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Veda News: Burnout at age 26

So I’m finally admitting it. I’ve reach full blown out BURNOUT at age 26. I have no idea how I even let myself get this way, but it’s official. Over the past year, I’ve been feeling the weight of working in the advertising world. I’ve been feeling pulled in a new direction, but glued to the security of my day job with lovely benefits. The constant pulling in opposite directions has lead to a clean rip, right through the middle of my core. I’ve been searching for ways to cope, turning to video games such as ยูฟ่าเบท สุดยอดเว็บพนันออนไลน์ as a temporary escape.

I was warned about this thing called “burnout” from so many people but always told myself that it wouldn’t happen to me. I was told that if you stretch yourself too thin, that you’d eventually grow to hate what you’re doing. Since I’m a stubborn person, I tested that theory for far too long.

If you would have talked to me about a year ago, I would have told you that doing full time freelance that brought me free PayPal money instantly anytime I needed it was what I wanted to do. I would have told you that I wanted to design blogs, websites and do branding for brands that I love. Unfortunately as time went on, my clear direction of what I wanted to do “when I grow up” blurred into a fury of confusion. I’ve become sooooo sick of sitting in front of the computer that my soul is craving to work with my hands. I’m sooooo sick of no-so-friendly clients that all I want to do is work on hassle-free personal projects. I’m soooooo sick of the politics of working at a large company, that all I want to do is barricade myself into a little corner (people-free). I know all of this sounds very dramatic, but all of it is painstakingly true. At the young age of 26….I’m throwing my hands up and saying “fuck it”.

So, thanks for listening to my rant. haha. I’m now going to go and figure out what to do about it all. Have you ever reached the point of burnout? What did you do to get past it??

86 comments on “Veda News: Burnout at age 26

  1. Oh my gosh. Amen. Some days it just hits me…I’m wasting my life away! I think of my grandparents and that they weren’t working in front of a computer screen. They were most likely moving their ass, working with their hands, communicating in person, etc. I completely understand the restlessness. I’m not sure what the answer is. I do know some people (people I truly admire) have some pretty inspiring careers but I feel like that just isn’t practical for me.
    I sometimes want to just get a landscaping job. Or work at the zoo. haha.
    I hope you figure it out and I do too. 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by Anna. I feel like as humans we’re always searching for something better. In our cases, it sounds like we’re needing a little more “hands on” to feel like we’re doing what we want to do. Hope you find some clarity 🙂

  2. Hi Cassie,

    First, I love your portfolio. Second, I so understand you.
    I’m a designer working as a freelancer, and I’ve been struggling with the same problem as you, since I was 30.
    It took me 3 years to finally face it. This industry can be so hard on you, and as a freelancer is even harder; you don’t have any accountant working as a buffer between you and the client, and clients can be mean.
    This year all of this brought me so down and I found myself sobbing over my husbands shoulder asking “what should I do? I cant do anything else! Nobody will hire me”, etc, etc.
    The great thing is that after all the depressing and sobbing, you just start to see things clearly, and find ways to escape. I’m going to join some art classes, drawing, art history. Maybe turn myself in what I always wanted to be. To not be afraid of what I can accomplish.

    Sorry for the long post, I just related so much with you feelings, since I just discover mine last week, that I just needed to say something.

    Now this really help me:


    1. Thanks Alex for stopping by and sharing your story. Isn’t it funny how after the storm passes, magically some clarity presents itself. For me, I’m realizing that the more I “let go” of what I always thought I was supposed to do, what I know I need to do becomes so much more clearer. Here’s to letting go and finding clarity!!

  3. Why not go back to school. The great thing about being a student is you focus on your own work and personal development. Even if you just take ceramic classes…

    1. Kat, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of going back to school, even if it is just a class. I’m going to look into some classes and I’ll report back. I’d love to take a food styling course or even that ceramics class you mentioned. Great suggestion!

  4. I think this is the big thing of doing anything in the arts. As artist its great to do what you love for fun but when you get paid to do its can be nice but at times you just do not have that creative energy that you need bc its not just for fun anymore.

    My husband also went to school for graphic design and that is his day job and for the past few years hes beyond burnt out so much he hates designing anymore. I guess for me its not that bad bc I am just work to have something to do.

    Trust me you will find something to replace it that you love but you have to be vunrable and go through that downtime but soon I am sure you will be happy ans successful at whatever it is you may choose.

