We’ve probably all heard of burnout before, but what about creative burnout? What’s it look like and how do we navigate it? We’ve rounded up some tips and creative activities to lend a helping hand.
What is creative burnout?
Creative burnout looks and feels differently to everyone. Some might feel tired, irritable, and frustrated. Others might feel like procrastinating, feel overworked or be dreading their creative work or pursuits. Creative burnout is lacking motivation, running out of ideas, or feeling like you’ve hit a wall with your creativity.
As much as it might feel you’ve exhausted your creative muscle or you’re not sure how to come up with ideas, the good news is, that creativity is always there and there’s ways to reconnect with your own.
It might seem like the last thing you want to do, especially if you’re mid-way through a project or you’ve just started something, but if you’re feeling burned out or the process isn’t as fun as it used to be, then give yourself grace and time to step away from your work.
Head outside if you can, go for a walk, cook yourself a yummy meal or just step away from your art completely. When you’re ready enough or feeling the creative bug bite again, you can get back to it.
We know being online can be draining sometimes, so take a break without your phone. Whether that’s getting out in nature and going for a walk or it’s disconnecting from the digital world, try plein air painting, playing an instrument, picking up a crossword puzzle, taking a film camera for a walk, painting, or drawing something from around the home. Take a break to reconnect with your creativity and get away from life’s distractions and constant notifications.
Try something you wouldn’t usually do
We don’t mean go bungy jumping or sky diving (though if you’re craving some adrenaline, you totally should!), but try something that you wouldn’t usually do. Not much of a cook? Try an easy recipe out. Or tackle a medium that you haven’t tried before, like sculpting, lino printing or collage. You don’t have to be perfect at it, and if you’re just starting out then your first go might not be as good as you expected, but that’s totally okay. What matters is that you gave it a go and learnt something new! Plus, perfect is boring anyway!
Do something you’re ‘too old’ to do
Sometimes we limit our own creativity. So, pick up something you think you’re too old to do and prove them wrong. Whether it’s finger painting, crafting, making paper mache, painting rocks, colouring in or painting by numbers, reconnect with your own little artist and create something just for the sake of it!
Give meditation a go
We usually think of meditation as sitting on the floor with incense burning, but meditation is really just focussing on the breath. Meditation has plenty of benefits and it can help with your creativity. So, whether it’s 5, 10 minutes or an hour, set aside some time and find a guided meditation, or play some light music.
Experience other art
If you’re looking for an excuse to head to the movies, an art gallery or a library, then this is it! Head out and see some art -- not to see what other people are creating, but to let yourself escape and experience it all. If you don’t have an art gallery near you, head to a library, museum or a cinema and let your mind wander.
Learn through others
Many creatives experience burnout, so know that you’re not alone and ask others for help. If your creative spark is waning a little, watch a film or a documentary on an artist and let them inspire you. More of a reader? Pick up a book or read the life of another artist and let their story inspire you to keep pushing along. Not sure where to start or looking for a new artist? Check out our gallery to discover new artists or read our featured artists and their creative journeys.
Set yourself a creative challenge
Paint using only three brushes, try a continuous line drawing, create something in 3 minutes, or concept from a random page of a book. Set yourself up with a creative challenge and see what you come up with. This might sound novel but it's all about getting you back to the drawing board and creating something. Once you start you can take the artwork further or decide to leave it, either way you’re flexing your creative muscle in a fun way and that’s what matters!
We hope these tips help you if you’re feeling creative burnout. Note, these tips are a guide only, if you’re experiencing burnout, fatigue or stress, please do check in with a health care professional.