Burnout is a bitch. It sneaks up on you so easily, especially if you are passionate. Most creative people are juggling a regular job alongside their creative projects, and when you throw self promotion and networking into the mix it’s easy for time get away from you. But if you’re not careful, all of that passion, fire and energy can quickly turn into an exhausting treadmill. So here's some no-nonsense tips on keeping sane without being less driven...
1. Create just for the joy of it.
Burnout interferes with your creativity, gets in the way of idea generation, and makes you less productive. You can be grinding away at your passion and it just feels like hard work. One thing I found that helps is to spend some time just creating for the joy of it. Make, write, paint, photograph. Maybe even just doodle - just do it for the love of it. Don’t think about selling it, sharing it on social media, or leveraging it for the business end of what you do. Allow the creativity back in. If you can create without restraint it allows your brain to roam free again. Without an audience you can do things differently, even cover it in swear words and little dicks if you like! Try it! It’s satisfying, and can really take the pressure off once you’re enjoying yourself again. It’s working smarter instead of harder.
2. Make a point of practicing self-care.
When there is always something to get done (and there is!) it’s very hard to put your needs first. Even simple things like drinking enough water, taking the time to make a decent lunch or (or making time to pee!) can easily get forgotten. But if you don’t take care of yourself you will keep struggling. You wouldn’t treat an employee that way, so make a promise to yourself right now to treat yourself with the same love and care you do other people. Don’t work while you’re eating, take regular breaks and stay hydrated. Have coffee when you make time to sit and enjoy it, not as fuel to wake your tired body. Everything will wait for you, and you will feel much more able to achieve your goals when you are feeling refreshed.
3. Think Positively
What I mean is, think positively about yourself. A tough one for some, I know! Remind yourself what you are capable of. Think about what you’ve achieved. Maybe even what you have survived. There is only one you, and your voice is unique. Life is a precious gift, and when we hate on ourselves we damage our chances of living it to the fullest. So write a little love letter or put some positive post-it notes around the place. Say it out loud if you can! It makes pure sense. People who have a stronger level of self belief experience less stress in challenging situations, and when they tackle stuff successfully, their self belief actually increases. Start small if you need to, but believe in yourself and start achieving those confidence goals and it will lift you up. Imagine how much you could achieve with all that extra confidence!
4. Give yourself a break
A proper break. The work isn’t going anywhere. It will wait for you while you have some time to rejuvenate . Have a rest, a nap, bath. Or anything that that makes you feel more relaxed. Then don’t beat yourself up for it. You work hard, you’ve earned it! And if you don’t feel better after all that then take some time to re-assess what you’re doing. We create to feel fulfilled and happy, so don’t be frightened of challenging how that works until you get the balance right. Because you only get one life, and it’s worth living well. You deserve it!
5. Get Inspired!
It took me a long time to learn this one - but it's okay to be inspired by other artists! Yes you should be looking to create original work, you don't want to be a copycat but it's actually really inspiring to see how other people approach a subject, explore new mediums and enjoy new concepts. So take time to mooch around a gallery if you can, or just browse online, there's so much out there to re energise you. Keep an eye out for my next post for juicy examples!