    1. Love this Noor. I love the idea of being vulnerable and just going with the flow of the downtime. Patience always seems to be the answer…I’m working on it 😉

  5. First of all, your head is in the right place. You are being self-aware and you are being honest. Carve out some really serious time to do some really serious soul-searching and find out what your gut is telling you. Look into classes and community groups near you. Get plugged in with people in a way you have more control over and in a way you are comfortable with. Don’t distance yourself from people for too long. Most importantly, keep moving. Whether your heart is moving, your head is moving, your body is moving…. don’t settle, get stuck, or turn bitter.

    Kate from Clear the Way

  6. I SO needed this a couple of years ago. I was SO burned out. I had two awful clients who abused my kindness and took me for granted. I was so done. I just took minimum client work for a year and allowed myself to focus on other things like writing and perusing a healthier lifestyle. I know the feeling! Sometimes it’s ok to not love everything in design and it’s ok to just breathe. Once you come into your creative space with a new positive perspective to do things as your mind allows, things clear up. Thank you for having the courage to share!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this link. I definitely got pretty good at saying no recently because it was a matter of losing my sanity. I’ll stop by your blog and take a look!

  7. I can’t say how relieved I am to hear that someone else is feeling the same way I do. I’m 27 and work as an in house designer and thought this was the right (smart) decision for me but I too find myself questioning if this is really what I want to be doing for the next 30+ years.

    Where I’m at now is I’m secretly hoping to win the lottery so I can quit my job and only do things/be around the people I love for the rest of my life!

  8. Love this post Cassie! I’m a big fan of your blog and the authenticity that it holds especially when it comes to both your personal and professional thoughts, so from a fellow designer THANK YOU for that. I think most often it’s the fear of the unknown and the overall constant thought process that can tear us apart the deepest. I for a long time, wanted to become a full-time freelancer as well and struggled with it for a really long time. One day, I quit my job, took the leap and found out it wasn’t as glamorous as expected. Now I’m back working in the agency world and while I’m still not entirely sure that’s where I want to be, I can at least cross the fact that I tried off my list. I learned more lessons than I could have imagined in taking that leap and even if you fail, sometimes that’s the best lesson in itself.

    Good luck to you in all your going through right now. Have faith in yourself that you’ll figure it out when the time is right.

    1. Thanks so much Jenn for speaking to the other side of the freelance life. I think so many people only report back on the positives of freelance, but it really is a good mix of both. I also agree that failing in something is one REALLY good way to learn something about yourself.

  9. THANK YOU for such an honest post. I can relate to all of this so well. I LOVE design still – it’s what I truly enjoy doing, but like you…I’ve worked around the clock at a full-time job and then have come home to freelance at night (which has gone on for a good two and half years). I’ve contorted my back and neck into such awful and permanent states of discomfort that it makes me want to cry at the thought of sitting in front of a screen for the rest of my life. I finally just gave up this fall on trying to do it all, because it made me resent design in general. Which is why my blog got left in the dust for a while, and I’m finally just getting back in the swing of things. I think it’s hard for people like us who have held down the full-time job and hoped of going freelance to see so many full-time freelancers (cause that’s mostly what there is in the blog world) doing their thing. It just is tough to watch.

    I’m still working on figuring out what I want most days, but I find the best thing to do is to treasure your free time (the time not spent at your day job). Just sit on your ass if that’s what you want. If you feel inspired enough to blog, do that. For a while, I didn’t even want to do personal projects cause I couldn’t stand to be at the computer. Exercising has helped me a lot. As creative people, our minds need time to be free from structure and just wander. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself (I need to work on this too). Use your hands – you are AMAZING at styling (and design, and curating and all of it!)…paint, draw…find a different outlet. Maybe even cooking! Most importantly, I think you have to plan to not have a plan for a while (that sounds crazy). What I mean by that is just to give yourself permission to take an easier pace in life. I think once you do that, things will start to fall together and you’ll find joy in your work and hobbies again. 🙂

    You’re such a talent, Cass. I know you’ll work through this tough period! Let me know if you ever need to chat or anything! I’m here for ya. Xo!

    1. I totally here you when you say “treasure your free time”. I’ve been trying to soak it all in when I get to plop down and watch Downton Abbey. I’m working on taking life at a slower pace and letting go of some control.

      Thanks so much for stopping by amy and for all your sweet comments. Your blog is a treasure, so I’m glad you’re posting again. Feel free to email to chat anytime!

  10. This, so much, describes perfectly what I’ve been trying to tell people for months. For me, I love designing – it’s something I’ve always done and something I still love doing. However it’s more about getting the clients that I want to have verses just the ones that are available and every time I have to take a project I’m not so excited about because of bills, and things of that sort, I feel a little more of myself drown in this sea surrounding me, and I can’t seem to find anyway out. I mean I’m at the point where I’d work for free if they were things I was excited to work on, but unfortunately for anyone, that’s not how the world works. I am in no way certain at all about how I’m going to get out of it, or what I’ll do but if I find a solution I promise I will most certainly share it!

