It has been a while since my last blog. Unfortunately, inspirational ideas don’t always come on demand. I’ve found that creativity comes in bursts and is inspired by random, seemingly unimportant life events. Then sometimes the well runs dry, and no amount of coffee, pep talks, or Zumba can replenish the source of new ideas.
Creative people, or at least people who lean their career on discovering creative ideas, find this type of burnout intimidating. Depleted motivation, particularly in areas we’d call our strengths, is downright scary. Will the ideas come back? Will feeling tired go away magically? When can I get back into the grind, under pressure, and still burst forth with ideas? Unsurprisingly, creative burnout only adds more stress.
Today finishes my first week of summer break, and to be honest, it’s a tough pill to swallow. On one hand, working endlessly on creative ventures is highly rewarding during the semester. Classes are structured to quantifiably define certain measurements for success so we can strive and achieve. On the other hand, I didn’t realize how tired I was until I paused for a moment. And while many people including myself hate admitting that we are, in fact, human and have limitations, there is a certain point where we should (realistically) take a break.
It’s called a sabbath. The long-term solution for curing burnout.
If you’re a workaholic, your value is tied to performance, so breaks become a bad thing and work is always the solution. Usually, it takes a constant supply of meaningless comparisons against others to keep going for a long time with this mindset. On the other hand, not having time management is sticky. A scheduled break, like a sabbath, recognizes the need to work but without it consuming our identity. The sabbath is developed with the understanding that people perform better with breaks, but people also want to always take breaks, so there’s a way to take breaks without detrimentally affecting performance.
Unfortunately, life lessons don’t become life habits without a lot of practice. Living a balanced life isn’t easy, but it is possible. Start with a sabbath. It could be five minutes before you turn on your computer each morning, or a whole Sunday. But knowing when you can rest, and for how long, can be a great way to strike balance.