SIX Tips on Dealing with Creative Burnout!
We all have moments in life when we feel less than inspired by the things that used to bring us a sense of creative fulfillment and joy. Even If you don’t create things for your career, you can still experience burnout when it comes to your creative hobbies, hence the saying–”I’ve lost my Crojo”. I see posts like this regularly in crochet Facebook groups. People feel uninspired by things that used to be their favorite hobby are seeking advice to help get them out of this creative rut they’ve found themselves in. You can watch my full video chat on this topic below or keep scrolling to read my tips on dealing with creative burnout below!
This feeling of creative burnout is normal and can be caused by multiple factors, but don’t worry, it won’t last forever! I wanted to share some of the best tips I’ve found to combatting this feeling, re-discovering your love for crochet (or any craft!) and finding new inspiration. First, we need to figure out the root of your burnout. If you understand what’s causing your lack of inspiration, it is easier to take action and get you moving in the right direction!
Top Causes of Creative Burnout
- Stress. Stress can be caused by many factors–issues at work, family or relationship issues, financial stress, trauma or loss, the list goes on. Stress not only causes creative burnout, it has physical symptoms as well. Stress can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression that can cause you to feel uninterested in activities and hobbies that once brought you joy and relief from stress.
- Self Doubt. Everyone has setbacks and every person deals with imposter syndrome. If you allow self-doubt to stick around too long it can begin to affect your creativity. If you are feeling self-doubt, the best thing to do is remind yourself that creating is an imperfect process that includes failure–but failure and setbacks are a NORMAL part of the process. When I’m designing, there are times when I get stuck and frustrated and begin to doubt myself but there are also times when I think “dang… that turned out GREAT!”. I just have to remind myself that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of the creative process and do my best to kick the negative thoughts to the curb when they creep in!
- Perfectionism. Even the most well-meaning version of perfectionism will cause creative burnout. As creatives, we tend to push ourselves too hard and expect our creations to be the best. We also tend to take on too many responsibilities–combine being overworked with setting unrealistic expectations of ourselves and we have a recipe for disaster in the form of creative burnout!
- Not Setting Boundaries. Creatives and makers tend to struggle in this area because it can be difficult to set a schedule for our creative ventures. This is especially true for people juggling a full time job with family responsibilities, while also trying to run a creative business on the side! The problem is, when we don’t take the time to separate our work time and personal space, we are setting ourselves up for increased stress levels and a depletion of our creative energy.
You may be dealing with multiple factors from the list above, but the tips below can help! Let’s dive in!
Top 4 ways to Combat Burnout
- Take breaks. Your brain needs a break after working out its creative muscle, just as your body needs rest after a difficult workout. Have you ever taken the night off from a project after getting stressed out, only to come back the next morning with newfound clarity and inspiration? It’s not a stroke of luck, it’s because your brain got the rest it needed and now it’s ready for more! Taking breaks can mean a lot of things. maybe you take daily breaks to rest, meditate, stretch, practice breathing exercises, read or just get outside. Maybe you take a day off each week to unplug from social media. Either way, giving your brain some time to rest can make a huge difference in your levels of creativity and ability to feel inspired.
- Make time for other creative activities. If you are feeling uninspired, make it a priority to sit down and do something creative–just for fun–that is NOT your main creative outlet! So, if you have lost your Crojo, take some time to try a new creative hobby like painting or drawing, or check out some of the beginner DIY craft kits at your local craft store and try something like candle making or resin art! This could even be as simple as picking up a coloring book, the key is NO pressure! Don’t worry about the final result, just CREATE. Our annual DIY Hook Challenge is one of my favorite ways to take a break from crochet and designing to try something completely different! Last year I revisited a technique I used to LOVE doing, collage with Modge Podge! I covered my crochet hook with cut out characters from comic books and made my own superhero crochet hook! This year I think I am going to use acrylic paint and try spatter painting!!! Be sure to check out this year’s DIY Hook Challenge, we would love to have you join in on the fun! You can purchase your hooks through the end of June!
- Prioritize your physical and mental health: As simple as it sounds, healthier eating choices, getting good sleep, taking vitamins, and getting outside or doing something active every day can all help improve your mood and lower your stress levels while helping to increase your ability to be inspired and create again. By prioritizing your sleep, exercise, and diet, you’ll minimize the impact of burnout even when life gets stressful. Get outside, take walks, be sure to incorporate foods that are rich in fiber, protein, and Vitamin D, get enough sleep and don’t forget the benefits of spending time with family and friends!
- Set a Schedule. This is super important. Whether you run a small business or are balancing a full time job with a part time creative business–maybe you are also a parent or caregiver. As much as possible, set “work” hours both for your full time and part time creative job, schedule in time to spend with family and friends, and be sure to schedule time to spend on activities that will benefit your physical and mental health (this could be time to take walks, time to stretch or practice breathing exercises, read, etc.). If you actually set aside time in your schedule for these activities you are more likely to prioritize them and MAKE time for them.
- Learn to Say No. Learn to say no. For a business owner and a creative, this can feel stressful because you don’t want to miss opportunities, but if you don’t learn to say no to things that aren’t important to you, you’re actually saying no to what you value most because you won’t have the energy or creativity to put your best effort into it! This was really difficult for me when I was trying to niche down because I felt like I was leaving money on the table. What I quickly realized was that, instead of spending hours working on a project I hated, I could spend that time working on areas of my business that I truly enjoyed–allowing my business to grow in ways that would make that money back up in other areas!
- Don’t Dwell on The Negative Feelings. We ALL get down from tie to time. We ALL have bad days and it is totally normal BUT we also have to be willing to do what it takes to move forward. Acknowledge the feelings, take a day off if you need to, but after allowing yourself to feel all of those feelings, it’s time to move forward one day at a time and one step at a time!
Are are some ideas from the fiber community to quickly spark creativity, inspiration and motivation when you lose your Crojo:
- Yarn shopping or yarn “shopping” in your own stash
- Taking part in a crochet “challenge” or crochet a long
- Creating a simple scrappy project to use up stash yarn
- Organizing your yarn or maker “space” or giving your maker space or yarn organization a facelift or makeover with new shelving or ways to display and organize your yarn and tools
- Taking on a personal/selfish project
- Taking a break on projects that are becoming a source of frustration and moving on to something else in the mean time that is more inspiring or exciting for you
- Whipping up a super quick project for instant gratification
- Buying a new pattern you have had your eye on
- Revising an old pattern you loved to make another item for yourself or as a gift
- Joining a crochet community like a Facebook group to connect with other makers
- Trying out a new creative hobby outside of crochet (cross stitch, coloring, drawing, knitting, weaving, etc).
I hope you found these tips helpful! I would love to know how YOU combat feelings of burnout or find inspiration when you need it most! Let me know in the comments!
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