  11. i am exactly where you are, at 27 y/o. i am past the point of needing to move on from my current job. but i can’t justify leaving w/o a new one. i’ve been applying for new jobs for 8 months and it’s hard for someone who has such a niche. i would love to freelance, but i’ve been at my job for 4 1/2 years and don’t know anyone anymore. so now i’m trying to meet more people, get my name out there. i also think i want to shoot weddings. i have avoided that for years, but someone told me i could shoot weddings part of the year, and work on my own art the rest of it. it was like a mother fucking light bulb went off. they don’t tell you in art school that eventually we’ll have to learn how to make money and support ourselves. grants and shit are nice, but they don’t come along very often. so i’m going to put all of my extra energy into creating my own business and working from home. b/c the corporate world is fucking bullshit. i hate the games people play and i’m sick of being shit on. and working 60+ hours a week. if i’m gonna do that, i’d rather do it from home.

    1. HAHA. You’re response made me chuckle…they surly don’t teach you how to make money in art school. That’s for damn sure.
      I think networking is sooooo key for creatives. I’d suggest networking and shooting weddings as a way to refocus what you want to do. Good Luck!

  12. Phew, boy, do I hear you. I am also 26, also in advertising (albeit on the words side of things), also feeling completely burnt out, and also wanting to do more with my hands. I’ve sort of concluded that advertising is not my gig, but I don’t have a set exit strategy other than to pursue the things I like to do when I’m not working. I’m sure you know of Jessica Hische, who gave the brilliant advice of going after the things you do when you’re procrastinating on what you are “supposed” to be doing. So, while I’m just as lost as you are at the moment, that is the advice I think we both should follow!

  13. I can’t even tell you how much I can identify… I’ve been in the same place for a while now and actually I think it’s what sent me to blogging in the first place! I don’t have an answer… I’m still figuring it out and really really hoping it gets better.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your journey! In some ways I think it helps just to know others are going through the same thing…

  14. Take a sabbatical. Even if it’s for a month or six months. Just stepping away from your world can open doors for you that you did not think possible. You have the skills in design and the knowledge, so taking six moths to a year out won’t hurt your career. You could go teach English in another part of the world or work as a designer in another part of the world or just travel.

    1. Erin,

      I think a sabbatical of some sort is definitely in order. I’m thinking 2 months is feasible at this point, but definitely needed. Thanks for the reminder to step away!

  15. oh my gosh i know exactly how you feel and can relate to so much of what you’re saying (although i don’t work in the arts). i actually have a post going up tomorrow about basically the same thing…and i’m 31! (yikes! 31?!? how and when did that happen??!)

    i think what i actually need to do though is to think about what makes and will make me happy…and then make a plan to do just that.

  16. I’ve SO been there. I bought a ticket to Kathmandu and trekked to the base of Mt. Everest. I found my breath when I lost it to altitude. I found my rhythm… one step at a time. This year I plan on avoiding burnout by learning to surf and doing ample amounts of yoga in Mexico for a couple weeks. And one day… I’d like to lose and find myself, simultaneously, during a year long sabbatical.

    I’ve found that burnout and inspiration waxes and wanes – just like the moon or the ocean tides. Here’s to finding a bit of inspiration soon. XO

  17. Wow, I went through such a similar thing when I was 25, I called it my “quarter-life crisis.” I had gone to university and picked up a degree in music and on the way realized that I was NOT a musician. So I went back to school and picked up a degree in arts management, worked for a while and then felt completely disillusioned: the pay was shit, everything was contract, and I didn’t love it like I thought I should. So I freaked out and had panic attacks, and started working at the Gap. 🙂 Somehow, that time of being “out of the game” cleared my head and healed me a bit, and when the time was right I got back in arts management for an orchestra.

    Cue the happy ending, right? Well, yes, for a while… then I had kids. Suddenly all the extra hours and long nights at the hall were not at ALL what I wanted to do. SO I quit to be a SAHM. Got bored (and broke). Did some courses, got some part-time freelance work in graphic design, marketing, and interior design of all things. And here I sit, wondering what the hell I am going to be when I grow up.

