As a creative, it is satisfying to know that you are doing a job that aligns with your true nature, to be creative and create. However, life is a balance of give and take. What goes up must come down, and for every positive, there is a negative as well. In this case, while working in the creative field can be a gratifying and fulfilling experience, you are going to have days that you dread what you are doing. Some days, projects, thoughts, and designs just seem to flow effortlessly. So much so, it’s like you’re tapped into some vast creative bubble where inspiration and innovation come to you easily, with little to no effort. However, no matter how many good days you have, creative burnout is evitable. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us, and is part of the creative process (and the learning). The biggest thing is how you handle it, but before you can go on to figuring out what to do to fight creative burnout, you first need to know how to identify what is considered to be creative burnout accurately.
Am I Burnout Creatively?
If you answer yes to most or all of these questions, then you are suffering from creative burnout and need to take a time out:
• You are constantly feeling anxious and tense.
• Everything is starting to feel pointless, and you are losing sense of direction.
• You dread waking up in the morning and have a hard time getting out of bed.
• Things that you are generally passionate about don’t seem to strike a chord anymore.
• You are starting to have trouble completing your routine tasks. It is no longer effortless and now seems like a chore.
• While it never happened before, now people who are highly motivated and inspiration are a great annoyance to you.
What Can I Do to Fight Creative Burnout?
As we mentioned, creative burnout can and will happen. It’s a part of the creative process, but the trick is to overcome your block so that you can emerge stronger than ever. Otherwise, if the burn gets too deep, it can put a serious damper on your earning power and overall mental well-being. Fight creative burnout by implementing these steps into your daily life.
• Take a break and step away. Sometimes when you get to close, it can hard to see. Overstimulating your mind on something that isn’t flowing can only hurt the process, so if you are feeling burnt out, step away and take a break. Go do something else, anything. This can include taking a walk, drawing, read, watch a movie, wash the dishes, etc. You’ll be surprised how you can gain sudden bursts of insight when you are doing something else, especially mundane things.
• Stay positive. Remember, mindset is everything, and your mind has the power to make or break you. Realize and try to remember that nothing good comes without some form of “struggle.” It may help to change your definitions, so instead of identifying a stressor as a “struggle,” think of it as a “test.” Even something as simple as changing the definition behind an event can have drastic effects.
• As we mentioned before, sometimes, when we get to close, it can be hard to see. So besides stepping away, gain another perspective, or two, as well. Talk to other people. Brainstorm with them and hear things from their perspective, so you can see what they see. Sometimes other people can hold the insight that you need to ignite that creative spark again.
• Staying hydrated and eating healthy to help keep the balance between a healthy body and mind. While you may not realize the correlation, if your body is malnourished or dehydrated, thinking with a clear head is going to be difficult. Concentrating and maintaining your emotions also becomes harder, as your mind becomes slow and sluggish.
• Learn new skills and never stop learning. The more you know, the better “handle” you will have on things. While it may seem cliché, but knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better you become. Everything is connected, so you’ll be surprised. When you learn a new skill, you see the ways it can help build upon your existing skills, helping the puzzle come together.
• Going along with staying positive, learning to go with the flow is very helpful and will help lower the amount of stress you put on yourself. Stress is a killer, and can really bog down creativity, so just try to ride the wave the best you can. Remember, you are human and to err is human, so pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Remember, burn out happens to all of us at some point or another, you will get through it!