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Battling Back from Burnout

stressed man

We’re all aware of the personal high you get when your creative cup runneth over.

You feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof. You have the excess energy and excitement to run a victory lap around the office, high-fiving the sales team, the payroll staff and intern pool as you make the celebratory rounds. You can’t wait to get to the next assignment or project because you know you are absolutely going to slay it.

In a nutshell you feel unstoppable and on top of the world — and you might just be in danger of dislocating your shoulder from patting yourself on the back.

However, a blog about helping you in the best of times seems superfluous, so let’s talk about the other side of the Dickens coin in “A Tale of Two Cities.” What do you do when that creative cup doesn’t have a drop to spare?

We all have moments when the creative well dries up and the daily routine morphs into a daily slog. Pushing yourself until you hit the wall isn’t always a good thing. Like a strained muscle, your mental well-being needs a bit of TLC to recoup and recover from time to time. Here are a few helpful tips to assist in the battle back from creative burnout.

Prioritize Self-Care

Whether it’s deep-breathing exercises, watching your favorite movie or eating your favorite snack, taking care of yourself should always be a priority. A brain break is crucial, not only to your mental health but for the quality of your work. When your mental energy is depleted, the creativity of your project goes into the toilet. Sometimes pushing through fatigue isn’t the best plan.

It’s not just mental care. Tip your hat in respect to the late Olivia Newton-John and dust off those leg warmers. Regular physical activity is a great way to take your mind off a project for a minute and give yourself time to reset. It doesn’t have to be an entire lifestyle change. Just a simple walk around the block is a good way to take care of yourself.

Set Boundaries

Everyone has boundaries, and there’s no shame in letting others know yours. It’s important to communicate your boundaries so co-workers around you can learn. Learning to say no when it’s necessary is an important skill for not just yourself. If your plate is full and team members are asking for more help, it’s important for your boss and co-workers to understand when your limits have been reached, there’s only so much time in the day after all. The key is to be civil, but firm with your boundaries.

Flip the script on the classic Cole Porter tune: You’re not fencing yourself in; you’re fencing everyone else out.

Plan Time Off

The ultimate break is time away from work. Whether it’s by yourself or with loved ones, in town or out in the country, you should take the time you’re given to do the things you love. If you don’t have those things, there’s no better time to find a passion away from work.

Remember this: The most important and productive machine in the office is you. Like any piece of advanced and sensitive equipment, it needs a touch of maintenance now and again to ensure its longevity and efficiency.

Be your own tech support, and don’t put yourself on hold.

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