    All this to say that if anything, I have started noticing that things seem to work in ebbs and flows, like the tide. The more I realized this, the less attached I felt to the highs and the less lost I felt by the lows. I have not by any means become a zen master (oh so far from it!) but as you say so perfectly above, I am starting to feel more comfortable and less vulnerable going with the flow and riding the waves. I don’t look for The Direction To Go, just a direction that feels right. Less pressure. 🙂

    I still have a card someone sent me during my ‘quarter-life crisis’ that reads “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” Your work is beautiful, your aesthetic is amazing. I know you’ll catch another wave!

    1. Holy Crap Lisa!!! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your story. You know you’re on the verge of a meltdown when a comparison to a catapillar almost makes your tear up, right?

      Thanks for reminding me about the “ebbs and flows” and to not get too attached to either of them. Totally makes since.

  18. Hi Cassie, just wanted to pop in and say I hear you. I’m also 26 and recently quit my job in publishing because of the exact reasons you mentioned above, as they related to advertising. I think that sometimes the burnout just gets so bad that you reach a point of just DOING something or risking having a complete breakdown. When I quit my job I had nothing lined up and it was terrifying … but since quitting, I have had to force myself to network and develop my own personal business plan, and now the freelance / contract work is coming in.

    If anything, you may want to consider looking for contract work through a recruiting agency. Most jobs run 3 – 12 months and while that does kind of seem long, knowing that there is a definitive end in sight makes it easier to handle (while also putting you in control).

    Best of luck to you, I hope things get better!

  19. Let’s not kid – the security of working in a company is not to be sneezed at. And companies, like people, grow and change as staff move on. Sometimes, organizational culture changes around you until the two of you no longer fit together.

    Like that boy we all adored when we were 19, right?

    My point is this – freelancing is hard, and not for everyone. And if it’s not right for you, but you’re miserable where you are, that’s fine. MOVE. Sometimes moving to a new company makes all the difference.

    (And, if freelancing is ultimately what you want, moving to a new company as a ‘temporary measure’ gives you time and space to plan.)

  20. I swear to you Cassie, I wrote this very post (in email form to a friend), not 6 hours ago. At 28, I feel as though I am wasting my most precious life moments clicking a link or posting a status update. How sad.

    I, too, crave a career…or more so…a lifestyle that let’s me embrace living beyond the screen and really engaging with the physical world. I would give anything to not feel stressed on a weekend, or feel chained to my desk after hours. I know I do it to myself, but I’ve become stuck in this cycle and don’t know how/am afraid to get out.

    But I guess sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can truly climb to the top and see the light. Perhaps this is our pit: sheer exhaustion and stressed to the max.

    I will tell you this, I recently started woodworking again (a passion I’ve had since the age of 5) and it has brought a bit of zen back into my world. I highly recommend you carve out an hour, two or 20 to really close off from everything else and just do soemthing that makes you unbelieveably happy. Whatever that something is. It may only be a moment of calm in the storm of life, but it truly helps you re-focus and breathe for a bit.

    I hope you find the path that makes you happiest. The rest will work out….the time is now.

    Let’s do this. And thanks for being so completely honest (no sugar coating) about how you are feeling. Very refershing!


    1. Stephanie,

      Your response was exactly what I needed to read today. I love that you’ve accepted that this might just be “the pit” and you can only really go up from here right? Also, thanks for your suggestion/reminder to carve out a few hours to do something I’m insanely passionate about. Such great advice, but such a simple solution.

      Cheers, my dear. Everything WILL work itself out.

  21. Cassie, I totally feel with you.
    It seems like so many people in the creative industries struggle with this – and still no one really has the answer to it. The answer that just makes it all ok, and figures it all out for you.
    Sometimes I wish I had a psychologist to talk to 😉

    A couple of days I watched a webinar of building an online business. It was great, but after watching it I just felt so so confused.
    Before watching I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do (after a long time where I was unsure of where to go in life) – and then ‘bang’, all the confusion was back.
    I talked to my boyfriend after (who is into the whole business/start-up/freelancing thing as well), and he said that maybe sometimes taking a step back is what actually helps, and things will become clear after a while.
    So yes, just like you said above, patience seems to be the only help sometimes. But I know, it’s SO hard.
    Totally understand you, and I hope we can both learn to be patient. 🙂

  22. Take a break… and look after you… read, watch movies, exercise… don’t think… except about yourself.. it’s not selfish… it’s preservation… just for a bit… let yourself relax and then you will find the answers you are looking for… It worked for me… 🙂 xv

  23. I don’t know if this helps any, but I had a full-blown nervous breakdown at 25. I was working full-time, had started studying my Master’s part-time, and was struggling with undiagnosed health issues. The stress from my job ate through me every day until I eventually reached the point of collapse.

    It wasn’t pretty!

