For those of us who work in creative fields, feeling mentally drained or creatively stifled can prevent us from accomplishing what we need to get done - and enjoying what we do! I've been working ridiculously long hours lately in preparation for the holiday season, and I've started to notice myself struggling to find my creative flow. When this happens, I have several things I do to beat the burnout and get back in action. Below are 5 of my most recommended tips for overcoming creative burnout and getting yourself re-inspired!
1. Look at pretty things for 30 minutes. Sounds fun, doesn't it? It is! Put your feet up for a few and grab your favorite hot beverage (I have a mild addiction to soy chais). If you're working online, close whatever you're working on. Then take a half hour to read your favorite blogs, look around Etsy or online galleries, or browse through Pinterest. Or turn on your favorite music and thumb through a magazine or design book. Spending just a few minutes away from your work while you allow yourself the time to enjoy the work of others takes off the pressure and subconsciously reminds you why you like creating in the first place!
2. Leave your workspace. Just get up, walk out, and don't look back! If you live in the city, take a short walk and observe the shops, architecture, street art, and people. If you live in the country, spend a few minutes breathing fresh air and basking in nature. Or get in your car, on a bus or the train and visit a museum for one hour. Or walk your dog. Or go get a coffee. Or just do a quick drive-by of the nearest Anthropologie (I wrote an entire post about how I pass by their window displays when I need to feel inspired!). It doesn't matter where you go or what you do, as long as you get out of your house, studio or office for a little while. You'll feel surprising refreshed when you return.
3. Create for Fun. I'll admit that I have the hardest time with this one. Although I've gotten better over the past year or so, I am a workaholic. And what I do for a living happens to be creative, so it's difficult for me to separate the two. When I'm feeling creativity block, it's often at least partly because I'm thinking only in terms of work and my businesses. Even if I have to force myself (!), I've found that putting work aside for an hour or two and starting a project just for fun rewires my brain. I'm reminded how much I enjoy the process of creating aside from work. The pressure for perfection that I feel when I'm making something for my job disappears for a while, and I feel recharged. Even if your job isn't in a creative field, giving yourself some time to work on something you enjoy can make your work week a little more enjoyable as well.
5. Banish Self Doubt. This is the most important tip of all, because it happens to everyone. We compare ourselves to others, feel guilty for not accomplishing all of our goals, question our abilities, or convince ourselves we'll never be good enough. Guess what? There is at least one person out there who thinks you are amazing, admires your work, and feels inspired by you. I promise. If you didn't have talent, you wouldn't create in the first place. When I'm doubting myself, I make little signs with positive words or quotes and hang them up in my workspace. Every time I glance at one of them, I am reminded that I can do whatever I set my mind to do. Try it! Just grap a few pieces of colorful scrap paper and a marker, and write out some single, powerful words like "talented," "inspired," "unique," and "amazing." I also have positive typographic artwork hanging all around me in my studio to help encourage me when I'm working.
What do you do to get out of creative ruts?
Images from top: 1. Bubby dog! 2. My Pinterest page. 3. Holiday Anthro window, via Anthropologie on Flickr. 4. Creative inspiration poster. 5. My idea journal. 6. Positive artwork via bubby & bean's shop.
FILED UNDER: inspiration