We’ve all been there, you’re excited about a new venture, you invest in some gear, a couple of classes to get started, and after a few weeks, you become tired of putting in so much effort to see very little output. Burn out happens to all of us; it’s especially prevalent here in the voice over community. I’ve seen so many aspiring actors and artists quit or take a several month hiatus and lose so much momentum. So how can you protect yourself from getting burned out?
Remember the Sabbath
For those who are not familiar with the term, it is derived from the Hebrew verb “Shabbat”, meaning “rest from labor”. It was the day the people of Israel would rest (the 7th day of the week). In fact, it was the 3rd commandment God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 31:14). It was important to God for his people to have a day of rest. He Himself rested on the 7th day (Genesis 2:2). The point is that it is important to give your self a break! For about 3 years I would either be at work, school or sometimes both every day of the week. Occasionally I would have a day off, but they were rare and far in between. This past year I decided to make Sunday my Sabbath, and It has been so rejuvenating! I chose Sunday as there is no school and I was able to ask for it off, but you can make yours any day of the week! One of my friends takes his on Wednesday, another on Tuesday. Make sure to set aside a day where you can rest, sleep in, perhaps read a book, go for a walk, just give yourself time to rest, and to recover.
Preventing Stimulus Overload
We truly live in the digital age. We can listen to a podcast on our daily commute, check the news or social media in our breaks at work (or when in the loo), we can watch documentaries or binge our favorite shows when at home, and listen to our favorite soundtrack when walking between classes or during our lunch break. Now, it’s great that we have access to so much information, but being able to process it at this scale is a different story. The mind is a fascinating organ, the ability to process so much sensory data, information collection, and retrieval in unrivaled. The mind truly is the most powerful computer ever designed! But it does have limits. Can you recall what happened in the last few episodes of your show you binged on Netflix last night? How about the thesis of the article you read this morning? We process so much information that we cannot recall all the information we were trying to learn or appreciate simply because of the massive quantity of information that we attempt to process. Processing this information is an active operation for the brain, one that can be draining, especially when done in rapid succession and or in large quantities. So put your phone on silent, go for a walk, take a nap. When was the last time you stood outside to simply be there and appreciate the warm sunlight upon your skin or the cool air breezing by you as it is filled with the chirping and singing of birds? Give your mind breaks from the constant digital stimulus and appreciate time off from the virtual reality.
“There is so much you want to learn but so little time to learn it all.”
Look at I get it, I’m currently studying graphic design at school while also pursuing voice acting, music composing, and photography (I actually took the picture for this month’s blog post cover). With the rise of digital and computer technology, the barrier to entry into many markets and industries have never been lower. That compiled with complete access to so much information (many of it cheap or free) via the internet has set up the infrastructure for anyone to learn anything they want. Which is incredible! The issue though is that complete and open access to information can be intoxicating, and we just can’t get enough of it. Make sure to pace your self. Maybe only spend an hour, or possibly 30 minutes a day to focus on learning the information. Not only will it help prevent burn out, but it will also give you time to process and absorb the information you are trying to learn. And if there are multiple skills you want to develop, break up the days in which you learn them. Try setting up a schedule. As an example, here is my current skill development schedule that I cam using.
- Monday: Music Composing (15-60 minutes)
- Wednesday: Graphic Design (15-60 minutes)
- Friday: Photography (15-60 minutes)
Remember it’s okay to take things slow, and it’s okay if you don’t learn as quickly as others. Learn, develop, and grow at your own pace. Give yourself time to rest and recover. And remember that slow and steady wins the race.