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Navigating Burnout in the World of Travel Content Creation

The featured image for a Travel Creators Club article titled Navigating Burnout in the World of Travel Content Creation. It displays warning signs with the worlds BURNOUT AHEAD.

Sometimes it just all gets to be too much. Often you don’t even realize what is happening till you wake up one morning with plenty of stress but zero motivation. You just feel burnt out. In our “Embarking on the Creative Odyssey” survey, the data showed that 63.64% of travel content creators have faced burnout, with 34.85% saying they have experienced it more than once. Clearly, this is something to take note of.


This is not something specific to the content creation industry either, with a lot of people experiencing symptoms and signs of burnout. Being a travel content creator is not a single task, but rather a combination of many bits from a bunch of different industries. Keeping track of all those different things, while being on the road a lot can have a deteriorating effect on your health. Add to that deadlines, monetary concerns, and all the other crazy things that come along while out and about, this business can quickly become overwhelming.

Today we will be looking at burnout in the travel content creation industry and see what can be done to remedy and avoid this debilitating state of mind.

What is Travel Content Creation Burnout?

You can’t ever really know what it is until you experience it, so we will start with a basic dictionary definition to get the ball rolling:

Burnout: A state of exhaustion caused by prolonged or repeated stress

We all know stress is bad and try to avoid it as much as possible, but in the process of life, stress is unavoidable. This rings true for both full and part-time travel content creators, even though they might have very different lives. Having a normal 9 to 5 office job while only doing travel content on the side can be just as stressful as being a perma-traveler and never setting foot in an office.

Stress piles up, and the more things you have to think about and give attention to, the quicker everything can spiral, leaving you feeling miserable, unmotivated, and just plain negative toward everyone and everything. If you get to that point, it’s time to take some serious stock of your life, because you might be burnt out.

Burnout vs. Depression

Just a quick word on the difference between spells of burnout and depression.

Burnouts can cause you to feel very depressed. The symptoms of someone suffering from burnout can be so similar to feelings of depression that you might misdiagnose your condition.

Burnout is something that comes about when the external world starts to overwhelm you and it feels like everything is just getting to be too much. While you are experiencing burnout, you might feel depressed, and it might even lead to a depressive episode, but depression does not cause burnout.

Depression on the other hand is a mental health condition and not something that everyone is prone to. If you are one of the estimated 5% of adults who suffer from depression globally, then experiencing a burnout can be a tough thing to deal with as the added external pressures cause you to feel even more depressed.

Why Does Burnout Happen?

If you take a minute to think about it, burnout may appear as the obvious outcome of a life filled with prolonged stresses and pressures; but, having a clear understanding of the specific triggers can help content creators address the underlying problems before they become too much to bear. Let’s define some of the many things that collaborate in pushing us to the burnout point:

Demanding Workloads: Travel content creators often juggle multiple roles. They are not just bloggers, videographers, podcast hosts, photographers, and all-around producers of creativity; they are also editors, SEO experts, marketers, media managers, and a whole host of other things. This is where the boat can start to rock because balancing all these responsibilities can be a very big load to try and balance, while still living your normal life (and dealing with all the travel things if abroad).

Deadlines: This one can be especially stressful for those who live a nomadic lifestyle. Whether it’s delivering articles, editing photos, or just trying to keep up with managing content calendars, the pressure that comes with managing to meet time-sensitive demands can quickly lead to you feeling overwhelmed.

Monetary Concerns: Remember that survey that gave us the data on burnouts for travel influencers and creators? Well, the data also pointed to another issue in this industry, namely income. Travel content creators tend to earn far below what the efforts they are putting in deserve, with financial success often being irregular, making it challenging to manage the finances.

Constant Travel: Frequent travel can be so much fun, but also extremely draining. There is nothing worse than having to sit on a train in India for 8 hours, then trying to find your hostel while everyone and their mother tries to sell you stuff, everything is loud and dirty, and by the time you finally get to put your stuff down in the dorm you booked, you realize that you need to finish a 2,200-word article to meat your next day deadline, because you need to catch another train in the morning.

Even if you are traveling from place to place every two or three days, it can play havoc on your overall productivity.

Pressure to Stay Creative: Creativity is something that is not easy to understand fully. Sometimes you feel more creative than at other times. As a content creator, you need to be ever in touch with the creative juices, but that is often easier said than done. Today you have to go beyond just regular old creativity because there are things called “trends” that need to be kept in tune with if you want to see success.

