Maggie McMuffin on Spotting, Preventing, and Healing Burnout
My first official foray into the sex industry was as a truck stop stripper in middle America. While it wasn’t as hardcore as the big city club I’d eventually wind up in, it was still more than I was fully prepared for. I was lucky enough to have senior dancers take me under their wings and offer me tips. One of the most important ones was when a dancer of 15 years told me “You need a day off”.
No! I was in a routine. I was making money. I was fine. I was just getting short with customers and whining in the dressing room and asking the DJ to play slower songs instead of the upbeat ones I’d started out with.
That’s when I learned what burnout is. It can happen in any industry but is really prevalent in the sex industry. Online branches of it, like AP Clips, doesn’t have the benefit of nightly face to face conversation with peers so I wanted to write a quick article about how to spot burnout and how to handle it.
Your first round of burnout will probably creep up on you. Like me, you may not notice it at all. It’s a general bleh feeling towards any and all things work related while also feeling a bit like you’re ready to fight someone.
The easiest way to see it is in your reactions to customers. Are you annoyed by their very presence, even if they’re offering money or compliments? Are twitter notifications driving you bonkers? You might have burnout.
Likewise, think about how you’re interacting with every aspect of this. Feeling uninspired? Lacking drive to do even the bare minimum? Classic signs.
Worse, this might extend to your feelings about you. A large part of making content is doing it even when you don’t feel particularly sexy but burnout can make you feel like a total loser. You won’t even be able to tell what about yourself you dislike, which means you can’t do anything to change it. How do you throw highlighter on existential dread?
The best and most effective treatment for burnout is taking time off. Since online work isn’t fully in person, that’s much easier to do here.
Taking time off might mean a couple of days where you don’t respond to any messages, don’t post anything, and do a complete social media detox. If you go this route, be sure to leave some sort of message on all of your sites saying you’re taking some time off but you’ll be back soon!
This might not be realistic for you (especially right now when we’re all sheltered in place). You might be worried about losing momentum or standing. If that’s the case you can schedule posts to go live during your break. That’s one of the beautiful things about the internet!
If you can’t take time off entirely, try to schedule time off during the day. Only do one shoot instead of two. Work on only shooting or editing that day rather than both. Give yourself smaller tasks that don’t require as much focus or time and then use the rest of the day to practice self care.
Remember: your content quality will suffer if you are suffering so you might as well slow down.
Even the most workaholic models I know (and trust me, as a textbook Capricorn I know a few) will get burned out from working too hard. See if you can notice anything specific that caused it for you and set boundaries around that thing. Is Premiere Pro just sapping your brain? Take the time to watch tutorials and practice skills so editing goes by faster in the future. Lighting set up giving you literal headaches? Pop an aspirin before shooting and let yourself sit in the dark with some chill music when your done. And I mean done with shooting, clean-up can wait a few minutes.
Schedule days off. In the past I’ve gotten so excited about various projects I’ve wound up with one day off in the entire month. When this happens, I create an event that just says DO NOTHING and stick to it. Usually if I devote an entire 24 hours to not working it’s the same as taking a day off to sleep when you’ve got the flu; the next morning I have a list of ideas and a refueled excitement about how cute I am!
To all the newbies out there, please take care of yourselves. And if you get burnt out it doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for producing or performing: it just means you need a break!