What Is Creative Burnout And How To Combat It
Have you been procrastinating lately? Feeling too frustrated or tired to pursue your creative projects? Well if you feel that your creative taps are running dry then you might just be having a creative burnout. Creative burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion around creative work.
Whether you are someone working in the creative industry or an artistic hobbyist that dabbles in arts and design. You might just be facing a creative burnout at the moment. But fret not, there are a few ways you can combat this.
1. Sleeping Habits and Exercise
How have you been lately? As young creatives, you may tend to create and forget the world around you. Sometimes even forget to take care of yourselves. If you have been feeling exhausted lately, maybe you have been staying up too late for too long.
Physical exhaustion over a long period can cause your creative juices to run dry. It is also important to get up and stretch every now and then and not sit at our desks all day. Regular exercise can positively impact serotonin levels in your brain.
Raising your levels of serotonin boosts your mood and overall sense of well-being. It can also help improve your appetite and sleep cycles. You can refer to this article to find out more about exercising and serotonin levels (Exercise, Depression, and the Brain (healthline.com). This is important to have energy in creating and preventing creative burnout. Besides, it’s good to get some sweat going and get active.
2. Don’t Diminish Yourself
Social media can be a double-edged sword that contributes to your creative burnout. On one hand, you can follow many great artists and creatives alike and be in awe of their works. On the other hand, over time you may start to compare yourself and think your own works are not good enough.
You could even just feel demotivated by the constant input you get from social media that disrupts your own creative output hours. This is why it’s important to be mindful of how you use social media and take time for your own creative projects. Mindlessly scrolling through your feed might make you lose track of your own creative goals. It’s important to draw a line between your time on social media and your creative time to prevent overthinking and self-doubt.
3. Waiting for Inspiration to Strike
Many creatives would procrastinate because they would wait for inspiration to strike. However, oftentimes that’s not what happens. This mentality can cause creatives to struggle with basic work because starting a project is often the hardest. This is why it’s important to just go for it.
A good tip is to try something small first as a starting point of your day. Even clearing your space might help to set your intentions and make a project more pleasurable. Start with a small to-do list or a clear but simple plan on how you would like to proceed that would make it easier for you.
It also helps to take off the pressure of creating something amazing right off the bat, instead opt for something you can do easily and work from there. Sketching out ideas is a good way to visualise a starting point, and it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be something you can work with. Personally, this has helped me come out with new designs, and sometimes it helps my idea development process in creating.
4. Practicing Mindfulness
When your mind is in turmoil it is often hard to create, mental health is very important to creatives. After all, we use our minds to come up with our creative ideas, which is why it’s important to treat ourselves right. Starting by having a healthy breakfast or some food before working, creating can take up quite a bit of energy. Perhaps getting something sweet would help, or your favourite beverage before working on your project.
It is also important to check in with yourself, are you comfortable with your environment? Addressing any issues you might have beforehand might help with your burnout. You could go to your favourite café or find an open co-working space. Identify your workstyle and ask yourself, are you the type to prefer a quiet space or an environment with some background noise? Do you prefer working alone or together with people? Perhaps this may help you feel less stress whilst working.
5. Take a break
If you are still feeling burnt out perhaps it’s time to take a breather. Take a day off and explore a place you have never been. It can be nearby, in the city or you could even book an Airbnb with some friends. If you are unable to go out you can grab a book, bake or cook and even game with some friends at home.
You could even call up your family or friends and catch up with them. Surround yourself with things that you like or make you feel better. Or even just take a nap and try to not think about work for a day. Stress is the enemy of creativity, hence it is important that you try to release some stress for a day or two after working hard for a long period of time. Catch on your favourite shows or watch a movie. A break can help you rediscover your purpose and find motivation again.
Identifying that you have creative burnout and why you feel burnt out is the first step to tackling it. Everyone would have faced a creative burnout from time to time, but these methods have been able to help me when I’m stuck in a creative burnout. Remember that it’s good to practice mindfulness and taking good care of ourselves especially during these times. Wishing you good luck in combating your creative burnouts, take your time, and don’t beat yourself up for it!
If you’re interested to further read about combatting burnout in different phases of life, check out these articles on 5 Practical Ways To Deal With Work Burnout Amidst Working From Home and How To Deal With Burnout When There Is No Time To Catch A Break.