Remember my July wrap-up? I was high on excitement and satisfaction. I loved what I did. I named it "the month of content" because of how much work I put into creating content. I was having a busy life and loving it.

Yeah, well, early August Sumedha did NOT realize that she was careening towards burnout and did not bother to pull the brakes even once. And boy, did I crash hard.

the facts

Before I go into my thoughts, feelings, and rant for way too long, let's review the cold hard facts.

  • I did not post anything on this blog after my July wrap-up.
  • My activity on Twitter reduced by about 90%.
  • I tried to be regular on Instagram and managed it for about a week.
  • I forgot Pinterest existed.
  • I sent my newsletters on time.. barely.
  • I did not read any blog posts by other bloggers.

In summary, you can say that I basically disappeared from the blogosphere for a month. Did I forget about it? Of course not. I wanted to blog almost every day and even wrote 400 words for a blog post before I scrapped it because I didn't like how it was turning out. I wanted to be active online and connect with everybody and have fun. But I just did not have the energy to have fun.

the details

Over the last few months, I've been more lenient about my posting schedule on this blog. I realized that I love my content when I spend enough time on it and don't rush it to meet an unreasonable deadline of my own.

I also stopped planning my content. I would write the post that I feel like writing when I feel like writing it. Sometimes, it is an idea from my pool of random ideas and other times, it is a whole new thing.

All of that would have been fine if I didn't make a huge mistake in my mindset. I reasoned the above decisions as "self-care" and believed that they were enough to keep me going. I thought that I wouldn't go into burnout if I didn't push myself to deadlines and went with the flow.

I was wrong.

illustration of a person lying down and listening to an audiobook

When August began, I was on a high. July was a great month for me in terms of content, social life, and personal life. I was going out every weekend and did new things. I bought myself an iPhone. I was working hard at everything I did.

And it felt good! I love working hard and producing good results, I love feeling productive, and I learned that I don't mind having a busy social life. So I kept going.

I didn't know when to stop or how to stop, even when I realized that I might be burning myself out.

Only in the last few days of August did I realize that couldn't continue without a break. But at that time, I didn't have the option to take a break in my life. My career and personal life were at a point where I had no choice but to keep going. So I let myself truly drop all my hobbies and focus on only my life.

I didn't say no to any social plans, though. I was going to the office the entire working week and hanging out with colleagues and friends on my off days. I genuinely enjoyed every outing but I regret not giving myself time to recharge. At the end of the day, I'm an introvert whose energy drains through socialization. I wasn't doing myself any favours by saying yes to everything.

The funniest part was how I let myself have half a day of "self-care time" on 28th August and believed that it would be enough. I ordered hot chocolate and a brownie for myself (I almost never order food or treats for myself) and lit a candle. I watched YouTube and bummed around.

I gave myself half a day at the end of the month. I was so naive that I believed it would be enough. I think I didn't want to accept that I made a string of bad decisions for my health and didn't take care of myself better. I was running on steam in the last week of the month. And all I did for myself was light a candle and order a drink.*

*I know I'm repeating it like a broken record but I'm still in disbelief, okay?! Looking back on it, I'm able to recognize what an incredibly dense decision that was.

illustration of a stem of flowers and leaves in front of a solid structure in the shape of a window

Pushing for months without a proper break doesn't lead to good things. On the 1st of September, I woke up at 4 am from a bad dream with violent shivers and a raging headache. It took me an hour to gather enough energy to get out of bed and ask my mum for hot water. The shivers and headache continued for almost the entire day and led to a fever which didn't break for three days. I was sleeping sporadically throughout the days and nights and had zero energy. On the first day, I couldn't even read or watch a video for more than 5 minutes. My back and legs were hurting and cramping. On the second day, I also developed a nasty throat infection.

If you don't take a break, your body will force it on you without your permission. My body forced a break on me. Honestly, this is the most rest I've gotten in the past three months. My mind was consumed with tasks to get done without a break and suddenly I couldn't keep track of anything even if I wanted to. Throughout the first two days, I stayed awake for 90 minutes maximum before I had to sleep again because I was so tired.

