toward that burnout, if I lean on my journal and am honest with myself. When I put words down on the page about what’s going on in my head and my heart, then that will often help me get to whatever might have been that trigger that particular time and headed me toward the burnout, so that I can then do something about it. Do either of you journal?

KimBoo
20:22
Good suggestion. I hadn’t considered journaling. But now that that’s on the plate, I think I might put that there in the future when I’m looking at burnout, because, I don’t know, it just sounds like something that… I like the way that it kind of flips things from trying to be creative to just kind of relaxing into your own self and your own being, and finding the words there. That makes sense.

Gina
20:52
Yeah. And during that July creative reset that I did, one of the things that I did, and KimBoo, you pointed me to this fellow, I started doing sketchbook journaling. I’ve always done just writing, just words, just the words. But there’s this one particular video from Sketchbook Skool, and we’ll put a link to this in the show notes, that inspired me not only to use words, but to doodle and to draw in my journal. And it was interesting what came up for me. Some of the drawings were just what I saw across the room at the moment and were just giving me a moment of relaxation, disconnection that I needed. Sometimes it was actually doodling a little drawing of something that happened that day, or an element that was part of my day. So I can go back now and look at some of those days and go, Oh, yeah, that happened that day. And on that day this happened

So that’s been a lot of fun for me to do, too. And it creates a creative crossover, which we’ve mentioned before: when you’re a creative person and you have a particular discipline that you’re working in, that sometimes it’s a good idea to cross over and do something different. So the writing and the drawing together for me seems to work real well when I get to this burnout stage and need some sort of other creative outlet. 

So what about you, Melody? Is there anything in particular that you do? Or do you journal or do something else when you’ve hit that burnout stage? Besides nap?

Melody
22:33
I have about a high pain threshold, so sadly – I’m getting better at – but often I get to the crash face, which is never pretty and I need rest. I need to take a complete break from things. I may need to do a media fast like Gina did last month, which allows my brain to reset, to stop overwhelming myself with information and more and more information. I try to pace myself. I go out in nature. I do things that don’t require a lot from me personally. 

And so in other words, be in a state of receiving. I can engage with my friends which is always helpful and restorative, and we talk. Interestingly enough, I can talk about my work and I can talk about my ideas and story lines versus doing the work on the keyboard with them. But that also helps me get my creative juices flowing again and bring back some of my excitement. 

So that self care is so important. And if we think that when I get to the crash phase and I can look back over and say, Oh yeah, oh, I completed a book and got it into  print that took me nine years and then I went from there to a road trip up to the east coast and back, the North Atlantic states and and then I after that, I came back and I started a new job and after that we went into pandemic for two and a half years.

Gina
24:32
You left out that you moved twice.

Melody
24:35
Yeah, moved twice. Exactly. And took on another new job and that required a lot of mental and emotional bandwidth. So yeah, of course, I’m experiencing burnout and when I get tired, my go-to is – when I feel overwhelmed or I see so much to do – my thinking is I need to work harder, I need to do more, instead of doing less and giving myself that space, and I always forget that my productivity goes down the more I push myself and try to do more. When I give myself the time and the breaks I need, productivity and creativity goes way up.

Gina
25:25
I do think that it’s interesting that we forget. And you used the word forget, Melody. It’s like, This is not the first time I’ve been burned out. So am I not paying attention? What? How? How is it that I can get into that spin? Again? Why do we forget? So I’m sorry, KimBoo, I interrupted you, what were you gonna say?

KimBoo
25:47
Oh, no, I was just gonna comment on what Melody was saying, what you were saying about rest makes you more productive. That’s scientifically proven. There’s no, that’s not just, Oh, I feel like that. That’s an actual fact. And they’ve studied that. Especially meditation studies. People who meditate for five minutes and between doing complex tests, do better on the second task than people who keep working all the way through, go from one task right to the other, or just take a break and don’t do meditation. It’s vitally important. 

And I’m really struck, Gina, by your comment of Why do we forget? Because as the intro says, We are ladies of a certain age. We’re not fresh off the boat, as they might say. We’ve been through these things in life. We know the signs. We know how it affects us. And yet, there’s this thing where you go through a bad situation, be it burnout or depression, and then you just kind of forget what it was like, until it comes around again. And then you’re like, Oh, hey, what? I’m so surprised. Like, why do we forget? I don’t understand that at all.

