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Tips for Avoiding Creative Burn Out

Tips and tricks on how to keep yourself feeling passionate and energized when it comes to working on your creative projects. Working as a creative can be exhausting. Even when you love what you do, it's easy to get swept up in the deadlines and pressure. Before you know it, you're feeling burnt out and everything you do feels like a struggle. Few things can bring your artistic endeavors to a screeching halt faster than creative burn-out. Creative burn out doesn't care if you've got an entire notebook full of million dollar ideas for art projects, comic books, videos, songs, or whatever. Being burnt-out artistically means that the passion to create has been effectively drained from your soul. Even if you do manage to get something produced, it won't be your best work. Your fans and clients can tell. So, let's see what we can do to help ward off the burn-out goblins! Tip #1 - Get Plenty of (GOOD) Sleep! I know this one seems obvious, but you and I both know how easy it is to talk yourself into staying up late when you feel like you're on a roll. While I absolutely do not encourage you to fight against your inspiration, make sure that you're stopping at a reasonable time and giving yourself plenty of time to rest up. Another big tip I have is to make sure the room you're sleeping in either has every little L.E.D and glowing light source covered and blocked. If this seems unreasonable, try using one of those little eye mask thingies. I've been absolutely shocked by how much my sleep improves when I make sure that there are no light sources glowing through my eyelids while I'm trying to sleep. Making sure you're break gets enough GOOD sleep every night/day is incredibly important to avoiding creative burn-out. Your brain can get tired, just like the rest of your body. If you make sure it gets enough time to recharge, you'll be less likely to feel like you have to push through Jell-O to make a thought. Tip #2 - Take ACTUAL Breaks during the day Making sure that you get plenty of sleep is a great start, but you'll need to make sure you give your creative muscles a bit of a breather during your work day as well. That means taking a few minutes every couple hours or so to completely disconnect from what you're doing. This is a great time to take role-call of your personal needs. Grab a drink, stretch out, enjoy a snack, or just give your pets a snuggle. I highly recommend moving around a bit while you take a break. Take a short walk, stretch your arms out, get the blood flowing to all your extremities again! A pretty big work hazard for creatives who work in a stationary position for hours at a time is not getting enough activity. This can lead to blood clots, muscle issues, and weight gain, among other things. It's just always a good idea to remind your body that you know how all of its parts move a couple of times a day. Make sure, that whatever you do during your breaks, has absolutely NOTHING to do with your creative work. That's the whole point of a "break." We're not talking about switching tasks, that's a whole other tool to avoid burnout that we'll get to later. Tip #3 - Set Reasonable Hours Another big struggle that independent creatives tend to have is time management. Spending every waking moment of your life working on creative projects, content creation, and/or social promotion, is how you throw yourself head-first into artistic burn out. Doing what you love can lose its glimmer when you don't set up boundaries on how much time you'll spend on specific tasks. Planning how you'll spend your time can be a great way to avoid burn out. It can take a bit in order to figure out the best way to schedule your time, but once you find what works for you, it can be a real game changer. Your schedule could simply be a specific period of time every day that you spend working on being creatively productive. If you're looking for something a little more rigid, or have more specific timelines to work within, you can plan ahead what projects you work on when and exactly when you'll take your breaks. The idea is to make sure you're being productive, while also setting healthy boundaries with your time. Tip #4 - Mix it up While you're making sure to take breaks and get plenty of sleep, you might also want to try switching up what you're working on in the moment to keep your mind on its toes. This can be done a couple of different ways. Here's some suggestions based on things I've tried: Every Hour, take 15 minutes to work on a promotional/social media post about your project/commissions/website etc. Work on two different artworks or projects and switch between them every couple hours or so. Work on different projects on different days of the week. These are just examples of ways you can make this concept work for you. The idea is to keep your mind working on something that feels fresh, so you don't get bored with anything. I've, personally, also found that switching between stuff helps me get a fresh look at what I'm working on when I come back to it. I can't even count the number of times that I've been able to pinpoint what was feeling "off" about a project just because I looked at something else for a while and came back to it with "fresh eyes." So, when you figure out the best way to make this work for you, you may actually find that your quality of work improves! Tip #5 - Know your Limits! This one is a big one, and arguably the most important one on the list. It's important to be completely honest and realistic with yourself. Setting goals and pushing yourself to be better is great, but can really backfire if you don't balance it with knowing your own limits. If you know you're going to feel exhausted and drained the next day if you stay up an extra hour working on a project, then you should probably call it a night and get back at it the next day. Same goes for things like food, water, and light stretches. Set timers and reminders if you have to, but always make sure to prioritize your health and well being. It won't matter if you finish the project if the quality, and your health, suffers because you didn't stop to stretch your legs and drink some water every once in a while. The Biggest Tip - Take Care of yourself & Keep Creating! At the end of the day, you know yourself better than anyone else. Make sure you take care of yourself and you'll find yourself able to create better work more consistently. I don't subscribe the theory that good art only comes from anguish. I think we can all be creative, productive, and awesome in our own ways without having to sacrifice our own happiness or health.

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