You cannot push your mental health aside to deal with at a later date. You cannot assume your pain will act as a muse for your next assignment. When you are suffering, your work is going to suffer along with you.
If you want to create high-quality art, you have to put effort into your mental health. You have to take breaks when you feel yourself inching close to exhaustion. You have to discover outlets for your stress. You have to see a therapist when your problems become too big for you to handle on your own.
When you create for a living, self-care becomes a priority. If you allow your issues to fester, if you procrastinate when it comes to taking care of yourself, then your creativity is eventually going to decline. You cannot work through your weekends without leaving space to see your friends. You cannot work through your lunch breaks without stopping to fill your stomach. You cannot push yourself until you reach your breaking point.
You need to maintain a healthy state of mind in order to end up with a thriving career. Your mind is the source of your creativity, which means your mind is your most important asset. You cannot allow it to rot. You cannot neglect it because you are too busy to focus on anything other than your work.
Unfortunately, when you work in the arts, it’s easy to become obsessive over your craft. It’s easy to believe you are going to fall behind if you take a two-second break, let alone a weeklong vacation. Even though you need to put in a lot of effort in order to get noticed in your field, that does not mean you need to work twenty-four seven.
Pushing yourself is not going to help you reach success faster. If anything, it is only going to slow you down. It is going to slowly decrease the quality of your work. It is going to make it more difficult for you to come out with a project that makes you proud.
The last thing you want to do is hurt your career, but sometimes taking a break, slowing down, and moderating how much work you put onto your plate at once is the best thing you can do for your career. Sometimes you have to give yourself time to rest and restore.
You cannot expect to create your best work while running on three cups of coffee and four hours of sleep. When you are drowsy and distracted by outside problems, you are going to unconsciously slack on your work. Your creativity relies on your alertness. Your brain needs to be in a healthy state in order to function properly, in order to reach your full potential.
If you want to continue doing what you love for a living, you need to take better care of your body and your mind. Stop putting off doctor appointments. Stop canceling plans with friends on weekends. Stop allowing your world to revolve around your career. Even though your work is the most important thing in your life, you also need a social life. You need hobbies. You need distractions that will lower your stress levels.
Even though you feel like you are doing the right thing by working nonstop, refusing to take a break is actually unhealthy. When you create for a living, self-care becomes a priority. You need to take care of yourself in order to create your best work. Otherwise, you are going to burn out and you won’t be able to create anything at all.