Gina
27:09
And we have these experiences, we have this intellectual knowledge of scientific studies. And yet, and yet, it still comes around again. And so that means we need tools to deal with this. We need to know how to manage it, we need to know what it looks like, and we need to know how we can prevent it. 

So that is leading us into our discussion with Melody about the Summer balances and imbalances. So, Melody, I’m gonna pass it off to you to share with us what you have also shared in your book Soul of the Seasons, about the season of Summer, and how we can deal with burnout.

Melody
27:53
Well, the season this Summer, as I mentioned earlier, is this season of high productivity. There’s a lot of things going on. And when we’re healthy and balanced, we’re able to oversee and complete all our projects – the ones we prioritized, with efficiency. And we also are able to manage our time and our energies wisely. We delegate well to others and allow people to do their jobs well. And this is the season when we bring all our visions we saw in Spring into fruition. During this time, we mentioned this earlier, there’s genuine warmth with laughter and play and storytelling and great sex. That’s a whole podcast. And also during this time, we have this ability to separate what’s needed from what’s not needed efficiently. 

When we get imbalanced, of course, we lose this ability to oversee and bring our projects into fruition. And, we talked about earlier, we have a lack of or inappropriate expression of joy. We may crawl into sadness and be very somber or we may laugh at all sorts of things, whether it’s warranted or not. We may feel loneliness and/or a fear of being alone, which is a true concern with writers because our journey is a very solitary one. No one can write our work but us and that can lead to some sadness as well. We may, in our imbalance, we may need to control everything, and we’d start micromanaging and hand stuff off to beta readers or editors and then take it back and say – or tell them how they need to do their job. Or even that expands out into our daily life where we don’t allow people to handle their portion of responsibility. And our thoughts and actions can become chaotic. And we feel like we have this lack of authority over our own work, that we don’t have control over how we want to proceed or make things happen. We don’t see ourselves as part of that, the center of that. 

I will post a list on this. This should be on our web page, connected with the Summer, too. Because in this way, I can see when I’m getting into burnout, if some of those imbalances are showing up in my life. If any of them start raising their little heads, that’s my signal I need to take a step back and do some self care. And the best antidote to these imbalances is living a passionate, juicy life filled with lots of joy and laughter and great sex and fun. 

One more thing I wanted to add is the crux of also recognizing burnout. And when we go to any imbalance, and we dig ourselves in deep and have to crawl out again, is when we stop paying attention to our bodies. We disconnect from our bodies and from our intellectual, emotional, psychic selves. So we have created distance from that. That’s how we forget.

Gina
31:53
So one of the things that you said, Melody, that really resonated with me when you were talking about the imbalances, and that Summer is looking at what’s needed and what’s not needed. And I know that for me, that was something I was really drawn to focus on when I did my creative reset. Because as we’ve talked about before, creatives have a lot of ideas. And our tendency is to want to do all of those ideas. They’re our babies. We want to be able to dive in with enthusiasm and execute on all of them. And we can do all of them. We just can’t do all of them at the same time. And we tend to try to do that, or at least I do. 

And so I really had to be a little bit brutal with myself this past month, and I’m still kind of in process of this, taking a close look at: what am I doing? Why am I doing it? Is this something that I need right now? Or is this something that I can let go of? Is this something that I can let go of now, but come back to later at another time? 

But really, when you said, What’s needed and what’s not needed, I wrote that down in that moment, because that really resonated with me.

KimBoo
33:25
What really resonated with me, I’m kind of jumping off of that, was – and I think there’s a relation between what resonated with you, Gina, and what resonated with me – was the idea of feeling out of control of the things that you’re invested in, that you’re working on, are just overwhelming because you’re not in control of them. The imbalances that things are spinning, and nothing is spinning on task or whatever you want to describe it. And to me, that’s a strong indicator of burnout for me, because I just feel like everything’s going in all sorts of different directions. And I can’t. You know, like tossing a lasso and trying to catch a wild horse. It’s just going off. And I’m just standing there with my hand held out. Wait, wait, come back. But it does, because the reason for that is, I think, comes back to what resonated with you, which was what to keep and what to let go. If you’re trying to corral everything, then it’s kind of like if you have sand through your fingers; the tighter you hold, the more sand will go through. And so it’s interesting how those imbalances… it’s not just one imbalance. I think they’re all related, which is something you say all the time, Melody. I know that’s not exactly shocking news. But it does strike me as you were going over those things. Those were the those that kind of stuck with me.

