BURNOUT and 3 ways to recover from it

Spread the love

Spread the love Hello everyone!  What month is it? Time seems to be passing faster and faster and here we are, already well into the end of Summer. How are you doing? I hope you are being kind and gentle to yourself! Let’s get into it… The Dreaded BURNOUT I wanted to write about something […]

Spread the love

Hello everyone! 

What month is it? Time seems to be passing faster and faster and here we are, already well into the end of Summer. How are you doing? I hope you are being kind and gentle to yourself! Let’s get into it…

The Dreaded BURNOUT

I wanted to write about something important today. Something I regularly struggle with, and that is BURNOUT. Or sometimes it can be called, ART-BLOCK. As much as it can try to be avoided, it somehow seems inevitable. Okay, so we know it is probably going to happen, and there is nothing we can do about that. But how can we get ourselves out of it, where we feel comfortable creating again? First let’s start with the why.

Why Do we Create?

First thing I want to talk about and also a question I have for you to think about is… Why do we create? Why do we do it?! If it brings us so much frustration and exhaustion sometimes, why do we keep doing it to ourselves? And maybe you’re a rare few where you have an endless amount of energy to create, time and resources all in place, ideas FLOWING out of your brain, self marketing comes perfectly natural, you have a store that’s fully stocked and you have a back log of posts, blog writings, photos, videos, all the things and then some, the list goes on and on.

If you do have this, please contact me and tell me all of your secrets, but also (chances are) managing all of these things can be a bit stressful, overwhelming and unobtainable. Bring on THE BURNOUT.

What Causes BURNOUT?

I find that my burnout comes from when there are other outside factors in my life at play. Family, health, friends, relationships. Things that are important need to take priority. Would I love the dinner and laundry to do itself? The kids to put themselves to bed? The second job to take care of itself? All these things done, so I could sit in my beautifully curated office and casually sip my coffee while an abundant amount of ideas and creations effortlessly get put down on paper and magically bring me to where I want to be career wise? Sounds like an amazingly impractical life

All of this sounds stressful. So why do we do it? Well, the spark. The NEED to create. I can’t get rid of it, can you?

So I find myself writing ideas in a notepad, scribbling characters on grocery lists, stopping in my tracks with a thought or a painting idea or a new color combination I want to try. Sometimes, we loose the spark. The spark burns out. But it’s never gone. Just know, that want and feeling you have to create something, will probably never be completely gone, sometimes it just doesn’t burn as bright.  

The Three Steps to Recovering from BURNOUT

Step One: The Social Media Dilemma

Okay passion and sappy talk done, now what to do about it?! I’ve come out of several burnouts, all different, all terrible. I want to start off with my NUMBER ONE thing to do when dealing with that artblock, burnout feeling, and I cannot stress this enough. GET OFF OF SOCIAL MEDIA.

Social media platforms are a great way to stay connected to a large community of artists. So many resources at your fingertips! But you have to know how to use it. One thing that instagram is specifically good at is focusing on the numbers (read more about how I feel about numbers in this blog post here). How many people are engaged? Did your post get a lot of views? What about likes? Are people commenting? The system wants you to know, because they want you to feel like you need to keep posting, to do better aka get your numbers higher.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve fallen into the numbers game. It has gotten to the point where I was posting purely off of what I thought everyone would want to see; what I thought would get me the highest numbers. Endlessly scrolling, not even looking at the beautiful art that people were creating, but just looking at how many likes it got. I was working for the algorithm, I wasn’t letting it work for me. As soon as you get this feeling, or notice yourself looking at the numbers only, take a step back and walk away. This is the first place to start in conquering BURNOUT

Step Two: Finding the Source of the Burnout

One of the biggest things that brings me to a burnout, are the outside factors. Life moments becoming bigger and taking up a lot of space in my mind. Holidays, birthdays, big life events, all of the things that come up naturally, can make me need to pause and step away. Not step away because I want to, but step away because I have too. If you have kids especially, it can be hard to balance all of the things, it takes a village! 

Not having clear direction can be a source of burnout for me as well. When I’m working on a project, I have a direction, I know what needs to get done. But when I’m left open ended and completely alone to come up with my own projects, it can be a little daunting. Mix that with the outside factors and it can seem like, what’s the point of it all. Your spark is dwindling

Finding the source of your burnout can help you recognize what needs to be done. Am I overwhelmed with family life? Focus on what your family needs. Am I lacking a project or direction? Brainstorm ideas with no intention of finishing a project. Do I need inspiration? Go visit a museum, buy a new sketchbook!  Is my head feeling cloudy? Go for a walk. I’ve just recently read about the benefits of “Silent Walking” (link to the article here) and I can’t wait to try and implement it into my everyday. Stepping away, finding the source and taking the time to address it can be a huge help. 

Step Three: Slowly Lighting the Flame Again

So what if you’re not doing anything? What if your burnout has led you to a point where you’re not creating, you’re not interacting with the community, you’ve completely fallen off the face of the art world and you don’t know how to jump back in? Well I’ve been there, first of all. Second of all please take comfort in knowing that this is okay. You probably need the time to not think about things for a while. It’s not a bad thing to shut off and take a break. But you miss drawing, and you miss creating, so what are some ways to nurture your inner flame and not smother it back down? 

Make a mess:

I keep several sketch books. And one of my sketchbooks, is my messy I don’t care who sees this sketchbook. Everyone needs one of these. Open a page, and just start drawing. ANYTHING. Make shapes, draw lines, put a blob of color down, it doesn’t matter what you do because no one is going to see it. You can’t be too precious with your work all the time. If you’re too gentle and cautious, then you are going to start doubting yourself, being too hesitant, and it will show in your work.

When’s the last time you took a crayon, any color, and just ran it across a piece of paper for no reason, with no vision in sight? Do that! Scribble, doodle, make UGLY art! Who cares! It will help keep your creative juices flowing and I think it’s a good place to start. Start with no expectations, end with no expectations, just create something for fun! (Sometimes I color in my kids coloring books to just for fun, it’s 100% no pressure and I find it very relaxing.

Find Inspiration:

So you’ve scribbled and had some fun, has your spark lit up a bit more? If you’re still not sure what to make from here, maybe it’s time to get some inspiration from other sources! I know I said to stay clear of social media, but Pinterest is a great tool to find inspiration (and also pose references.) I feel like they don’t put too much pressure on the numbers either.

Some other places where I find inspiration are children books. Do you have a favorite illustrator? A favorite author? Some of my favorites are Richard Scarry, The Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel, or any other kind of vintage children books. Go to the library and turn some pages in a book! Researching and absorbing these types of illustrations helps inspire me to create my own art. 

Try Something New:

How’s your creative flame doing? One last little idea I have that could help you get your spark back is, try something new! This could be anything from using a new type of paint, to sculpting something with clay, painting on a super big canvas (this has been on my bucket list of things to try for a while now) or even just drawing a new subject matter. Just remember when trying something new to not stress about it, easier said than done, and chances are it’s going to be difficult at first, but what better way to grow than to give a go at something just for fun?  

Ending Thoughts

Burnout is real. Art-block is real. Accepting the fact that it is going to happen is important. Your need to create will never leave you. Always remember life moves in waves. Everything can’t always be great, and you need the down time to heal and recover to come back and be stronger. That’s how we learn, that’s how we improve and grow. 

Have you struggled with Art-block or Burnout? What are some things you have done to get out of it? I’d love to learn and hear from you in the comments! Thank you for reading, and happy creating!


View Article

Bit Bobs & Knick Knacks

An Illustration Blog with Monthly Updates.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments