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Burnout Killing the Joy of Your Hobby-Business? Here's How to Fight It

Protect the side hustle.
by Pia Regalado
Sep 14, 2021
Photo/s: Shutterstock

With every hand-knotted bag that she sells under the long-running quarantine, Jamila Padua hopes to spread the word about keeping a minimalist lifestyle. It's a side hustle and passion project combined, until she felt the pressure of juggling it with her day job as a brand manager.

Like many others who turned their hobbies into successful home-based businesses, Padua is worried that the pressures of remote work and rising infections might kill her passion, among other things that is supposed to help her through the pandemic.

"For some months I had to stop because it was really bad, the stress that it brought to me. I realized na 'ah, baka this is not the right time to have this business'," she told reportr.

Padua owns Knotable, an online store of handcrafted bags that was inspired by a pasalubong bag from a friend who traveled to Laos. The brand's signature is the macramé knotting technique.

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On the opposite end of the stress spectrum is Paula Crespo, a shopping coordinator who opened Little Oven at the start of the pandemic because she feared retrenchment. For her, it was an opportunity to be rewarded while doing what she loves: baking. She sees stress as a fuel for her to keep going.

"I believe that baking for others is more fulfilling for me. Reading their positive feedbacks and knowing that they appreciate my baked goodies motivates me to continue what I've started and eventually make innovations out of it," Crespo said.

UDD vocalist Armi Millare spoke about how not to burn out while doing what you love. Just like a job, a hobby also requires attention and dedication, she said in a Facebook post. Unlike a job, a hobby is free from resposibilities, enriching life without expectations.

"A hobby is that safe place," she said.

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If you're good at it, should you sell it?

While pursuing your passion and getting paid for it is tempting, it can also be stressful which can eventually lead to burnout, life coach Hasmin Miroy told reportr.

Remember the saying "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life"? Creating a hobby-job out of pleasurable activities can be beneficial because you won't have to force yourself to learn it -- it comes out naturally, Miroy said.

People turn to monetizing their  pasttimes as an expression of self, like arts and crafts, or to address financial woes. "It's also good for their mental health as well," said Miroy.

Padua came out of her six-month hiatus when an aunt ordered seven macramé bags, each taking seven hours to finish. Work was manageable then, and the task was gratifying, even when it gave her calloused hands.

"It's very important that you get into a business na you really love or very close to your heart," she said.

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It also became a routine. There will be times when you'd have to bake cookies or knot ties to finish a bag after your full-time job. Unlike a hobby when you can set it aside or finish it at a time when you're more relaxed, making it a business venture means you're meeting a deadline because someone's paying for it.

Crespo said there was a time when she felt overwhelmed by bulk of orders during the Christmas season. Demand was high, and she was handling Little Oven on her own. Before it became a business, she was happy just trying out new recipes.

"Those factors sort of overshadowed the enjoyment a bit since I'm doing it now for the money and not just as a hobby just like before," she said.

There the risk of spending less time on the actual hobby to fulfill the needs of the hobby-job, thus killing the pleasure, life coach Miroy said.

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"It can become a routine, magiging ordinary na siya. When it becomes ordinary, you'll lose your motivation in doing it. 'Pag lumaki ang demand, you'll get tired of that, you'll lose your interest," she said.

How to avoid burnout

It's a must to address the burnout head-on instead of shifting to a different hobby or business altogether.

"Kahit lumipat ka ng ibang trabaho, lumipat ka ng ibang business, mangyayari at mangyayari siya. Why? Kasi ang burnout is caused by excessive and prolonged stress e kasama 'yan sa buhay natin. Kapag 'di natin alam paano siya i-deal, it will just be a cycle,"  said.

The life coach cited 3As on how to address it: awareness, acknowledge, and action.

Awareness is figuring out what is causing or triggering burnout. Could it be the bulk of orders? Is it the high expectations of people that push you to question your abilities?

"The moment that you are able to determine kung ano nagti-trigger o ano nagko-cause nun, next time you will be able to avoid that. Hindi hobby ang problema e," she said.

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Acknowledge is answering how you feel about the triggers. Do you feel anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry? You have to also acknowledge that you need support in dealing with it.

"Ayan kasi 'yung mga pinayagan natin, emotions na hindi natin na-process. When we are able to acknowledge it, we can be able to deal with it effectively."

Action is deciding to take control of the situation. "Ano ngayon 'yung outcome na gusto mong makita? That's the time that you can begin to taking action, start taking care of your physical and mental health."

Crespo turns to Netflix or boxing when she needed an off-time from baking. For Padua, it's about taking time to rest and enjoying life, "not only about earning money from my full-time job and this sideline but at the same time just being me enjoying what I love," she said.

Musician Millare also shared some hobbies that can help relax your mind and feed your soul, like playing with Legos, doodling, playing video games, learning an instrument, or doing absolutely nothing.

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"Get a hobby, get a job and try to love both. Do not be a slave to either one or pin your entire identity on who you are at work," Millare said.

"Let’s all take it easy on ourselves. We’re all trying to find our way."

Hasmin Miroy is one of the many professional life coaches in Life Coach Philippines. Check out this page for their services.

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