July 04, 2022

Managing Burnout Is A Life-Long Journey, That's Why I'm Prioritizing Self-Care

Reading Time: 3 mins

I’ve had a terrible few weeks with no creative output.

I was burned out, anxious, and unable to work on anything related to my creative practice. I’m just about seeing the other side of this burnout but I know it will happen again. I want to be able to manage this going forward so when it strikes I can accept it, deal with it, and move on.

So I’m writing this to my future self as much as I’m writing to you, dear reader, to share my perspective and advice on creative burnout and how to focus on self-care.

Signs Of Burnout

  1. Always trying to fill your mental space with something. You can’t just watch TV, you have to also be scrolling Twitter. You can’t just sit an enjoy a cup of coffee, you also have to listen to a podcast or watch a video.

  2. Overdoing it on social media. You infinitely scroll all available social media platforms every chance you get. You’re not looking for anything but you still scroll until you can tear yourself away and do something else.

  3. Feeling pressure to create or always be working on something. You feel like you need to be chained to your computer to get stuff done. This results in headaches and an inability to do creative work.

  4. Stress and anxiety become too much. Things get overwhelming and take up a lot of your headspace which results in stress and anxiety which further reduces your ability to be creative.

  5. You’re not leaving the house. You know when you’re stuck in the house all day you’re not feeling your best.

  6. Healthy diet and water intake go out the window You don’t feel motivated to eat healthily and you’re more likely to snack on junk food and have fizzy drinks over water.

Self-Care Steps

  1. Practice focusing on 1 thing at a time and remember this throughout the day. Try sitting and drinking a coffee without watching a YouTube video. Try watching TV without opening your phone.

  2. Set up limits on social media. Your phone allows you to set time limits on different apps so you can easily do this. Remove social media apps from your phone to limit the urge to reach for your phone. Limit social media to your computer.

  3. Find ways to work that are away from the computer. Is there anything you can do in an analog way? Can you move some of your work to a different device like a tablet so you can work outside or in a coffee shop?

  4. Put things into perspective. Your current cause of burnout is with your day job but it has bled into everything else you do. Take a step back and remember your creative practice is something you do for fun as an escape from your day job. Of course, you’d like to eventually become a full-time online creative but for right now there is no pressure on you to make a full-time income with your creative practice. Reframe it as “I get to do” rather than “I have to do”.

  5. Prioritize exercise. exercise in any form is so helpful for you to help manage your anxiety and help you feel more like a person. Go for a walk or run or try skipping with a skipping rope.

  6. Prioritize a healthy diet with lots of water. You will probably always be working on this but eating healthy and drinking lots of water is a no-brainer to ensure things are working how they should be.

Bonus Step: Create a self-care list. A list of fun things you can do when you’re feeling low.

P.S. I welcome any ideas you have for this list 🙂