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How to survive creative burnout

22 Apr 08:00 by Tony Allen

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Whether you design websites or implement marketing campaigns, it’s likely you’ll experience the dreaded creative burnout at some point in your career. Whereas for some it might only last a matter of hours (and be remedied by a strong coffee), others may find creative-block lasts longer, leading to a negative impact on work quality, colleague relationships and your overall outlook on work and life.


While it can be difficult to predict when creative burnout will strike, psychotherapist and author, Dina Glouberman highlights three tell-tale signs in her book, The Joy of Burnout, including:


- Growing emotional mental or physical exhaustion

- Increasing feeling of distance from ourselves and other people

- Decreasing ability to be effective at the things you've always done, both at work and at home.


Luckily, there is a plethora of expert advice available to help creatives conquer a burnout. Our team has gathered some of the most effective tips according to our creative clients and candidates.


Extract yourself
Sometimes a simple change of scenery can make a world of difference when you’re feeling up against it. This is great for those able to work flexibly and can work from home or take their laptop away from the pressure-cooker setting of an office. However, not everyone can do that, so something as simple as making sure you take a lunch break and go for a walk to get some fresh air can provide some much-needed clarity.


Director of Product Design at InVision, Andrew Cullen spoke of the importance of taking a step back on the company’s blog: “Sometimes being away from the screen is actually when your mind starts to wander and you think about problems you’re tackling at work in a different light.”


Read a book

If you think taking time out of your busy schedule to read a book is too indulgent it’s a sign you’re pushing yourself too hard. In our frenetic, digital world, taking time out to read a book can work wonders in getting those creative juices flowing.


Josh Ritchie, CEO of creative content marketing agency ColumnFive wrote in a LinkedIn article: “There’s something nice about holding a book in your hands and turning the pages. I believe it’s a more interesting and gratifying experience than any other form of content consumption.”


Go to an event
Conferences and networking events can spark creativity and motivation, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to get back to the office. Whether that’s due to sharing stories with your peers or hearing keynotes from industry leaders, events are well worth attending if you find yourself in a creative funk.


Business owner and author of The Designer’s Handbook, Dennis Field spoke about the importance of events in an InVision blog post. “Conferences and networking events are full of positivity, and all that positivity can help you with burnout. Yes, I learn a ton from the speakers, but it’s the conversations with others that help me realise I’m not alone with any of my struggles.”

Look after yourself

It may sound obvious, but ask yourself whether you’re living your healthiest life. Do you get enough sleep? Do you move around enough during the day? What about your diet? And, dare we ask about your coffee consumption? This isn’t about living like a saint. It’s taking the time to be kind to your body so you have the energy to tackle the mental, physical and emotional challenges that can threaten your creativity levels every day.


Everyone will have unique methods of coping with creative burnout, so if you have any nuggets of wisdom, don’t hesitate to share them with the Henry Nicholas team!