Let’s face it. Burnout is real and the busy season takes a lot out of us. Self-care is really important all throughout the year but in busy seasons of life, it’s especially important. Here is a list of 5 things I do for busy season self-care
Scheduling and busy season self-care
This is one of the most valuable things we do with our days. During the fall season in the Midwest, photographers from all over work tirelessly to deliver wedding images, family portraits, and engagements with the beautiful fall foliage. It’s my most popular time of the year.
In order to ensure that I stay sane and well during my busy season, I schedule my days to include a stop time at the end of the day.
I use a client management system, Honeybook, for my client management. It also includes a scheduling system within it that allows me to create meetings and sessions. These can be scheduled by my clients in advance on the dates that I’ve decided I want to work in advance.
I use Friday evenings as a visit with my friends. We will get together with friends on Friday evening and wrap the night up by 10PM most nights so we can rest for our long Saturday workdays at weddings.
However you choose to schedule your week, just do it.
My biggest issue with not scheduling was feeling like I never had time to do the tasks that I felt were important because I was constantly being booked up through the week. Now I have specific days for certain tasks which allows me a greater peace of mind. Scheduling also leads into something that we’re going to cover next.
Boundaries and busy season self-care
The ‘B’ word almost is a taboo word in our industry. The mainstream culture of photography almost seems like we are without boundaries and are constantly and always accessible. That at the drop of a hat we can stop everything to fix a blemish on a photo that didn’t get retouching, to email someone back the instant we receive it, or to even constantly be on social media interacting and posting.
Setting boundaries in your photography business help you and your clients have a realistic and sustainable relationship. Realistic because you are a human. Sustainable because without boundaries, you’re bound to feel burnt out much quicker because of the high expectations set by you and your client.
Boundaries are not bad and you can easily set them through your brand, on your Google business listing, and in your contract. A good friend, Victoria Rayburn, has an entire podcast about boundaries.
You can listen to it here.
I set boundaries in my contract with set pricing at the time, turn around times, and even requested edits. I also set boundaries by waiting to email during business hours (mostly) and don’t allow myself to be booked on weekends unless its a wedding or destination engagement.
Outsourcing and busy season self-care
Other things I’ve outsourced are blogs. In a past ‘for photographers’ blog, I mentioned outsourcing blogging to Fiverr. You can read that blog here. Outsourcing your blogs does not mean you’re not a good creative or that you’re a bad writer. It just means that you have more free time to create new content elsewhere. OR it could mean that you’re just not doing the work you don’t want to do.
You can outsource many things in your business. Here’s a list:
- Website design
- Social media
- House cleaning
- Yard services
- Dog grooming
Some of these outsource ideas aren’t photography related. That’s okay. Maybe you enjoy doing some of these things but you hate cleaning the house when you’re busy or you’ve got late nights for shooting. Consider hiring a house cleaner or pay for something like HelloFresh to keep you healthy and also simplify your meal preparation.
In order to outsource correctly, you need to build it into your cost of doing business. On average, you can expect to pay between $150-$300 for a wedding to be fully edited and include around 800 images. I think the going rate is typically around $250 a wedding. This is a small price to pay for your sanity and more importantly, your time.
Think of outsourcing this way. Will it be a better use of your time to edit a wedding or to photograph another session or wedding that will earn you more money? If you increase your prices an etra $250-$300, you can easily cover the cost of the outsource editing and free up 8-20 hours of your life by not having to sit at your computer all night.
I don’t always outsource during slower seasons. There is less to do and I enjoy editing occasionally. I especially enjoy editing outdoor elopements and so these are not outsourced for me. But you decide what’s best for you.
Rest and busy season self-care
When you gain back your freedom of time, you gain back an immense opportunity for nearly anything. More time with your family, vacation, or even just time doing the things you love such as reading, playing video games, or exercising.
When I have a nice evening with my wife and sit down at the table for dinner, I’m resting. I don’t check my phone, I’m not worried about my website or what reels are doing well, I’m just being present.
Take a week day off next week and schedule a manicure or a facial. Go outside and have a jog or take a hike in a local park. All of these things allow us to rest our mind from the work that we’re doing to be present and enjoy this beautiful season of life.
By resting, we allow our minds to wander away from work. If you’re like me, work can feel all consuming at times and its sometimes my only ‘look forward.’ But recently, I’ve found that I’m really happy in my life. Our bills are paid, we have money coming in for the future, and I’m not spending every waking moment working.
I’m a better and more creative version of myself because I’m not working constantly. I’m able to recharge and to think and appreciate what I have. For the first time in many years, I don’t have to look forward to what’s next. I’m perfectly content being in this moment today.
I know this kinda sounds cliché or maybe a little romanticized but if you know me well, you know I never stop talking about what’s next. And believe me, I have plenty to look forward to with work and leisure travel, an upcoming photography workshop in Hawaii, and amazing travels next year as well.
While I’m super grateful and excited for them, I don’t feel like I need those to get through a day. I’m living my dream that I always wanted to.
Resting has allowed me to come into a more complete and joyful version of who I am.
Quality Time and busy season self-care
I mention throughout this blog that one of the ways I practice busy season self-care by spending time with loved ones. Quality time is one of the 5 love languages. It’s not even my main love language. But it’s my wife’s love language. And what I’ve realized is that its one of the only love languages that we can’t make up for after its gone.
Life is too short to only work and grind and never look up from a screen. That’s why I intentionally make time throughout my week to see my friends, visit my family, and take daily walks with my wife and our two dogs in the morning.
Maybe you can’t do all of those things right now. But even if you just start with one thing, the boundaries you’ve set, the schedule that you create, culminates into an opportunity for quality time.
Take a moment to think of someone you love who has passed. Wouldn’t you give anything just to visit with them one more time? For me, I miss my grandma, almost daily. I’d love to sit in her house once more and eat a bowl of chili, listen to her talk about whatever is happening, and just appreciate the time we have together.
The thing is, I can’t bring her back. But I have a lot of other amazing loved ones that I still have today. So do you. Schedule intentional quality time with those you love the most this busy season. You will never regret taking an afternoon to take your mom to lunch or your best friends out for dinner to celebrate life and the success we’re experiencing.
These are 5 steps you can take for busy season self-care. I hope that you’ll begin implementing these into your life because they have all helped me.
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