“In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.” - Dalai Lama
WHAT IS BURNOUT?
Burnout is a state of chronic stress that can lead to exhaustion (both the mental and physical kind), affect your work performance and cause feelings of ineffectiveness.
At its worst, it can lead to depression and physical illness.
Any creative act, no matter how big or small, involves an emotional, physical and mental effort.
Burnout can be caused by a lack of control over your work, by a lack of planning and preparation, by extremes of activity, by monotony and an by an upset in your work-life balance, among others.
“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” - Anonymous
If you feel you’re burning out, you may need to cut down the amount of time you spend on your work, cut aspects out of it altogether, reschedule it to a later date, or outsource tasks to someone else.
Creativity doesn't need to be rushed - it will wait for you, and usually with more open arms when you return to it.
Wanting to create more and more comes with the territory of being creative. Creativity can become addictive.
As with all addictions though, it can become destructive.
DON'T SET GOALS
As much as I advocate goal-setting, sometimes it's advisable not to have any. Creativity often requires us to work towards goals, so try and work without a set goal in mind.
Don't get suffocated by your self-imposed deadline.
Take your time, see what happens. Do it for your own pleasure and not for the approval of others.
You don't always have to be striving for more in your creativity.
Making things happen can take a lot of energy, so give yourself time now and again to deliberately slow down.
THE FOUR R'S
COMMIT EVERY DAY
I've lost count of the number of times of I've started a creative project and not seen it through to completion or had ideas for one and not gone further than there.
These days though, this rarely happens. When I think back to why this happened so much it's usually because of the following reason:
I didn't commit every day!
DON'T MAKE GIVING UP A HABIT
How often have you began reading a book, got to around page 75 and then stopped reading for a day or two?
If you've ever done this (and you're like me), you'll probably find that you didn't pick it up for a long time or simply quit at it all together. Even though it was only for a short amount of time, you lost the daily habit and getting back to it can seem like an arduous task.
In your creativity, remember to work at something EVERY DAY, no matter how long for.
Does this mean you can't take a break from your creativity? Of course not. But, make sure that any time you take off is scheduled time. Deciding on a whim to not do something because of laziness or a "can't be bothered to" attitude is destructive - it will lead to bad habits.
Giving up will become a habit.
A small amount of time is better than no time at all.