I'm only glad that my mum was home with me and can take of me. If I was alone like I was until literally 2 days earlier, I don't know how I would have managed. I've been sick while home alone before and that was hard enough to get through. But waking up and being unable to get out of bed for an hour is a whole new level.

I've faced burnout before and I've had my body force a break on me before, but never like this. I've only read about burnouts like this in books. But reading about them doesn't help much because books don't really show us how to recognize if we're heading down that path and how to stop.

I'm at a point where my friends have told me that I should take at least an entire week off work and do nothing. They told me this before I fell ill. When I told another friend that I fell ill suddenly, he immediately said that my body is making me stop. All the people around me (except my parents, I think, since I don't tell them much to not worry them) have noticed where I'm at. I knew too but I wanted to believe that I could go for a while longer.

three bookmarks with the quote "i want to be defined by the things that i love, not the things that i hate, not the things that i'm afraid of, not the things that haunt me in the middle of the night, i just think that you are what you love" illustration

Everybody talks about burnout. Almost every content creator has spoken about dealing with burnout at least once. But it's generally about burnout specific to content creation. Out of all the people I follow across platforms and niches, I've seen only one person talk about burnout in a general sense.

I'll admit—I'm part of it too. I've only spoken about blogging slumps before. But then, creative burnouts were all I knew. Until now, I've been good at taking a measured pace in life and not overwhelming myself with things. I was always a no-sayer which led me to have a rather underwhelming life with enough time for rest. This is the first time I'm facing burnout due to my lifestyle.

That's why I'm writing over 1k words about where I'm at. All of us know what burnout is and how to deal with it in a vague sense. If you're a content creator, you probably know how to deal with creative burnouts. But make sure to watch out for generic burnouts as well. How to do that? I don't have an answer at the moment, I'm still figuring things out.

All I can do is share my story and let you know that you should take care of yourself and slow down your lifestyle if you have to. And listen to your friends! People around us make more accurate observations about us.

so, what DID i do in august?

Now that I'm done pouring my heart out and expressing my disappointment in myself, let's talk about better things.

read some books

In August, I read 13 books. That's the only part of my lifestyle that stayed relatively the same. Most of my reading occurred in the first week of the month but I'll still take it as a win.

The highlight of my reading was The Mindf*ck series by S. T. Abby. I read all five books in ONE DAY. I picked it up for the intriguing plot mixed with romance and I stayed for the characters. The main character, especially. I LOVED Lana. I loved her inner monologues and plans and confidence and just everything.

I don't know what this says about me but chapter 2 in book 3 is my comfort chapter. I reread it about 4 times after finishing the series. I absolutely love how Lana is in that chapter. If you want an addicting romance series to read and don't mind gore, I highly recommend this series!

When the internet exploded with the release of I'm Glad by Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy, I got intrigued as well and listened to the audiobook. The book has received a TON of praise and discussion—even from my friends—so I was expecting something groundbreaking. Honestly, I didn't find it to be revolutionary. I think it's mainly because I never watched iCarly and Jeanette McCurdy wasn't a part of my childhood. The book simply doesn't affect me as much. I do agree that it's a good memoir that talks about childhood fame, the lives of child actors, abuse, and more. I liked how McCurdy showed that while eating disorders are hard to heal from and can be a lifelong struggle, it is possible to have better days and be in a better place.

I also read Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro which had been waiting on my shelf for a while. I loved Never Let Me Go by the author and was excited to read a new book. Despite having read that book years back, I felt like Klara and the Sun had similar vibes in terms of writing and atmosphere. Ishiguro writes in a unique way that transports you and makes you feel with the characters while also remaining objective enough to put thought into what is actually happening in the story. I liked how the book didn't care about posing a question and answering it or having a specific theme to focus on. It may look like it is centred on AI but there are more thought-provoking topics in the book. I enjoyed annotating the book and writing down my opinions in the margins.

illustration of 5 books kept standing next to each other and a cup on the right

watched some youtube

In the second half of August, I didn't have enough time or energy to devote to reading books or watching any shows. It felt like too much energy. So I watched a lot of YouTube.

