Geek Mental Help Week

This is my contribution to Geek Mental Help Week. Generally speaking things are going pretty well for me. I’m meeting a lot of new people since I shifted from working in IT to the web industry. I’m enjoying the day job. I’m pottering along outside of work with the odd freelance job just fine.

Around two months ago I hit burnout. Some pressures in the day job were starting to get to me. I started to notice myself working later and later. It doesn’t help that my main machine is a laptop; it’s easy to work away on something at any time. I found it hard to get excited about anything. I began to question if I was doing the right things, and if my work was good enough. Stereotypical imposter syndrome I suppose.

The line between my work and life became blurred—like so many of the people working on the web. It’s hard to keep a separation when you enjoy your work.

I found myself a bit on edge, I checked my phone a lot. I’d be pretty scared if I seen the amount of times I had unlocked the phone and checked things in a typical day. The cycle of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Email was pretty relentless. I don’t know why I checked it so often, it’s not like the content would be missing if I just checked it once a day. Checking all this all the time, combined with the burnout I was feeling, affected my sleep and my mood.

There’s four things that I done to try help turn things around, and it’s working.

  • I found a hobby away from a screen that I love, photography. It lets me be creative whilst not thinking about it so much. Not to mention the places I get to see—and not just see by going through, but really see.
  • I talked about my workload with my boss at work. We just offered a new Web Designer a position to help lighten the load.
  • I removed Facebook from my phone. It’s full of boring videos, moans and pictures from people I hardly know anymore anyway.
  • I put my phone away 1–2 hours before I go to bed, and don’t check it again till the next day. Usually I just turn it off and put it on charge in the spare room. It helps me unwind at nights better.

By doing these four simple things, I’m sleeping better and feeling better about myself and my work. I’m even about to start a new freelance job I’m really excited about.

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