As an artist, you feel like your work day is never done. You are convinced you are never going to make it in your field unless you work nonstop. You are never going to outshine your competition or keep the attention span of your audience unless you are constantly producing new art. Whenever you are feeling worn down, you remind yourself you picked a tough career path and have to pay the price. You have to work longer hours. You have to put in extra effort. You have to keep going until you collapse. Those are lies you tell yourself.
While it’s true you have to put in an extreme amount of effort to make it as an artist, you do not have to burn yourself out. You do not have to keep creating until you make yourself sick. You do not have to put your mental or physical health at risk for the sake of your art.
You deserve a rest. You deserve a chance to recharge after all of the work you have been doing lately. You are allowed to step away from your art for a little while. You are allowed to focus on other areas of your world, aside from your career. Even if your creative gig is your full-time job, you still deserve a vacation. You deserve time away to reset and recuperate.
When you decide to book a flight overseas or snooze your alarm clock in the morning, you should not feel like you are wasting time. You should not feel like you are letting down your audience. You are going to have a hard time creating good art when you are tired. Your work is going to suffer along with you.
Even though taking a break might feel like procrastination to you, it is a healthy part of the creative process. Burnout happens when you push yourself too far for too long. Forcing yourself to continue working when you are running out of energy is going to harm you in the long run. If you burn yourself out, you are going to get nothing done. You might as well practice self-care before you reach the point of no return. You might as well do nothing now and keep yourself healthy.
You are not lazy for taking time off from work. You are not a failure for needing gaps in between projects. Nonstop work culture is toxic.
If you cannot find inspiration for a new idea or the motivation to continue an ongoing project, give yourself a break.
If you cannot remember the last time you slept for a full eight hours or had a home cooked meal, give yourself a break.
If you cannot find enjoyment in your work anymore, give yourself a break.
Allow yourself to create at your own pace. You do not have to race to finish what you have been working on. You can take your time. You can do a little bit each day — or you can spend a few days doing nothing at all.
If you keep going at an unhealthy pace, your work is going to suffer. The secret to creating good art is taking care of yourself. You will have an easier time finding inspiration when you are well-fed and well-rested. Once you reach a healthy state of mind, you are going to have an easier time coming up with new ideas and following through on them.
Once you are rested, you are actually going to enjoy working on your art instead of forcing yourself to work because it is a part of your routine.