If you don't know, I'm not an avid YouTube watcher. I open the app maybe twice a month and watch a maximum of two videos at once. Video content is not my thing.

But in August, YouTube videos were the only thing providing me with a sense of peace. It mainly has to do with the type of videos I watched.

I prefer watching a specific niche of videos. I don't like videos with too much talking, movement, or noise. I prefer calm daily vlogs with subtitles instead of voice-overs or soothing voice-overs. Most of the channels I follow produce such content.

For the first time in years, I'm caught up with all the content from my subscriptions. Whenever I had a pocket of time during my day, like when I'm having breakfast or my morning milk, I play a soothing video. It doesn't matter if I'm able to watch the entire video in one sitting because these videos don't need to be watched at once. The vibes have such a calming effect on me and I really needed it.

My new favourite channel is gkyoyuki. They're a Filipino university student and I absolutely love the vibe, the editing, and especially their outfits. Here's the video that got me to subscribe to them:

Another channel that I've been loving lately is toka ~my daily life~, a Japanase YouTuber who vlogs the regular moments of their days. There is absolutely no talking in these videos and the sounds are super soothing. They also share a ton of cooking montages as they make their daily meals. I'm generally not one to watch cooking stuff—especially with meat since I'm vegetarian—but their videos are so calming, I can't help but enjoy them. It's nice to see someone spend time cooking nutritious meals for themselves. Here's the vlog that got me hooked on their videos:

Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed and need a bit of calm, I first look for new videos by KiSH-log, a Korean family vlogging their daily lives with tons of clips of their pets. I've been watching their videos for two years now and their content is always top-notch. It is surreal that I started following them when they adopted Seol, their cat, and she used to be as big as the computer mouse but now she is so big. I love her <3 Here's one of their recent videos that I absolutely loved:

Since I'm caught up with my subscribed channels, I've started trying out the recommended videos that YouTube shows me as well. I haven't found any promising channels through that, though. Possibly because I've turned my watch history off so the algorithm can't do much. I'll probably keep looking until life gets back on track and I don't watch YouTube often again.

said yes to social plans

My friends from the office (well, my team members) and I went shopping one day and completely exhausted ourselves by walking everywhere. We apparently walked about 20k steps so it was no surprise that we were all zonked by the end of the day. It was a really good day, though.

They also came over to my place to chill a couple of times and ended up staying over for the night. Although I loved inviting people to my previous home, I never felt like my current home is good enough to call people over. But these events really broke the barrier on that and I don't mind it now. The spontaneous sleepovers were quite nice. We stayed up until 3 am talking one of the times and while it clearly went in the direction of sad-and-introspective-night-talks, it was a good time.

I also went to watch a movie in theatres after a long time. My last movie in the theatre was Spiderman: No Way Home. My team made the plan and I simply showed up. I didn't know what the movie was about or even what language it was in until it began.* It's been a long time since I saw an Indian movie but I wasn't surprised that it had quite a few problematic elements. (The propaganda was strong with this one.) The emotions were done really well, though. I actually teared up at the end.

One of the weekends, we all got together and cooked dinner. It was a long affair with many mishaps and fixes and hours of cooking but eating that meal (albeit late at night) was hella satisfactory. It was a great time.

Another weekend**, I went on a long drive with a friend to a viewpoint and that was nice too. Listening to only the sounds of the water for a while was really calming and I wish I could have sat there for an hour, just breathing and being.

*This year, spontaneous Sumedha is showing up. I need to curb back the yeses, though. For my mental health.

**As you can see, my weekends were packed. There was more that I did that I'm not mentioning here. I did not take even one day to rest.

an illustration drawing of a girl using her laptop


August had a lot of ups and downs, and it led to a major down in September. Looking back, I think I lost myself in the good times that I didn't want to stop and say no to things. I wanted to continue having fun and didn't think of how it would affect me in the long run.

