To start, what exactly is creative burnout? 

If you find yourself putting off or not wanting to create, feel stuck or tired, everything you make feels the same, or your perfectionist self doesn’t want to even try because of failure? 

When doing something creative feels like a chore and you feel lonely? When you see other creatives that are inspired and motivated, it annoys you?

You might have creative burnout.

As makers we tend to think being creative is our identity, it’s just who we are. Then when we get those feelings of creative burnout it makes us question everything. Am I no longer a creative person?

Even though you are super passionate about creating you may have days where you just don’t feel like creating. Where you may feel exhausted and overwhelmed like you just aren’t doing enough.

You might not even realize you are in a creative burnout because you are still creating things. Things that you can make because you have the knowledge and skill to do so, but eventually that won’t be enough.

You will get burned out. Why? Keep reading.

It’s difficult and sometimes even confusing to admit that you don’t feel creative anymore.

You might not even admit to yourself that you’re struggling with burnout because you might be in denial or feel embarrassed about it.

You feel ashamed because you’re a creative person who doesn’t feel very creative.

If you have turned your passion for creating into a side hustle or your full time job, you depend on being creative for your livelihood. And that can be a lot of pressure which might make you feel burned out.

Your relationship with creating has changed but your work expectations haven’t. When you create things for a living it is so easy to work endlessly and get burnt out (trust me, I know).

You might even (probably are) be thinking that you can’t take a break or talk about your burnout because it will scare your clients (if you have a side hustle or biz) away.

But I’m here to tell you that if they love your work, they’ll love you too, and support you more than ever! 

PRO TIP: Never be afraid to share that you are a human too. Sharing actually helps to create and build better relationships with your clients through relatability and honesty, which produces trust.

Think of creativity as being a muscle. You need to exercise it to make it stronger. Doing the same workout every day (or time) with the same weights or routine won’t make as big a difference in building your strength.

You need to try different workouts.

This means learning more about your craft, trying a new technique, or using a different material or medium, etc.

Staying active with your creativity will in turn help you with being creative and combat creative burnout. And just like a muscle your creativity needs rest, this will make it stronger.

If you are taking a break, you are not being lazy. You are recharging. Remember that!

Personally, back in April of 2021, I was really struggling with creative burnout. I was nearing the end of my sophomore year at university, running my fiber business (pineroseandco.com), and was just trying to stay afloat.

I didn’t have any extra time to create anything “for me”  and was so exhausted from creating for everyone; my business and my classes.

Everything felt the same, everything was a chore, I didn’t feel creative anymore. I was stretched so thin and did not want to even admit this to myself.

With all that being said, I knew I couldn’t be the only one struggling so I decided to go to Instagram and ask my followers on my @pineroseandco account.

I took a poll on my stories, thinking only around 30-50 people might answer per usual. But a whopping 240 people answered my polls, wow!

I had less than 5000 followers at this time, so this was way more story engagement than usual.

My first question was “Makers, do you ever struggle with burnout?” 632 people saw it and of that 234 voted “yes” and 6 voted “no”. 

My second question was “Do you struggle with creative ruts or having no time to make?” 601 people saw it and of that 233 voted “yes” and 4 voted “no.”

I realized that I wasn’t as alone as I thought, and put up a question box asking them how they have personally dealt with creative burnout.

I then started to receive numerous messages from fellow creatives sharing how they are struggling or how they dealt with it or asking me if I could share the responses.

So here is this blog post where I am sharing 5 simple and easy ways to help combat creative burnout that actually work.

There are five main themes and inside them you will find even more ways!

They should help keep you from being burnt out creatively or help you in recovery (creativity = muscle). 

Now it’s time to dive in, ready?!

Knitting Materials in a White Basket

1

Take a Break

Take some time away from creating to relax and recharge, giving yourself permission to take one and not to feel bad or guilty about it.

Your break could be anywhere from a couple of hours, a few days, to a month, or more.  Listen to what you need and take a break.

Step away from all that is stressing you out and give yourself the necessary rest. Take a trip to the mountains or your happy place. Go on an adventure!

This was the biggest suggestion by far and honestly we all need to be taking more breaks (I am so guilty of not taking them too, but am learning to listen and take them).

2

Get Off Social Media

Along the same lines of taking a break in point 1, log off your social medias.

It refreshes your mind and you won’t be able to as easily compare yourself to other creatives online.

Users on platforms like Instagram mainly showcase a curated feed. Almost everything is staged, edited, and made to look aesthetically pleasing.

And that’s totally fine (I loveee a good curated feed!) but it’s just unrealistic and we often forget that. We just assume the perfectness transfers to the curator, and that’s just simply not true.

So challenge yourself to not compare yourself to others. Because you never know what is going on and happening in someone’s life, even if they are “sharing” the ugly parts online.

3

Find Inspiration and be Inspired

Not feeling creative? You need some serious inspo!

As creatives, we tend to naturally find this in everything, so this isn’t too hard.

Challenge yourself to follow your instincts when you have a lightbulb moment and make something.

Look around you, take a walk, get outside (I’m convinced that fresh air is a natural cure), go on Pinterest (not a social media, it’s a search engine), look at magazines, read, workout, look at all your materials (or get some new ones!!), listen to music, or look at color pallets, etc.

If you want to really be inspired…look at your past works. You’ll see how much you’ve progressed and grown. I find that younger me is one of my biggest inspirations.

4

Try Something New or Different

It’s super hard to not always be creative, so why not try something new?!

Be that a new technique, medium, or creative outlet that is completely unrelated.

If you’re burnt out from a certain craft, try a different one. Make something different than your usual hobbies.

Take this time to experiment freely. Make something for fun with no expectations.

Go to Pinterest or Youtube and look up some tutorials to follow along with and make something.

Spend time doing other creative hobbies just for fun, not your business.

5

Get Organized

We often feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks we have, but staying organized helps so much!

By making to do lists and having a daily schedule we can better manage our time and spend more of it doing what we love.

And although I love a pretty planner, I often find myself writing stuff down in the notes app on my phone!

Organize your studio or craft space, even if it’s just a corner.

Seeing all your materials and remembering what you have, really helps to spark creativity. Plus you’ll thank yourself later when your creativity lightbulb goes off and you have a clean space ready to create in and you know where everything is.

Finally, know this – there is a whole community out there ready and wanting to support you!

Tips
  • Creativity is a muscle, exercise it regularly but don’t exhaust it.
  • Remember to be kind to yourself, you are your biggest critic.
  • Take breaks and know that you are not being lazy but recharging your creative batteries. If you aren’t charging yourself, your work will not be your best and you will feel burnt out.
  • Try a new craft or get outside for fresh air and inspiration.

Burnout is a real thing and I hope the above tips encourage you and that you leave this blog post feeling inspired and wanting to create.

Thanks for reading and be sure to share this post with your fellow creatives! You never know who is experiencing burnout whether they know it or not.

Minimalist decor with pedestals under cloth near chair
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