How To Deal With Creative Burnout

The pandemic has been exhausting for all of us and burnout, which was once something you’ve probably heard about or have even gone through. This is why burnout – and getting over burnout was one of the first topics that we discussed on our instagram channel.

So what does burnout even mean?

Buzzfeed had a viral piece from 2016 which talked about millennials being the burnout generation. The writer describes burnout as a kind of paralysis – a condition where you just can’t get yourself to do even the most simple things. While that’s a fairly generic definition – it manifests in many different ways for each of us. Here’s what it’s felt like for the two of us:

  • The inability to ideate or be creative, despite being able to complete tasks
  • Hating everything, even the things that would otherwise spark joy and interest
  • A lack of interest
  • Physical and mental lethargy
  • The feeling of being “blocked” by yourself or by someone else
  • Not wanting to participate in casual chats/react to jokes

Why is it so important to recognize burnout?

The pandemic has made us feel – and has forced us to come to terms with our emotions. And one of these emotions is burnout. Burnout makes it practically impossible to be happy or find joy in the everyday. Being burned out is also a symptom of a much larger issue that might be troubling you – and that’s why it’s key to recognize it and prevent further exhaustion.

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How do you deal with burnout?

Burnout, in general, needs long term, systemic fixes, but there are ways to instantly feel better. If you’re finding yourself unproductive in one sphere, you can still make yourself productive in another! Working out and baking, for example, are instant fixes. Or even just taking time of to read a book or maybe learn watercolours. Anything that you know makes you feel better.

But that’s just a short term fix. In order to really fix burnout, especially work related burnout, here’s what you can do:

  • Take the time to introspect – what’s stopping you? Is it process? Is it a person? Is it a specific aspect of your job? How can you fix this? Can you talk to your boss about this? A colleague?
  • Set boundaries – with the pandemic work from home situation, it just feels like we’re working just all the time. Assign working hours and block out your calendar for conscious free/family time.
  • Say no to meetings you don’t have to be a part of!
  • Ask for help – If you’re drowning and unable to cope, ask for a helping hand from your peers/manager. Sometimes, people are not aware of your workload unless you communicate it to them and in this WFH situation, we’ve all become islands. Actively seek help. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you get it!
  • Learn to delegate – Help doesn’t have flow upwards, it can also go downwards. At some level, as women, we aren’t great delegators thanks to years of conditioning and being told that we’re multitaskers and ought to ‘do it all’. Most women prefer to do a job themselves than go through the process of delegation – but how about we delegate instead? If you’re in a mid-management role, this is especially important because it allows you time to focus on what’s really important while giving your team members a chance to shine.
  • Take a day off – If none of these steps are helping, take a day off! We take days off when we’re physically unwell. Mental health is no different. If work is really messing with your head, take a day to disconnect so you can get back to work with fresh perspective.

So that’s all the wisdom we have! Please do take the time to watch our instagram live where we speak about burnout at length. And if you have found ways to cope with burnout yourself, let us know in the comments!