Have you ever liked a song so much that you just kept playing it on repeat every single day until you were absolutely so tired of it that you couldn’t even stand to listen to the first note? That’s quite literally how I feel right now, except it isn’t for a song, but rather for many things that typically make me happy – writing, dance, my extracurricular activities. In other words, I feel pretty burnt out.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ve developed a strong dislike for these things; it’s actually just the opposite (remember my post on being busy?). I meet every opportunity to experience, interact with, and learn new things with enthusiasm and excitement, and that’s still something I pride myself on. However, from my inability/reluctance to say no to new things, sometimes I find myself throwing my entire heart and soul into experiences, only to step back and realize that these “new, great” things have used up so much of my energy that I have nothing left to give to anything else. Yikes.
If you’re anything like me, you know that it’s easy to feel invincible to burn-out – there’s no way that would happen to me, you say, I love all that I do! And yet, here I am, in a place I’d never thought I’d be.
It has been difficult coping with and climbing out of this creative funk I’ve been sitting in, but I’m actively working to combat this bout of creative block, and I can feel myself slowly re-energizing. If you are going through a phase of feeling burnt-out, I hope these tips will help you get on your feet and back to doing things that you love.
Give yourself time.
Like they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t be able to cure your case of burn-out overnight. (If you can, let me know – I need to know your secrets!) Give yourself time to re-charge and get back into the swing of things; I promise that you’ll be able to work like yourself again once you feel like yourself again.
To get the creative juices flowing, try to do things that you know always make you feel better, whether that is eating a tub of ice cream and watching Friends or going to the gym to work out. Your goal is to get back into a comfortable state of mind that allows you to really think about what you’re devoting your time to, and the problem of feeling burnt out at hand.
Reconnect with yourself.
After spending most of your time running from place to place, it isn’t hard to leave yourself and your mental health out of the picture for the sake of “productivity”. I know that I stress the importance of self-care on the regular, and though it may be annoying to read about in every other post, I emphasize it because it matters.
A good remedy for burn-out is to reconnect with who you are, and remember why you got yourself into this in the first place. Sure, having to juggle volunteering, your blog, and your e-board position is hard, but you knew that already when you signed up – why are you suddenly feeling this way?
Sit down with a notebook and a pencil, make yourself your favorite cup of coffee, and really spend some time reasoning with all that is making you frustrated. Are the kids that you volunteer to teach outright rude to you? Is it becoming difficult for you to come up with content? Have you been stuck at a standstill in a project that you’re working on for your club?
Once you pinpoint the specific reason(s) for your frustration, they become much easier to handle. It’s almost like war – how can you put up a proper fight when you don’t even know what the enemy is?
Consume some inspiration.
In my case, I’ve struggling with finding inspiration in every way, shape, and form, from choreography for new dance pieces to writing new & original content. It’s often said that inspiration will just come to you, but I sadly don’t have the luxury of waiting – I have a showcase to prep for, and I have a posting schedule to meet for this blog right here.
Therefore, I’ve been taking the approach I take to most of the things in my life: if it won’t come to you, you must go towards it.
Find inspiration for what you’re struggling with, and consume as much of it as you possibly can. Whether that is through watching endless amounts of dance videos or reading pages and pages of new material, throw yourself into it. Look for something that will pique your interest and make you say, “Yes. That’s why I do what I do.”
It might not come right away, but the most important thing is to be present and open to it. If you’ve resigned to removing all traces of art out of your life just because you haven’t been able to come up with ideas for a painting, you have shut out the inspiration that is begging to be let in. Approach your dilemma with an open mind, and you’ll be amazed at what comes out of it.
Cut things out – only if you have to.
If you simply are not enjoying what you do anymore, maybe it’s time to consider working it out of your day-to-day life. It’s a hard idea to cope with, but like I mentioned before, you need to prioritize yourself and your mental health.
I know, I know – I am the last person that should be talking about cutting things out of my life when I feel spread too thin. For me, I hold onto what got me involved in the first place, and as long as those things continue to hold a place in my heart, I will continue the never-ending grind. Still, I know that if the activities I am currently a part of feel more soul-sucking than soul-enriching, I will be the first to remove them from the equation.
I’m a firm believer that your time and energy should be focused on things that make you feel happy and fill you with joy and inspiration – if what you’re doing doesn’t serve that purpose anymore, what’s the point in even doing it at all? At the end of the day, the only person you really have to answer to is yourself, and if you aren’t happy with those answers you are the only person with the power to change them.
That went a little deeper than I expected, but that’s okay – at least I’m working my way out of this funk, and I know that you can too. Hopefully after following these steps the both of us will be back into the normal swing of things as per usual. When all is said and done, what matters most is your happiness, and if you focus on doing what makes you happy, everything will fall into place. I promise.