Melody
34:53
Absolutely. Separating what’s needed from what’s not is a really important function. It’s an important function in the body. And it’s important to us, mentally and emotionally and spiritually. It gets really exciting in Spring and the beginning of Summer and all this fun stuff, ideas start popping, because I don’t know about you all, but when I get into a story idea, a bunch of other story ideas spin off from it. And not only that, ideas about other projects, and the creativity is high, and I get really excited. It’s like standing at a smorgasbord and trying to put all of it on your plate the first time through.

Gina
35:41
Or all of it in your mouth at once.

Melody
35:50
I got a little room. I could put that meatball in there. Biting off more than you can chew comes to mind in that.

KimBoo
36:02
I’ve no idea what that feels like. 

Melody
36:05
Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, that’s a really huge thing that you did, Gina, was sort through that and take an honest look. I feel into a really difficult time; oh, gosh, this was probably 20, 30 years ago, where I couldn’t physically, health-wise, I couldn’t physically do even some of the very basic things I normally did. So I really had to say, What is it that I can manage today, at this time? and scaling that back. 

Gina, you helped me with this also during one of the revision phases, because it seemed overwhelming, especially after I had done like 12,978 previous revisions, and you gave me a list of like, you know, I think I told you some bad words about that. But you gave me some great advice and said, Don’t go over the whole thing. Go in, get it done, get out. Focus on what’s important, right there, what’s necessary, and leave the rest. So that was really helpful.

Gina
37:28
Thank you for that reminder. Focusing on what’s important and what’s necessary in the moment. And when I said that this, you know, what’s needed and what’s not needed resonated with me, I realize in listening to the two of you that I was thinking of it in terms of the things that I do: what do I do that I need to do, or that I can do later, or that I could completely let go of. But it’s also more deeply, I think, about what we really need, in terms of nurturing ourselves in terms of recognizing the things that we can either do, or ways that we can be that fill us up in a way that we can then do the things that we feel like we need to do? Does that make any sense?

KimBoo
38:28
I think it does. Because, yeah, what I’m thinking of is that a lot of times we define ourselves as who we are by what we do, and I think that is the reminder that what we do isn’t who we are, and we need to remember that who we are informs what we do, and what we do informs who we are. But those things are constructs really, that we create, through circumstances and history and all that sort of stuff. But we are who we are as a creative creature, going through the creative process. And just because we don’t do this thing, or do this other thing doesn’t define us completely. Just something I really get caught up in. Like, if I’m going to be this type of person, then I need to do this kind of thing. And that’s just not true.

Gina
39:25
So what that makes me think about is something that you all know I’ve struggled with – perfectionism – because one of the signs of perfectionism, and I’m wondering now what the relationship between perfectionism and burnout might be,, because one of the things that perfectionists tend to do is ‘should’ themselves. It’s like I should do this, I should do that. And there’s also a tendency toward comparisonitis. So those are characteristics of perfectionism. But I’m wondering how those sorts of things may get layered in and interwoven into the other things that lead us toward burnout and contribute to that. Either of you have a perspective on that?

Melody
40:15
Wow, that’s really hitting the nail on the head, because I was thinking as you were talking about it as well. It’s the self-created stressors, by all the ‘shoulds’ that I place on myself: I should be doing this better, I should be doing more, I should have completed this by now. That just piles on and creates sort of this energetic weight, if you will, to my load that already feels bigger than I can handle. When I had that difficult period before, I really had to pare down. What is essential for my health and well-being for today? And you know, when you really do that, there are surprisingly few things that are absolutely essential to have to get done at any particular time. There’s a lot of things we think we need to have get done. But very few things are true emergencies. absolutely have to get.