Handling Social Media: This can be a whole extra level added to your plate, as it can pay off to keep several social media accounts maintained. This can see time going to social interaction as well as just the added shlep of uploading content to yet another platform.

Understanding how all these things can affect your overall stress levels is crucial in addressing the issue effectively. Now that you know that we have some idea of the causes, let’s examine some signals that we might be hitting burnout levels.

How to Spot the Signs of Burnout

Many companies are now starting to realize the very real risk of over-strain in their staff and things like burnout prevention programs and reintegration programs are starting to pop up in corporate structures, but this does little to alleviate the plight of the lowly travel creator.

Recognizing the early signs of burnout is essential for travel content creators to take action and adjust their way of life to address the issue before it becomes overwhelming. Burnout is a master of disguise and can manifest in various ways, so make sure you take note of some possible signs.

Please note, this is not medical advice. Your best bet is always to speak to a qualified medical professional, but being aware of these symptoms might help to warn you that it is time you speak with someone.

Here are some things to look out for:

Physical and Emotional Exhaustion: Having this overwhelming sense of physical and emotional fatigue, like you are just drained for no reason, is a potential red flag. This might manifest as a physical and mental drain, which is there even after a good night’s sleep.

Reduced Performance: If you start to notice that your work is beginning to dwindle in quality or perhaps your productivity is decreased, and you might struggle to meet deadlines or maintain the same level of creativity that you are used to; well, this might be a wake-up call that not all is as it should be and some action is required.

Isolation: This is one of the scariest things because if you are in the midst of burnout it can leave you with a desire to withdraw from social interactions. The best thing to do during such times is to talk to people, but you might find yourself avoiding friends or family members and preferring solitude over any human interaction.

Increased Negativity: If you feel bad on the inside, that sentiment will flow into the real world. A pessimistic outlook, heightened irritability, and mood swings are all fairly common signs of burnout. If it feels like you have no joy and motivation to try and see the good side of anything, then you are definitely suffering from some symptoms associated with burnout.

Cognitive Challenges: If you are feeling the effects of burnout, it can often screw with your cognitive abilities in ways that will leave your mind in a mist. If you have been noticing memory problems, trouble concentrating, lack of creativity, reduced problem-solving ability, and so on, there is a good chance that your body is telling you that something isn’t going the way it is supposed to.

Physical Symptoms: While you might think of burnout as a mental thing, it’s not uncommon for physical symptoms to also appear in periods of burnout. Back pain, headaches, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, and a weakened immune system lead to you getting sick. If the stress levels get too high it can also have a very negative effect on your blood pressure and you might even experience heart permutations. If any of these symptoms start to appear, make a B-line for the nearest healthcare professional.

Loss of Passion: If you start to lose interest in activities that once excited you, then there is definitely something amiss. This includes the creative aspects of your work. A loss of passion can lead to a loss of motivation, and this can then contribute to the feeling of being burnt out.

Neglected Self-Care: People who suffer from burnout, whether they realize it or not, often tend to have a bit of a shaggy appearance about them. This stems from neglecting self-care routines like not exercising, leaving your hair uncut and uncombed, wearing dirty clothes, eating nonsense foods, and not making time for relaxing. People who find themselves in a distressed state often fall into a pattern of self-neglect, as a miserable feeling on the inside does not translate well to a healthy outside. This can be especially debilitating if you are out in some foreign land traveling and creating content, as it might even go unnoticed by you since the burnout is clouding your judgment.

Increased Absenteeism: This can manifest in both work and personal life, as someone going through a burnout will often separate themselves from others and choose to stay home rather than meet with friends or put off projects that should have been done due to a lack of motivation. This too could be a sign of burnout.

Procrastination: As with increased absenteeism, an increased tendency to procrastinate tasks or avoid responsibilities that you usually have no issues just getting done may indicate burnout. It could be due to feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work or simply or perhaps you just feel like the Muses have abandoned you with all the creativity drained from your world.

Communicating with Others

Recognizing these signs is the first step to getting out of the burn and back into your normal life. That being said, knowing is one thing, but it’s crucial to communicate your feelings with others. So often while we are traveling and not near our families and friends, it can be tough to find someone to open up to. This can cause you to feel even more detached and overwhelmed. Even just sharing your pains with another person can help to take some of the pressure off your shoulders.

Sharing your experiences with friends, family, or colleagues can provide emotional support and help you gain perspective on your situation. If you don’t have the willpower at that moment to seek out professional help while struggling to manage the symptoms of burnout, having someone to listen to can be a good start, and they might be able to give you the push needed to find the right kind of help.