    It has taken me three years to rebuild, and I’m still not sure what I want to ‘be when I grow up’, but I am learning to trust my gut. If a project doesn’t feel good in my bones at the start, it usually ends up being a dud.

    As creatives, we really work in frisson of people’s expectations day by day — it’s important to step back say, ‘No,’ when it’s your time to say no.

    Hope you feel better soon. x

  24. Hi Cassie,

    Firstly, I think you are a very talented designer and I love everything that you have shown here -so beautiful and genuine! It has always been a welcome breath of fresh air to visit your blog, so thank you !!

    I remember at 26 I also felt burnt out and dissatisfied as a young architect, always on the computer, long days, data processing rather than designing. I wandered endlessly about changing profession to something more “hands-on” and creative, especially as architecture takes 1.5~3years for the one project to finish -and with so much stress!

    At 27 I realised that no matter what I tried, ultimately I want to make spaces, beautiful places for people to live in, dine in, work in… Now at 32, I’ve had some really demanding jobs but happy to see some beautiful architecture projects completed. And well, just when I was feeling more comfortable, I’ve moved countries and am now learning a new language…!

    I know at the core for me, I will always be an architect -to create environments for people- In the meantime I have started some new things that allow me to remain creative and work with my hands while I learn the language. It has been so great and refreshing to design in different mediums though, and that’s a great thing about design that it can translate to other objects, media, fashion and architecture of course.

    I am sure that you will always remain a beautiful designer, and switching mediums sometimes will clarify what you are good at naturally, and not what you think you should / want to be good at. It’s not easy to be in the creative field, but I have seemed to have developed a calm patience that lets me keep at it. I hope this makes sense! xx n*

    1. Naoko,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I love that you mention “patience”. I think that aspect is super key in anything you do creatively. It all takes time to develop and evolve. I think incorporating more mediums into what I do will help tremendously. Thanks for sharing your story and providing a piece of hope. 🙂

  25. one day, almost 4 years ago, i was sitting my boss’s office and just said, “i quit”. then i walked out of the building and talked on my cell phone for 2 hours. i couldn’t deal with it anymore. my soul crushing graphic design job had sucked everything out of me. i really had no plan, but i’ve been able to make it work. i’ll never go back to a 9-5 job. i love my weird bohemian life to ever go back. my recommendation is to plan/save, make the leap, and give yourself a year.

    1. Drew,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and saying “plan/save, make the leap, and give yourself a year”. You’ve hit it right on the dot!!!

  26. Amen, lady. I know I’m on the burnout path and I’ve been doing some heavy soul searching trying to avoid it. I’m reading “The Four Hour Work Week” — which really touches on all of this. You should give it a read, perhaps?? I’m only at the beginning still, but the author talks a lot about the burnout and how most people live their lives, but it’s not the only way.


    1. Thanks for the book suggestion Bre. I think I’ll pick it up. I’m always interested in hearing about how other’s live their creative life.

  27. This exact thing happened to me, too! How did I deal? I quit my job and backpacked through Asia and New Zealand with my husband for 8 months. It was a calculated move – it took us a year to save up, sell our stuff, put the rest in storage, etc etc. But we did it. And it was life changing. We also used the opportunity to move from Boston to San Francisco – such an amazing choice :-). We found new jobs we are actually happy at within a month of returning!

  28. I’ve been feeling the same way! Right now I feel like I’m stuck at job I’m not very happy with, but I haven’t saved up enough to just quit and go out on my own. And I know better to wish my life away, but lately I’m just ready to be past the hard stuff and be who I’m meant to be.
    As an almost 25 year old artist/designer myself, I’ve had a hard time in my job searching finding the right fit for me. I really just want to learn new things and make stuff all the time, and get paid for it. So this week especially I’ve reached a limit on the infinite amount of patience I’ve had to gain over the years and am just plain frustrated.
    I know what I need to do to get where I want to be, and that it will just take time and more patience to get there, but it’s always nice for me to know there are other people my age going through the same thing as me.
    And like Stephanie T said, it can only get better from here, right? 🙂

  29. oh my.
    i’ll tell you, it is (amazingly) such a relief to see i’m not the only one. It must be a generation issue i guess? And i assure you you’re not alone in this, and it is not a cultural problem, i’m in Brazil and feel exactly the same way.
    26 years old, fashion designer, master in Paris, i come back, give up fashion, start illustration, got a job in a design agency, and now i’m stuck between my steady (and dull) design job that pays the bills and my freelance working-on-week-nights-and-weekends-and-not-having-a-life-because-the-client-wants-it-asap illustration job. neither of them are making me happy.
    unfortunately, being on the same situation myself i can’t give much advice, but hey, that’s why i just started therapy! ha, at 26, who knew…
    anyways, thanks sooo much for your post. love your blog, love your designs!

