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The Rise and Retreat from Influencer Culture: Stories of Burnout and Renewal

burnout due to being an influencer

Hannah Warling, once a prominent virtual fashionista with 1.8 million followers, decided to step away from the influencer limelight in July 2023. The relentless pursuit of virality and the pressure to constantly create content left her feeling unfulfilled and spiraling into depression. Now, as a 9-to-5 worker, she feels more content and fulfilled, having grown disinterested in the influencer lifestyle.

Warling’s story reflects a growing trend of influencers walking away from the glitzy world of influencing, despite the industry’s projected $24 billion value. The influencer market has tripled in popularity since the pandemic, with online fame becoming attainable to everyday individuals.

It’s a grind

Despite the allure of influencer success, some, like Ana Wolfermann and Abigail Grace, have found themselves disillusioned by the unrelenting pressure to perform for social media. Wolfermann, after achieving significant success, realized that the job was too self-obsessive and lacked fulfillment. Financial stress has also played a role in influencers like Grace seeking more stable employment.

Georgie Morley, a wellness vlogger-turned-wedding photographer, highlights the mental toll of social media, where self-worth is often tied to followers and income. For Morley, creating boundaries in such an environment became increasingly difficult. Moreover, fluctuations in number of followers often made a huge impact on mental well-being, since that was the sole yardstick of success.

A new chapter unfolds

Warling’s transition from influencer to a traditional job has brought her newfound happiness and fulfillment. While initially met with skepticism from her parents, she now thrives in a collaborative work environment where she can contribute to something larger than herself.

These stories underscore the challenges and complexities of influencer culture, from burnout and financial stress to a search for genuine fulfillment and purpose. As influencers reevaluate their priorities and seek healthier work-life balances, the industry may witness a shift towards more sustainable practices and a greater emphasis on well-being.

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