In one of Camille Villa's vlogs, she mentioned how she was getting some rest because she knows that her upcoming weeks will be busy. That simple sentence made me pause the video and think for a minute. I never do that. I never rest and recharge ahead of time. I always push through and assume that I will rest later. That is not a good way to live.

There are so many things that I should change about the way I plan my days, what I say yes to, and what I push myself for. Sometimes I lose track of what I'm going towards. The months feel long but they also feel short because I haven't "ticked off" many things.

I don't know. I'm feeling very reflective and mopey today as I'm writing this post. I'm still sick, it's raining outside, and I'm feeling not-so-great. I should pause the thinking till I'm in a better state.

Will I be back to blogging regularly? I don't know. I want to but I also need to figure out a way to balance my life better. We'll see. If nothing else, I'll at least post wrap-ups every month, maybe? These are the easiest posts to write since I don't need to think or plan for them. I will be sending newsletters twice a month, though. Keep an eye out for them in your inboxes.

chat with me!

How was your August? What did you do? Did you read any good books?

Have you been through a similar burnout before? Do you have any tips to prevent or overcome them? Do share them in the comments because I desperately need advice haha.

stay wordy, Sumedha
photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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  • TheRobberKnight says:

    Hey Sumedha,
    I read the book series that you mentioned in this blog - The Mindf*ck series by S. T. Abby.
    God! Okay I have to say , it was such a refreshment to read this genre. And I had an amazing time reading this book. Could not stop thinking about this for a week. I do not remember the last time I enjoyed reading a book this much. I was shipping Hadley and Lana so hard. I wish the author took a turn and made story about them (not that I hate Logan, although I did few times ).
    It had thriller, dark humor. Although few parts were cliché and dark. I cannot thank you enough for mentioning about this book. I also recommended this to all my friends.

    Also I would like to know, how do you read all your books - hardcopy, kindle or audiobooks?
    Waiting for your new article! 😉
    Have a great day! 🙂

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      Hi! I’m so glad to hear that you loved The Mindf*ck series from my recommendations! And I agree with everything you mentioned, especially Hadley and Lana. I’m happy they at least had a great friendship, though. I loved their interactions.

      I read my books through a combination of all three! I generally read most on Kindle but I’m trying to read more paperbacks and audiobooks.

      Hope you have a great day too!

      Reply ➔
  • Pooja Mahimkar says:

    Sometimes taking a break and focusing on things you love is so important. I often feel overwhelmed with social media and the deadlines and constant content creation we subject ourselves to, it is so important to remember to pause and take time off

    Reply ➔
  • Becky @ A Fool’s Ingenuity says:

    I hope you’re feeling better! How lucky that your mom was there when you feel ill as I know it’s horrible being alone and having no one to lean on when you’re sick. It’s not fun and you probably would have managed but it would have taken you longer to recover. I think we’re all guilty of ignoring signs of burn out, it’s so easy to think you’ll deal with it later as there’s still time but it’s all about balance. I haven’t blogged for a few months and part of that is probably burn out both with blogging and real life, but also I think I need to find new balance and figure out what I want to do because I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to and I need to figure out why.

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      I am feeling better now, thanks!

      Yeah I totally agree, it is about balance and also noticing when the definition of balance needs to be changed. The challenge is that it is different for every person so all of us have to go through a learning curve to figure this out.

      Reply ➔
  • Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts) says:

    Oh noooo I'm sorry to hear you were burnt out - rest is important and I hope you're taking all the self-care you need. I think I've gotten better at knowing when I'm close to burnout, but there are also times that while I think I'm good at it (and even utilize PTO to do so), I don't even notice it until it actually happens. I do think my biggest sign is the amount of sleep - I have the tendency to stress sleep when I'm close to burnout (something I started to notice at my previous job), and I also tend to become best friends with Netflix and Viki as well, which definitely happened throughout August for me (but mostly work burnout that carried over into everything else in my life). I end up ignoring reading around that time as well. I don't know if that'll be the same case for you, though, I think burnout warning signs show up differently for everyone.

