What is Creative Burnout?
Burnout at it’s core is exhaustion. Whether that’s an emotional, mental or physical exhaustion it all plays into the burnt out feeling. But what causes the burnout? For me, it typically follows prolonged stress, intense self-doubt, feeling stick in a rut or struggling to manage an unmanageable workload.
It’s rarely just one thing, it’s usually a combination of many things feeling way to intense and no real answers or solutions showing themselves.
Exhaustion = Burnout
When experiencing Creative Burnout there are three ways I use to reignite my Creative
1 – REST
Coming out of a burnout isn’t always easy but it can be done. Burnout does require a time of rest…whether physical rest or mental rest.
The number one thing to do when experiencing burnout is to give yourself permission to REST.
That means to slow down, take long walks in the sunshine, veg out with your family and watching trash TV, or take long naps.
Rest, however, does not mean you hide away. On the contrary, rest means to stop the craziness but not to stop and hibernate away from the world.
2 – Feed Your Creativity
Doing something creative actually provides a spark that can bring you out of burnout. It seems counterintuitive since your burnout stemmed from your creative practice in the first place. My suggestion isn’t to pick up where you were when the burnout happened, what I encourage you to do is try something brand new.
Take a class
Search out classes on topics or mediums you have never tried. Take a class on the business side of things or find something way off from your normal, like Album Cover Design or Embroidery. Trying something new can create new ideas in your own work.
Share your craft with your kids, niece/nephew, or grandmother
If you haven’t tried teaching a child to watercolor, draw or even collage…you’re missing out. Kids are so free and fearless. They try new things and can be so bold with their choices it never ceases to amaze me how excited I am to get back to my own work after creating with kids.
3 – Try adding a new medium
Adding a new medium to your current style forces you to relearn your process and try new things to incorporate the new medium.
Try adding ink, pastels to your watercolors. Add watercolor and gouache together.
What if you added pastels or charcoal to acrylic paint?
Make marks with your current medium of choice…scan in the marks and play with them digitally.
If you’re a digital artist and feeling uninspired, print out your work and tear them into pieces and try collaging or art journaling.
Be Inspired by others
I suggest thing with a warning label. Looking to other creatives for inspiration or even distraction should be done when you are in the right head space. If you do this to early, you may do more harm then good. If you are at the place where other creatives work inspires you, gives you new ideas and insight into your process then go for it, but only when you are no longer feeling the overwhelming self-doubt that brought on the burnout in the first place.
I’d love to hear how you deal with burnout and what suggestions you’d add to the list.