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The Burnt-Out Creative: An Interview with Photographer Bethany Schrock

August 29, 2017

Photos courtesy of @bethcath

 

To slow down and give your body, mind, and spirit the break they deserve can be a difficult (and daunting) task, especially if you’re part of today’s generation of young entrepreneurs and go-getters.

 

Minnesota-based photographer Bethany Schrock learned the significance of taking a step back in May when a doctor told her she has a benign tumor sitting on an optic nerve of her brain, causing profound pain in her left arm and occasional psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (which stem from psychological stress). The 22-year-old attributes this obstacle in her health to the busyness she subscribed to when she launched her professional photography career four years ago.

 

Since May, Bethany has temporarily withdrawn from shooting professionally to heal and focus on herself. She emphasized how challenging it was to surrender all the photoshoots she had lined up for this year, but it was a crucial decision she needed to make.

 

“If you neglect yourself you place your value no longer in your wellness and your wholeness, but then you start to place it on money, or on goals and achievements, and what other people might think of you … One thing I’ve really learned is that my body is actually here to help me, and I shouldn’t be making a war with these signals saying that I need to take a nap, or that I need to say no to this gig, even though I really want to. My body is here to help me and not to hurt me,” she said.

 

Now that Bethany is learning to accept this reality, she said moving forward she plans to put more time into fewer projects to improve her health and to produce quality over quantity.

“I’m going to treat each job opportunity I get with a lot more weight. If I’m going to decide to take the job I’m going to put all my energy into it, and it’s going to be worth it to me because I’m choosing to sacrifice time off,” said Bethany. She added she wants to be pickier with the projects she takes on, instead of trying to manage several jobs at once.

 

Additionally, she said during this health journey she has discovered the benefits of allowing her body to restore itself through various outlets such as journaling, going for walks, painting, and researching how her personality type affects her work life – which she said has been fascinating to study.

 

“Figure out what recharges you and put that in your schedule as important as answering your emails is, because if you’re not 100 per cent, how do you expect to run a business? … The worst thing that could happen is you’re late for a deadline, but you getting that [rest] will give you a clear mind, better decision making, and hopefully better time organization so that you don’t make that mistake again,” she said.

 

To ease the fear of “not being productive,” Bethany said she is trying to eliminate the word ‘should’ from her vocabulary to reduce the feeling of obligation, and rather increase intention.

 

“I have moments where I say, ‘I should be getting better’ or ‘I shouldn’t be feeling this way,’ and that all stunts any feeling emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. I think having unrealistic expectations of where you should be or should be going is being too hard on yourself … I think when you take that word out of your vocabulary it starts to change your mindset of yourself, and of other people, and of your work life.”

 

Overall, Bethany underlined that you don’t need to desert your passion and creativity for your health, but it’s important to develop a balance so you can continue to do the things you love.

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