How to deal with the business of burnout

3 min read

Trying to write your next killer ad campaign or impactful voice-over script, but feeling listless, stuck and empty? First of all, it’s vital to understand that burnout happens to many people involved in creative endeavors — whether it relates to writing a book, a voice-over script, an ad campaign, or designing graphics.

How to deal with burnout: man sitting with hands over his face
Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

According to a recent Gallup study, 23% of employees said they experienced burnout at work quite often. Similarly, 44% reported they fell victim intermittently. 

For this reason, the longer you’ve been in the creative business, the greater the chances you’ll have to face periods when you feel fatigued and uninspired.

What was once challenging and fun may suddenly appear pointless and exhausting. Does this sound all too familiar? Would you like to know how to deal with the business of burnout?Read on!

Tell-tale signs of creative burnout

Creative people may experience burnout in different ways, but there are obvious, telltale signs. Consequently, it’s worthwhile knowing what to look out for.

Emotional signs
  • Lack of creative ideas.
  • Inability or difficulty to get into the flow or groove of things.
  • Self-doubt about your creative abilities.
  • Lack of focus. 
  • Finding excuses not to take up any creative work (procrastinating).
  • Finding it difficult to relax.
  • Struggling to complete the most basic tasks.
Physical signs
  • Constant feeling of exhaustion.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Change in appetite.
Is it stress or burnout?
How to deal with burnout: girl lying on bed
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Before you chalk up your emotional and physical state to creative burnout, however, you should note that other problems might also be impacting your creativity rather than burnout. Several issues occurring at the same time in your professional and personal life will also drive the creative muse away. 

Think about whether people in your workplace are generally happy or if the overall vibe is toxic and downbeat. Furthermore, evaluate if you’re dealing with dilemmas related to family, health, or other personal adversities. 

Causes of burnout

From certain personality traits to lifestyle habits, many factors cause burnout. Therefore, consider:

Work-related causes
  • Overly demanding expectations from peers 
  • Lack of recognition, reward, or appreciation for good work
  • Unclear job expectations
  • Monotonous work
  • A high-pressure or chaotic work environment
Lifestyle causes
  • Impaired work-life balance with no time for relaxation or socializing 
  • Lack of supportive relationships
  • Taking on excessive responsibilities
  • Not enough sleep 
Personality traits
  • Perfectionistic tendencies
  • A pessimistic view of everything
  • A type A personality 
  • Reluctance to delegate work

How to deal with burnout

How to deal with burnout: man sitting at breakfast table thinking
Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash

Burnouts are not permanent. It’s possible to get over the feeling of running-on-empty by following these tips:

Reach out

Opening up to loved ones will strengthen your relationship. They might offer insights and tips that may prove useful in dealing with the burnout.

It also helps if you take time away to have fun and relax with friends and family without thinking about your condition.

Talk to your boss

As per the American Institute of Stress, for 46% of employees, unmanageable workloads are the top stressor. A Gallup study shows employees with enough time to complete their tasks are 70 percent less likely to face burnout. If your workload seems like too much, or if unreasonable deadlines are what’s worrying you, it’s time to talk to the management.

Develop friendships

Being more sociable at work can buffer you against creative burnout. Talk to your colleagues or peers to find ways to overcome the feeling of helplessness and emptiness. Find new friends or connect with your industry peers through social media platforms or professional networks. 

Join groups

Connect with a community group, a professional association, or a cause that’s meaningful to you personally. Being part of social, religious, professional, or other support groups can provide you with insights into how others are coping with daily stress. How to deal with the business of burnout is common. You are not alone!

Look at portfolios

Go through portfolios of the creative work of your industry peers or professionals. This could give you some much-needed inspiration when you’re stagnant with your voice-over project or ad campaign.

Nurture your creative side

Resume your favorite hobby or take up activities that are unrelated to work.

Do nothing!

Schedule some quiet time every day where you do exactly nothing. While many equate relaxation with Netflix or heading off to a club, these are not effective techniques. You may instead practice mindful meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to help your body and mind calm down.

Banish burnout

How to deal with burnout: hands on a laptop keyboard
Photo by Burst on Unsplash

The first step in preventing and managing a burnout is to recognize the problem. Forcing yourself to work through exhaustion can cause further physical and emotional harm. Hit the pause button instead and change direction by following the three “R” approach:

  • Recognize – look out for relevant signs.
  • Reverse – Undo the damage by getting to the root cause.
  • Resilience – Build your resilience by addressing your social, emotional, mental, and physical health.

Finally, now that you better understand how to deal with the business of burnout, you’re ready to pick up your pen (or open your laptop) and tackle your next creative assignment.

Go for it!