  30. I’ve been where you are and it’s no fun! I was an art director at a big agency for 10 years and a CD for 5. I didn’t love it for a long time but kept getting promoted and let’s face it, the money is good. I finally left in August, started a blog and am in the process of starting my own business. I wish I had done it years ago.

    You are so talented, get out now and watch your life unfold. You’ll never look back.

    1. Thanks so much for your confidence in me. I truly believe that once I make this leap, there is no turning back….and that’s a good thing. I think my whole life will finally be able to unfold. Congratulations on making the leap yourself 🙂

  31. The old proverbs say it all… a problem shared is a problem halved, patience is a virtue, keep calm and carry on, shy bairns get nowt, time you enjoy wasting is not wasted, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…

    I crashed and burned too at 26 whilst studying my masters in architecture, I wasn’t getting the balance in life right. Constantly working behind a computer and often in isolation away from the real world was simply depressing just like the English weather I can hear rattling against my window as I type! I managed to pass uni and luckily got my old part time job back in retail afterwards, as I too did not want to sit behind a computer any longer. However, the turning point for me came by sharing my frustrations to friends and my folks and not bottling up all my emotions. Resisting the passion for design and architecture was futile and I got back on it as it would have been a waste to just walk away. I managed to get a six month contract back in my home town at an interior design studio, joint a squash team, socialized, roamed around the streets exploring buildings and spaces, discovered blogs like yours and was truly inspired.

    I now have a permanent job in architecture; I’m not doing anything extraordinary but I’m happy that I’m designing again and I’m optimistic my time will come. When those shit days/weeks occur, I just remind myself that I’m a pretty lucky fella at the end of the day and that I still have a lot to learn and that life shouldn’t always be so serious.

    I’m not sure what the recession is like over there but jobs are bloody competitive here so I’d take a few deep breaths and keep the day job until you’ve reassessed, sometimes things have a way of sorting themselves out. If time and finances allow, perhaps turn down or at least postpone your next freelance job for a month, 3 months or more!? Put your New Year’s Resolutions into action and mix things up, create little art pieces like it seems you use to in the early days of your blog but above all, keep your chin up and get the boy to brew you a lovely cup of tea, it solves everything! ☺

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Craigy. It’s nice to hear from someone who understands that it’s all a process. In the next transition, I look forward to getting back and creating things. I have so many DIY projects just piling up. And yes….I’ll tell that boy to brew me a cup of tea 😉

  32. I have just read every single comment on this post, and so many of them sound like I could have written them myself! I am in exactly the same place.. just another burnt out 26 year old! I’ve spent the whole month of January doing absolutely nothing because I have zero direction, it’s depressing.

    I don’t have a job, because just over 12 months ago I did make the break and I quit to live what I thought would be the ‘dream’ – working as an artist full time. But it seems that as soon as creating becomes my ‘job’, the pressure of earning an income from it is overwhelming and all inspiration leaves me. So here I am again thinking it would just be easier to get a ‘real job’. But I know if I do that I’ll be back to the place I was in 12 months ago. It’s a vicious cycle and sometimes I feel that creativity is more of a curse than a blessing! Why couldn’t I just be an accountant, a nurse an astronomer or something!

    I have also booked a ticket to Kathmandu to go trekking in April – I can’t wait to get away from all things creative and just focus on walking, breathing and surviving. I hope I return with some answers!

    1. Hi Deanna. It seems 26 is the age for all hell to break loose….go figure. Hang in there lady. I think you’ve made the toughest decision yet (leaving the day job to be an artist). It’s a tough gig, but just think…everything you create, all the money you earn is because YOU are awesome. You’re completely in control of your creative life, and that alone should be inspiring 🙂

      Best of luck!

  33. I had a corporate PR job for years (went to straight out of university and quickly climbed the ranks) that I found a draining after time went on. It paid well, was secure and many people envied my success. Still, I was unhappy.

    For years I tried to make small changes to make it work but it eventually got to the point that I realized I had to do something about it (I was 28 and had been working for six years).

    So I quit.

    I traveled for eight months, backpacking through SE Asia on my own, having an amazing adventure, and took time to figure out what I really wanted to do. I made an exhaustive list of possibilities without ruling anything out – from teaching English in SE Asia, to moving to New York to do PR, to changing the industry I worked in, to going back to school, to waitressing in France, to simply going back after time off to my old job. The list was huge and endless.