Gina
41:23
So you talked about that piling on of the ‘shoulds,’ that it just weighs you down. And so I’m wondering then, do you think that piling on of all those ‘shoulds’ contributes to that sense of a lack of control, which is then the sign of Summer imbalance?

Melody
41:47
Absolutely. It’s just like a vicious cycle. And the more that I do the ‘shoulds,’ the more that I feel overwhelmed, the less that I do, the less I’m able to do, the less I’m able to take on. So yeah, it’s a cycle. To me, putting self-care on my calendar as a regular routine – don’t always have strict adherence to it, but when I put it on my calendar, it reminds me to do that, prevents me from getting to the place of overwhelm, in the beginning. And really leading a more balanced life is going to prevent overwhelm and burnout in your writing process. I mean, if you do that in all areas of your life, it will show up as value in your writing, in the writing process.

Gina
42:46
Melody, can you highlight for us again, what does balanced Summer – we’ve talked about a lot about the imbalances – tell us, what does that balanced Summer look like? You’ve mentioned joy, which definitely resonates with me. So what else is there?

Melody
43:07
Well, there is the ability to oversee and complete projects efficiently. There is a sense of connectedness and community. That’s one thing we talked about on our last podcast. We have important regular communication with not only our friends but our community. We allow our community to support us. We share our visions with them. We do that through storytelling sometimes, and they in turn support us in our journey. Also community is where we can share laughter, play, fun, and joy. And we also see, like we mentioned before, separating the pure from the impure. What’s necessary from what’s not. And the ability to move through delegating things well. Not micromanaging, but overseeing things and allowing others to handle their own responsibilities.

Gina
44:21
So we have covered an immense amount of ground. In the moments that we had here together, they seem like moments. It’s actually been almost 45 minutes. There’s still so much for us to cover on this topic. Ladies, what do you think of maybe another future episode on burnout?

KimBoo
44:39
I think that would be great. I know Melody has a worksheet we’re gonna have with the episode, this episode. But I think it would be great for our listeners and for us if we could go over some of the strategies and talk about how to deal with and as, Melody I know, you’ve mentioned a couple of times, what does the recovery process look like. Yeah, that would be a great episode.

Gina
45:03
Yeah, I know, for myself, I’m particularly interested in making that bridge from… if I recognize that I’m in this imbalance and I know what balance looks like intellectually, Okay, how do I get from here to there? And so I think that’s a whole other episode, creating the right circumstances for us to develop that balance.

Melody
45:25
Yes. And how can we can prevent it in the future. Yes.

Gina
45:29
Yeah, I want to thank you, Melody for sharing this wisdom that you have, this perspective that you have, that we’re able to not only apply to our writing lives, but to apply to our lives as a whole, giving us these insights and awareness and resources for us to be able to create the lives that we want to have. So thank you for that. Very appreciative.

Melody
45:57
You’re welcome. Happy, happy people make happy writers.

Gina
46:02
Yes, yes, indeed. So that wraps it up for this episode, and we will see you the next time and ask you to comment. If you go to our website AroundTheWritersTable.com, there is an area for you to comment on our page. If you have any questions, if you have any ideas for future episodes, anything that you would like us to know, any feedback on our podcast, we would love to hear from listeners. So thank you all and we’ll see you next time.

KimBoo
46:32
Bye, y’all.

Dave
46:38
Thanks for joining us around the writer’s table. Please feel free to suggest a topic or a guest by emailing info@aroundthewriterstable.com. Music provided with gracious permission by Langtry. A link to their music is on our homepage at AroundTheWritersTable.com. Everyone here around the writer’s table wishes you joy in your writing and everyday grace in your living. Take care, until next time.

Copyright / Terms & Conditions

Around the Writer's Table and its co-hosts, Gina Hogan Edwards, Melody, A Scout, and Kimboo York own the copyright to all content and transcripts of the Around the Writer's Table podcast, with all rights reserved, including right of publicity. ​​You ​are welcome to share an excerpt from the episode transcript (up to 500 words) in media articles​, such as ​​The New York Times, ​Miami Herald, etc.; in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., ​​Medium); and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided you include proper attribution and link back to the podcast URL. No one is authorized to use the Around the Writer's Table logo, or any portion of the transcripts or other content in and of the podcast to promote themselves.

Share This