    "I realized that I love my content when I spend enough time on it and don’t rush it to meet an unreasonable deadline of my own." I feel this completely, and I think it took me some time to realize this myself as well, probably years if I want to be honest with myself. I DO have deadlines for myself though, otherwise I'd just forget about blogging completely probably, but it's very loose and I think it's working out for me than a strict "post on this day or no cookies for you."

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      yeah i don’t think my burnout signs are the same as yours but i do tend to find less time to do things? maybe that’s it? i need to studiously check my patterns haha.

      yeah! lately i’ve been the same as well but i need ~some~ deadline to keep me going otherwise i might stop blogging without intending to haha.

      Reply ➔
  • Charvi says:

    I'm so sorry you had to deal with such a huge burnout! You're talking to someone who is partially burnt out and trying to catch up with the blog posts so I'm not leaving a huge ass comment but just sending hugs and hoping you take enough rest and get better soon <3

    Reply ➔
  • saima @ storieswithsaima says:

    I completely relate to the burnout feeling - being social on top of working is a lot, especially for an introvert! I'm glad you were able to get some rest at the end of the month, and I hope September is easier on you and you have more time to recharge ?

    Reply ➔
  • abookowlscorner says:

    I admire you so much for being so open about this experience, Sumedha, and am glad you got a bit of rest in this past month! I hope you're feeling more relaxed and are taking care of yourself - remember, if you need a break from blogging, you've still got our love and support! ?

    Anyway, I related to this post SOOOO much. I've never pushed myself completely to the burnout stage, but I'm a huge perfectionist and people pleaser who won't say no to stuff even when my plate is already brimming with things I have to do, so I've come close. 2019 in particular was a horrible year for me - if you're ever curious, there is an entire post about it on my blog that I haven't privated despite considering it a couple of times ? - but in a way, that year also helped me realize a ton of things about myself that were helpful in the long run. Like that, when I'm stressed, I have the tendency to take on even more work to distract myself from thinking about my problems, but that it ultimately doesn't help me at all. Thanks to that year, I've gotten a bit better at taking time off and relaxing even when it means I can't finish my work to the perfectionistic degree that I might like to. I've found that journaling and writing stories really calms me down, or being outside - which is why I always make time for walks or hikes now, even when I'm extremely busy. I've become better at taking hiatuses from blogging when I need them. But I'm afraid I don't have the perfect solution yet, either - so if you find it, let me know!

    Anyway, I really hope things work out for you, and thanks for putting this out there! ? I feel like burnout is definitely a topic we don't talk about enough!

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      Thank you for the kind words and support, Naemi! ? Although burnouts are horrible, they do teach us a lot about ourselves. After a week of being physically sick, I had a government off today and decided to simply read all day. I feel relaxed for the first time in a very long time and I should do this more often.

      We definitely should talk about burnouts often—what lead to them, how to identify them, and how to recover from them. It happens to all of us and we're all looking for better solutions. We'd probably figure them out if we discuss more.

      I hope you have a lovely September ahead!

      Reply ➔
  • Amber Elise @ Du Livre says:

    Yes, use your PTO! I need to take a blog break myself, maybe in November.

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      I will! I have a vacation plan coming up this month and I might extend a couple days in that to chill at home too. Do plan something good for November!

      Reply ➔
  • Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    That's lots of ups and downs. I hope you had good rest during much required break. i usually don't worry about blog plans and schedule or anything. It's reverse with me, I'm more comfortable going with flow. Plans makes me feel pressure. It's not like I'm all out of order, I do have a set of possible things in my mind like how many books I want to read and which I want to read but rest of the things is spontaneous and as I have to make things work around my daughter's schedule, if I make plans they mostly never turns out as I want. so I just stick to how things has been working so far.

    Reply ➔