    I took the time to really weigh what I wanted to do. I thought about my ideal day. I thought about the changes I could make to save some cash to afford a new lifestyle. I thought about “what is the worst that could happen?” and realized that I could always go back to PR if I wanted to. I had experience, contacts and the right education.

    Eventually I realized that I had always wanted to be a photojournalist. It was something I had dreamed about for years and finally I decided to do it.

    So I went back to school and then started working as a freelance photojournalist. It was the best decision I ever made. I finally have a job I love, doing exactly what I always dreamt of.

    It was tough at first – money was tight and there were more than a few times when I wondered if I wasn’t making a huge mistake – but it was incredibly rewarding and much better for my mental health. After a few years I built up a strong client base and money stopped being an issue. I am so happy I did this. It was the best decision I have ever made.

    If you’re trying to figure out what to do I would suggest making the leap and doing what you love.

    1. Della,
      Photo Journalis, how cool? I think I’m the exact same place you were when you decided to pack your bags and travel. Although I don’t think my finances would allow me to travel for several months, I DO need to spend some serious time soul searching. I’m determined to find that balance of the things I love and the things that will make me money. I’ll be making lots of lists just like you did to help me figure it all out.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. I’m so glad you did 🙂

  34. I could write a comment that is longer than this post about burnout. I am currently in the exact same position for many reasons. Just know that you are not alone. I’m choosing to just put everything but the necessities down. I hope that you find a solution that works best for you. No one deserves to be burnt out. If you ever need to vent to a stranger (it’s amazing how helpful it can be) I love to read and write email books 🙂 Best of luck!


  35. clearly you have many folks in the same boat with great suggestions for re-energizing your passion and talent. i would like to add one more. take your talent and willingness and find an opportunity to share your ideas/talent as a volunteer. perhaps as a teacher yourself. think art therapy with children, seniors, veterans etc. town and county sponsored courses. introduce scout troops to writing/design/blogging… could be a guest speaker. they would be designed by you…content and time committment are yours for the making. stretch beyond what you are comfortable with to grow and you will see a better balance in your life take shape. anyone who volunteers will tell you that they get more than they give from thier efforts, mostly from the people they encounter. doors and hearts open in ways that will surprise you.
    why the long reply? i am an older gal who has been burnedout several times and find the best way to get beyond it is to stop thinking about me and my particular situation and go find a way to make someones else’s burden lighter. a random act of kindness will do. it really snaps you back so you can keep your clarity. all the best for a future filled with satisfaction and success.

  36. Yep. i hit BURNOUT at age 26 too. I am half way through 26 right now and burnout hit around mid 25 and when into full throttle mode right after turning 26. I had been doing freelance illustration and graphic design for about 2 years. I was doing blog design with a design company for 2 years. I was running my jewelry business entirely by myself. AND i was blogging 5-7 times a week. And I wanted to explode.

    I got SO sick of working with clients, having to please everyone all the time. I felt too much pressure needing to please my blog designing bosses, as lovely as they were. I just suck at having bosses. I got frustrated realizing my entire blog design portfolio was being directed by my clients, clients who didn’t really suit my taste except for a rare few.

    I felt overwhelmed everyday. I got so sick of doing illustrations, my major in college & my dream career at age 22. I got sick of feeling the pressure of living up to the designers I admired it. I just was done. And so I quit all that in November to focus just on my jewelry and blogging. And it has SO been worth it. I design what I want and if someone wants to buy it, they buy it. and if they don’t, they don’t! I am not made for working one on one with clients. its 80% communication and barely 20% actually designing. I am not made for it and I’ve come realize I’m not defined by the millions of the things I do. I can’t expect myself to be the best at everything all at the same time. I need to enjoy what I enjoy, pour my heart into it, and move on from that which doesn’t truly speak to me.

    I did have some really wonderful and memorable clients and a few special projects. But id rather just enjoy all my work with jewelry and blogging and love a small percentage of my projects with clients.

    moving on can be powerful. good luck with whatever you do moving on from feeling burntout! You’ll find the right direction 🙂
    xo Moorea

    1. Moorea,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I read your blog on a daily basis (when you post) and I’ve been following your professional career. You’re an inspiration and I admire your ability to throw it all away and stay again, refreshed. I look forward to keeping my readers up to date on the process of letting go and would love to hear your feedback along the way.

      Also wanted to say congrats on all your little ALT summit successes and that I’m truly sorry for the news you received yesterday about your mother. I’ll be sending good vibes your way.


