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Dealing With Creative Burnout

Creating content is a proficiency in the digital industry. Any individual that is experienced in content creation has, at one point or another, faced the dreaded “brick wall” during or throughout their working career.


Even though content creation may come across as a fun and interactive environment (which it is), there is always room for burnout or reaching a certain limit of creative potential. This can be caused by certain tasks, the general and mental health of the creative, unhappy working conditions, and so on.

As creatives, we need to maintain our creative sanity and prowess in our fields, which brings us to the topic of today’s discussion. We are diving a little deeper than usual and discussing a few aspects of creative burnout, what it is, and how to avoid it.

What is Creative Burnout?

The official term for burnout was developed in 1974. This definition is derived from continuous, physical, and mental exhaustion that arises from stress.


In terms of creative burnout, the symptoms include a lack of motivation toward any creative work accompanied by the feeling that any creative effort on your side is inadequate and unacceptable.

The mere thought of having to create something leaves you with feelings of dread and exhaustion.


As creatives, we want to create and bring concepts into reality and the immense giant of creative burnout can oftentimes be a career-ender for some individuals.

What Causes Creative Burnout?

Quite simply, the causes of creative burnout are similar, if not exactly, to general burnout.


Constant exhaustion, never-ending stress, and an inadequate work-life balance are often the major causes of general and creative burnout. It is therefore up to us, as creatives, to look ahead and plan around the circumstances and possibilities of creative burnout occurring.

Creative burnout is also not something that appears out of nowhere, it happens subtly and exponentially and before you know it, you’re struggling to put pen to paper and craft something meaningful.

How do I prevent it from happening?

To put it simply, coping with the lifestyle and intensive schedule that comes with the creative industry is not impossible. It’s one-hundred percent an internal battle that can only be won through effort and careful thinking.

That being said, creative burnout is not something that can be solved with over-the-counter medication or a magical potion. The most ideal cure is not really a cure but rather prevention.

What Causes Creative Burnout?

Let’s take a look at some methods which help prevent this from happening:

1. Planning

Oftentimes burnout can be chalked up to an overwhelming schedule which does not always have to be overwhelming.


Incorporating time-management skills and careful allocation of your day to rest goes a long way in soothing what may seem to be overwhelming. Another tip with planning is that of prioritisation, be abreast of your tasks and duties and make sure that the ones that need to happen first actually happen first and when there is time to be allocated, the rest will follow.

2. Taking Breaks

It may come across as oversimplified, but taking a break here and there go a long way in the prevention of burnout. When you have time to yourself, take it and make sure that it’s for yourself. When taking a break, focus on rest and letting your mind focus on other things outside of work and your specific creative responsibilities.


That takes us to our next point.

3. Try Out a Hobby

In this case, we’re not talking about collecting stamps or Funko Pops. A creative passtime allows reallocation of brain power into something that doesn’t revolve around work and deadlines. Pick up an instrument, build a Gundam, read a book, start drawing. The world of creativity is endless and in fact helpful.


Sometimes having a hobby not only provides your head with a clear space to focus energy on, but can also lead to the finding a synergy between two separate focuses that allow problem solving across the board.

4. Say No

A tough one for most people, saying no to certain tasks and responsibilities goes a long way in your own peace of mind. The idea here is not to say no and sink into a couch on Netflix the whole day.


Saying no is a powerful tool regarding time management. In some cases, saying no to one task provides time and energy to focus on an already existing task or project. With this time at hand, you can put more into your projects and finish something that you’re proud of.

Burnout is not permanent

To close off, if you’ve experienced or feel like you’re already going through a phase of creative burnout, rest easy in knowing that it’s not going to be like this the whole time.

Burnout is temporary.

The best thing to do in this instance is focus on yourself and understand that you’ll get through it. Whether or not tasks get done, if your personal health is on the line, it’s worth losing a small client or project.

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