Dealing with Travel Creation Burnout

No matter how terrible you might be feeling thanks to the challenging state of mind that the burnout has put you in, it’s not insurmountable. There are several effective strategies to help travel content creators navigate and overcome burnout. You should be aware that burnout is not just one thing that can be boxed and basta; but rather is a collection of feelings, thoughts, and emotions that differ from person to person and will require a different approach to dealing with burnout.

While we do recommend getting professional help and talking to close friends and family, here are a few things that can help you set your feet back on the right track before it all gets to be too much:

Acknowledge It: Most people know the old adage, “The first step to recovery is recognizing that you have a problem.” If you are having these symptoms, then there is a good chance you are heading for a complete burnout. Denying or ignoring the problem won’t make anything better, and in fact, might even exacerbate it. Acknowledging what might be happening and you can begin to address the issue head-on.

Take Breaks: This can be especially hard if your job and life are as intertwined as it is for many travel creators. You need to be able to set aside time for rest and relaxation, stepping away from your work, even if it’s just for a short break. It is easy to take a break and still have your mind mulling over all the things that you need to get done in the coming days, but that is not true rest. If you are struggling to separate your mind from your work, try engaging in activities you enjoy, whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, having a swim, playing a video game, or pursuing a hobby. Doing so can help you detach for a bit and recharge your mental and emotional batteries.

Prioritize Self-Care: Let’s say that you are feeling a bit burnt out. You have been traveling all day and now need to sit and get some work done. It has been in the back of your mind all the time that you were on the road and you even have some ideas written down. Before jumping straight into your work after arriving at your destination, why not have a cup of tea and a hot shower first? This will make you feel fresh and even if it just provides a little bit of a push towards a better mindset, taking care of yourself can have a massive impact on your productivity and motivation levels. It also helps you to maybe just get the needed energy to get the ball rolling and start; because once you start something it often becomes easier to follow through.

Seek Support: Once more, don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals. It might not seem to you that a call to your best friend will help in any way, heck, you might have no motivation to even get on the phone and spend half an hour talking to any human being, but talking helps. Just discussing your feelings and concerns can help take a load off your mind and provide valuable insights. The hardest part is often just reaching out, then, once you do, you usually find it a good experience.

Reevaluate Goals: It might be a good idea to sit and look at your goals and reevaluate the workload that must go into achieving these goals. Take some time to make sure that you are not setting unrealistic goals and expectations for yourself. Try to adjust your goals to reduce the pressure. Time management also comes into play here, as you will need to prioritize tasks, set realistic deadlines, and break down larger projects into manageable steps. It’s all about setting timeframes and goals that can be achieved without causing you too much stress.

Practice Stress Management: If you have a tendency to stress more than what you feel is good for you, then it might be worthwhile exploring stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to help reduce some of your stress and anxiety. It can be something as simple as taking 3 slow deep breaths when you start to feel overwhelmed by work and life, just to give you some mental clarity as to how you should proceed.

Reflect and Reconnect: If you feel like your passion for travel content creation is waning, then you might have to sit and reflect. Look at what you have accomplished, and what you have planned, and decide if you actually still find it exciting. People change over time and you might be on a path that no longer speaks to you. Reflecting on your journey and what initially sparked your interest can help to remind you of how much you enjoy it or it can make you realize that you are just not into it anymore. Sometimes revisiting your roots can help to reignite the enthusiasm.

One thing to remember is that overcoming burnout is not a quick-fix solution, but a gradual process. It will take time and effort, but if the right strategies are implemented and you have the needed support, you can regain your enthusiasm for your creative work.

Useful Links for Those Dealing with Travel Burnout

There are plenty of useful sites that can give you more information on how to identify, manage, and prevent burnout. Below are a few good ones from reliable sites that can help.

Links to Help with Travel Creator Burnout

  1. Burnout Prevention and Treatment – HelpGuide.org
  2. 11 Tools to Cope With Burnout and Overwhelm | Psychology Today
  3. Stress – Every Mind Matters – NHS
  4. How To Deal With Burnout and Recover From Exhaustion | Upwork

Conclusion

There are many trials that travel content creators need to face, but burnout can sneak up on anyone without much warning. This can be even more of a potential concern for travel content creators, as they need to be skilled in a variety of things that they might not always be interested in. As the stresses of travel combine with a large workload, becoming overwhelmed can be a real issue. Make sure you stay aware of your thoughts and feelings, build up a support network of people you can talk to, and be realistic about what you are trying to achieve without overloading yourself. Just following these simple things can significantly improve your odds of avoiding burnout altogether.