How to manage feeling burnt out as a side-hustler

Emma Simpson from GalCal shares her top tips and advice for staying motivated outside the 9 to 5


By Ally Faughnan


For Mental Health Awareness Week, we are opening up conversations around burnout, loneliness, self-love, and more in our burn baby burnout series. Check out Mind for more advice and support about mental health.


So many people, especially in the creative industries, have experienced feeling burnt out at some point. There seems to be this constant underlying feeling that everyone needs to be doing more, having side-hustles on side-hustles. Emma works in event production, as well as running the cultural event calendar GalCal, and relates to this saying “it’s about constantly teaching myself that it's ok to take time off.”


Social media is also encouraging people to constantly show themselves ‘living their best lives'. Now, more than ever, we need transparency on social media about the realities of people’s careers. As it is so important to find what works for you, I spoke with Emma about how she navigates both the 9 to 5 and the side-hustle life.



You balance GalCal alongside a full-time job, what motivates you to keep going?


Well honestly it’s pushing myself all the time, somedays I really have no energy and on a daily weekly reminder that I don't do it for me, I build GalCal for everyone to feel part of a community and if to make sure people see bad arse events happening all week from mega gals!!


How do you manage feelings of burnout as a side-hustler?


For me, it's about constantly teaching myself that it's ok to take time off. For a long time, I struggled with the idea that I couldn't have time off and just sit and binge Netflix. I took the time to understand what helps me feel refreshed, for me I know working out or taking the afternoon to cook myself a nice meal, really brings me back down to earth and slows me down to a healthy place.


”How can you help others and do more for others if you cannot do it for yourself.”

That being said, I don't always live what I preach, with such an unstable political and social environment I feel it now more than ever that I need to do me. But how can you help others and do more for others if you cannot do it for yourself right?


So when you are feeling down, how do you get yourself out of a rut?


I take time off, go to the gym, write my goals for the week, I evaluate what got me in the rut in the first place. Did I work too hard? Am I eating good food? Have I taken time for myself? Then I look back and plan ahead with positive plans.



Are there any people you follow online who you think are really good at showing the ups and the downs of their career?


FAV Q!! So @nataliebyrne is always honest and super talented, she really tries to portray an honest freelance life. @curvynyome is a plus size model and really tries to be honest and inspiring all over social. @theenthusiast.co she is so great encouraging enthusiasm for the everyday and the extraordinary. She also created the #happytomoveforyou badges!!


Any other advice for side-hustling and keeping up with the mayhem of the creative industry?


Do you, don't worry about what others are doing, you are on a journey and what you do is all that matters. I always try to stay inspired by people on instagram that are living their best life, it helps me push to do the same thing.


Want to find other creatives to help you through the chaos of the industry? Check out Emma’s amazing cultural events calendar GalCal.