  37. I’m exactly in the same place right now… and still don’t know how I can get out of this cycle. Been working my ass off, working almost 7 days out of 7. It drives me CRAZY to see how much fun my friends are having on facebook, while I struggle to finish off projects that don’t seem to end. It’s gotten so bad, that I don’t enjoy photographing (my biggest passion) as much as I used to. And that is why I need to rethink everything I want to do with my life. Everything I thought I wanted, isn’t anymore. I want to go back, back to the start.
    Hope to follow you on your journey and hope you’ll find the right path that’s good for YOU, soon… very soon! xx

    1. Hey there. I hope everything clears up for you. Honestly, the two biggest things that are helping me are learning to say “NO” to the things I’m not passionate about and “letting go”. I tend to hold on to what I think needs to happen for far too long and I’m learning to just go with the flow.

  38. oh cassie i know how it feels like. before going freelance on something i didn’t go to school to learn i worked at one of the top consulting firms in the world for almost 4 years. when i was accepted there i wanted to just be at my best, excel at everything and career was definitely first. then time went by and things started to become blurry… and i was starting to ask myself if career was that important after all if i didn’t even recognize that much value in those above me. i was never doing enough and it was tough to have a social life. i quit and started working for a smaller firm. and then unemployment arrived and i started to develop skills to do what i do now as a freelancer. i’m happy, very happy, but still sometimes i need to step away, i feel like crying because i don’t think i’m working enough to make a living, i get stressed at every less positive client feedback… and sometimes question myself if i’m really on the right track! i’m 32, and all i can say is that our life is way worth to do something meaningful as a living. and we just need to accept our own rhythms. sometimes it’s time to stop, sometimes it’s time to work really hard, sometimes it’s time to enjoy something different… and say fuck it! take sometime off the laptop and go outside!!! oh and another thing, i also went through the burnout over a year ago while i was trying to make this freelance project work and i was almost hating what i so much enjoy doing. so i stopped and reorganized myself with new rules, to allow other things to take part in my daily routines!

  39. What an amazing post and found at the most perfect of times; I’m weeping over my keyboard.

    A change from the norm to say the least, I opted out of University despite very “academic” grades, deciding instead to save the debt and start carving my career path. In the last 17 months I have achieved work experience, internships, temporary and permanent jobs with relative ease and success. And this self-made success has kept me smiling. I love achieving and thrive on it; I always have done. But dabbling in a myriad of different industries- and having the choice to do so, living at home- has left me confused with what exactly it is I want to do with my life. The pressure I’ve put myself under to find and quickly thrive in an industry that I LOVE and prove all doubters, of which there were many, wrong has left me ever so slightly broken.

    A series of events this week, resulting in me handing my notice in (because “where so many people would die to work {I} only deign to work”), has made me realise that my compulsion to get ahead of the game has, not only been hiding a pool of underlying issues, but left me a life with a middle-aged life of all Work and no Play.

    In the words of my older, wiser brother, aged just 20 I’m “stuck between the humdrum existence of the 9 – 5 life but without the freedom to go out, socialise and have fun as a young adult”.

    I’ve actually just drafted a post on the whole complex situation but am weighing up whether publishing something so personal would be an absolutely genius or completely terrible idea.

    Sorry, this has turned into quite the unrelated ramble. I hope there’s something in there that relates to your post and all the best with finding your groove again- I’ll be checking in to see how it’s going! Chloe Xx

    1. Chloe, thanks for taking the time to stop by. I know opening up your heart to a complete stranger is really weird sometimes. I just wanted to give you a little insight about that blog post you have waiting to be published. I wasn’t sure if I was going to publish the post you just read, but as you can see from the comments section, opening up your heart can be extremely rewarding and offer a chance for much needed feedback to come flowing in. Best of luck!

  40. i’ve had a burnout when i was 27 – panic attacks, feeling low and tired every single day: something had to change… i quit my job, went to a therapist and spent the next half year soul searching… i’m now 32 and happier than ever – i have a great, fulfilling job, bought a great apartment in the city and feel myself again… some days are better than others, but that’s okay – i have a feeling i can survive just about anything
    i wish you lots of luck with your upcoming adventure!

    1. @Els, I’m kind of in that phase now 😉 did you end up changing careers? or just balancing your lifestyle out better?

  41. Hi Cassie,
    I’m not sure if this is burn out. I study architecture and work at the same time. I feel in the same way very often. What helps me is just getting some rest, doing sport once or twice a week, going out with friends at night and not expecting the impossible from me (for instance to work more than few months about 12 hours a day and be super creative and deliver always superb products with that rythm). You can also do things like you want to, even if you know they are not going to lead to the perfect detailed product.
    I hope that you will find a way to balance yourself!

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