If you’ve ever felt creative burnout, you know how much it sucks. Especially if creativity is something you love and thrive on. Being outside your creative flow is like gasping for breath, really—the breath of your soul.
The trouble is, sometimes, the more you chase creativity, the farther away it feels. That’s why it’s important to learn how to avoid burnout in the first place—(yes, it really is possible)—and today I want to share three strategies to help you.
The Cost of Creative Burnout
Few things are more frustrating than feeling out of touch with Wonder and Inspiration. In many ways, these are essential to living an incandescent life. When we reach creative burnout, the cost can be high, stealing things like:
Creativity is such an innate part of our nature that when it suffers, so do we.
So how do we avoid the burnout? I’m afraid I don’t have a foolproof answer for you, but there are a few strategies you can use to fight back.
STRATEGY #1: DON’T FORCE IT
Nothing is harder and more fruitless than trying to conjure ideas when you’re not feeling creative. Sometimes they just don’t come. Whether it’s due to exhaustion, busyness, or distractions, we all face lulls in our creative flow. So don’t force it.
When you try and force ideas to come forth, it often turns out to be more of a hindrance than a help, because it takes the joy and wonder out of creating and rushes you toward burnout twice as fast. Instead, take some time. Get out and explore, and see if ideas won’t find you.
STRATEGY #2: LEARN TO FALL IN LOVE DAILY
In many ways, living creatively is like an epic romance. You must pursue Inspiration and flirt with Wonder daily, otherwise they slip away. Falling in love is a process; something you must be intentional about.
STRATEGY #3: KNOW WHEN TO STOP
A key part of avoiding creative burnout is knowing when to stop. It’s like exercising: if you push yourself past your limits, it’s painful, and does more harm than good. So find your rhythms. Understand your limits. And when you feel yourself starting to tire, take a break, and don’t feel guilty. Allow yourself to return after a rest with renewed stamina and a fresh perspective.
If you’re facing creative burnout, I want to challenge you to pick at least one of these strategies to test. Try it for several days, and be deliberate. And if you know someone who would benefit from this post, please share it with them. Creativity is such a deeply woven thread in the fabric of humanity, and it’s important we steward it well.
- Are you facing creative burnout?
- What strategies have you used to help avoid it? Which would you recommend to others?
- How has burnout affected you?