I don’t need to tell you how hard floral designers work. It looks so pretty from the outside doesn’t it? But the reality is messy. And exhausting. And that's why we need to learn how to recover from burnout.
What is burnout?
I had to jump on the Googles to get a helpful definition.
Burnout: the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion.
It’s fascinating to realise there isn’t yet a formal Oxford-dictionary-esque definition as it applies to the human experience for burnout, even though it’s thrown around a lot in conversation.
Although, honestly, I feel like this definition applies to us just the same as it does a piece of machinery. It does feel like you’re running on empty, like you’ve depleted all your energy sources and need a few months of hard core rest to even think about resuming a normal week.
Yes, it's super-common in floristry
In my experience, the topic of burnout pops up a lot in the floral design industry. Most florists I’ve talked to have, at one time or another, hit the wall of physical exhaustion because of our job.
And I’m no different. It took me about three years to realise I needed to change my approach and actually have a plan to recover from burnout.
Albert Einstein provided that eloquent definition of insanity, as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.
That was totally me.
I remember doing almost 100 weddings in one year, along with our annual Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas extravaganzas. Oh, plus we had a remarkably busy retail shop to manage as well.
It’s a wonder I didn’t hit the wall completely (which, in hindsight I totally attribute to having the most amazing business / life partner).
3 tips: how to recover from burnout
1. Make a plan ahead of time.
For me, I learned that my body needs at least as much time as the busy period itself to physically recover from the hecticness. That means, for something like Valentine’s Day, I know I need to take care of myself and not plan much for the 4-5 days after 14 February.
These days, I know I need to actually put time in my calendar for rest. I will very intentionally mark the days and give myself full permission to take it easy. Skip any commitments and make my physical recovery the most important task for the day.
2. Take care of your mind, body + soul
Your body is wrecked. It’s obvious when you move all those buckets and are on your feet for so many hours in the day. Double your veggie intake, drink more water and rest as much as you can.
But don’t forget about your mind and your soul – they too need to recover from burnout. Get off social media and skip the mindless television. Make space for activities that fuel you – not just activities that numb you.
Do something creative that is totally different to floral design. Jump on YouTube and watch a few tutorials on doodling, watercolour or hand lettering. Trying something totally new.
3. Ask for help
This one I’m still working on, but I know it helps so much. Don’t be shy about lining up more pairs of hands or family members to step in and give you assistance.
When I first started out, I thought I had to “prove myself”. So I did so much of the on site set-up work myself.
Please learn from my most stubborn self: enlist the help of a few trained monkeys to assist you on the day. The simple act of asking for help can go a long way to helping you recover from burnout.
So often we think we need more designers to help us. We’re looking to replicate our own skill set. When in actual fact, what we need is more hands. More positivity, a bust-your-butt work ethic and people who have great taste in music and make you laugh.
More hands does make for light work. That is always true in floristry.
Make space to recover from burnout
Whatever your recovery experience looks like, stay curious about what works for you. You might find investing in a new workbench and great work boots actually speed up your recovery as well.
Friends of mine have also found removing gluten from their diet and visiting an osteotherapist regularly makes all the difference in the world.
Remember, your physical body is such an integral part of us being able to do our jobs. Respect it and treat it well. Make time for recovery and you will notice a dramatic difference.
Flower Boss Bootcamp
Finally, if you need help with your business, check out my Flower Boss Bootcamp. I created this one-of-a-kind program specifically to help floral designers, just like you, master the business of flowers. I'd love to see you there!
P.S. I've done a podcast on this topic which you may like. Find it on Spotify here or listen on the player below.