Pushing Through the Plateau: Strategies for Overcoming Burnout and Rediscovering Your Passion
Where do you find creative inspiration when you are in a rut? I'm hearing from so many people lately that they are just having a hard time feeling or doing anything creative. And that anything they try to do is just not bringing them joy. Creativity is supposed to bring us joy, right? So why do we get in these deep "despondency trenches" and feel like its impossible to just "snap out of it?"
I get it. I really do.....There are times when I feel the same. And having a shop where I am always in a creative space with tons of creative tools at my fingertips you'd think that would never happen to me! I seem to have no excuse because its my job! I have my dream job, painting and selling art, and I feel so blessed to be doing what I love, but sometimes life gets to me too. Especially with all the crazy stuff that is going on in our world. And I have to admit, I'm a bit of a "news junkie and tinfoil hat wearer"...lol
I want to share with you some things that help me. Hopefully, they will help you too.
Step Away From the Brush!
Yes, that's what I said....step away. Just for a bit. Step away from trying to create something new and different every time you create.... DO something different. Volunteer. Go for a walk, (Did you know that exercise releases endorphins to help make us feel good) endorphins are one of four mood-boosting chemicals that have a profound influence on our creativity. Or just spend some time meditating. Don't be so dang hard on yourself! Sometimes when I feel like shutting down I will just let myself shut down. Not for too long....just for a while. Sometimes you just need to rest your soul, my friend. And for me, sometimes that just looks like binge watching a dumb series. (Sister Wives anyone)?...I call it "mindless entertainment" and for me, its definitely therapeutic. (Anything BUT the news) lol
Give Yourself Some Grace!
Don't be so hard on yourself! I think sometimes we compare ourselves to other people too much, and think that we are always falling behind. "Other people" are doing better than we are, and way ahead of us, right? "Other people" are more talented, have more "followers" are better artists and just seem to have it all together. Why can't we just do better, catch up?.....We just put too much pressure on ourselves... and I can almost bet those "other people" feel the exact same...(about their "other people").
I follow some artists on social media that do similar things as me. We all started at roughly the same time. They seems to have it all together and seem to have sky rocketed their businesses. While mine seems to be "way behind" they are constantly on social media. Constantly showing up. They seem to have it all figured out and have (what it seems) a never ending supply of creative ideas. I love following these artists for inspiration and to support them, but sometimes I feel like I will never "catch up" to what they are doing. I constantly have to remind myself that they are in a different place because they worked at it. (Probably way harder than I did to tell the truth). I could be doing the same things. I chose to go in a different direction and my business is different. I know I need to quit comparing myself to them and "stay in my own lane" as people keep saying.
And for you too, I am positive that there are people out there that just wish that they could be doing what YOU are doing...I also feel like because of social media, we all get in that weird "head space" where we feel we aren't as good as "they" are....this just isn't true! Don't believe the lies in your head about not being good enough. Because you ARE! You are fearfully and wonderfully made, after all...
Pray About It/Talk to the Ultimate Creator
Our creativity is a reflection of God as the ultimate Creator. God made all things in His mercy and He is continually reshaping and restoring us. Psalm 139:14, "I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well."
He is the ultimate artist and Creator. Exodus 35:31-32, And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze. (Yep! thats' right in the bible)!
Spending time with the Creator can help spark creativity, calm our spirits, lift our heads and restore our hearts. He wants all good things for us. Grab your bible, put on some music and spend time with the One that loves you more than any other. Sometimes, reflecting on every good thing He's provided helps put things into perspective. Oh, and did you know that crafting can help focus the mind, and has even been compared to meditation due to its calming effects in the brain? Even simple crafting can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.
Find Inspiration In Other Forms (AKA Find a Bob Ross Tutorial)
Sometimes when I feel uninspired I venture outside of my area of expertise. (which is a pretty wide area). When you diversify your area of focus you can boost cognitive flexibility. Which allows for more fluid understanding and creativity. (Which makes perfect sense to me)....Sometimes, I will watch water color artists or oil painters over on Youtube, (Bob Ross for one), its amazing what things I learn from watching another artists techniques and processes. Watching someone else create something completely different than what you already know how to do deepens your urge to create.
Count It All Joy!
If you get this and it speaks to you, I really hope you find the joy in creating art again, and learn to not be so hard on yourself. Creativity is a gift and shouldn't be stressful. It should be a release of stress. By the way, If you need inspiration, take a look at my website....I have so many fun things to inspire creativity its basically ridiculous!
And just know, that by you even caring about whether or not you have the motivation to create is a big deal. Some people don't even know the joy of being creative, or never even try. So go easy on yourself! And that's an order!
Till next time!
Love you guys!