A Creative Burnout Coach helping small biz creatives stay out of burnout! Welcome to the blog portion of the site. I hope you find something that inspires you & helps you thrive in your creativity.
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Have you ever thought about the fact that the mindset you have created for yourself is actually keeping you in Creative Burnout? Oof, what a loaded question, amiright? Having a “Burnout Mindset” was a topic that I explored extensively during my time of burnout. I was feeling defeated and overwhelmed but I hadn’t stopped to look at how my thought-life was affecting my burnout… Specifically, how it was KEEPING me in burnout. And THAT was a turning point for me.
Let’s get into what a Burnout Mindset is and three thoughts that could be influencing your mindset and keeping you in burnout.
I’m an Enneagram 7. That should explain a lot lol. If you have never heard about the Enneagram, it’s a personality typing test that I am a huge believer in! It helped me greatly to understand why I operated the way I did, how my behavior affected my creative life and just an overall understanding of how I filtered thoughts. When I started to really dive into understanding and addressing my Creative Burnout, I realized that I had developed this sort of “jail” for my thoughts. I was SO stressed, and so overwhelmed, that I turned very black and white and made my thoughts become like “rules” for my life.
Thoughts that might seem ridiculous became normal patterns of thinking while in burnout and it wasn’t until I stopped to address the burnout mindset that I noticed- hey, maybe these thoughts are actually keeping me in burnout. It was a long while but unpacking and pulling these thoughts into reality was the only way I was able to break free. When you create thoughts that become like “rules”, it is extremely useful to take a look at these rules and decide if they need to be part of your life at all.
I want to clarify and say that your mindset is probably NOT what got you into creative burnout in the first place. Most of the time, those are outside circumstances and stressors that we let build up and turn into chronic stress. Instead, what I mean by the burnout mindset is the thoughts and ideas that you develop while in burnout because of your stress, that then you keep as part of your norm.
For me, I had developed such black and white thinking that there was no room for gray and it was breaking me. But I realize now, that I was only trying to survive. When we are stressed and in burnout, we are trying to survive. Our body is in fight/flight/freeze mode and we are filtering our emotions and making sense of as much as we can. We often develop these rigid ways of thinking to help ourselves cope. That is the mindset that I’m referring to when I say the Burnout Mindset. It’s the rigid, rule thinking that is not helping us break free rather it’s keeping us in burnout.
In the youtube video below I talk extensively about the Burnout Mindset thoughts, but I’ll break each down briefly here.
The first concept or idea I had was that my work was about competing or proving myself to others. While this might seem “healthy”, I had no idea that having this thought surround my work was aiding in my hustle mentality. I had to be faster, work longer, work harder, keep on the grind, and find ways to level up. It was going against my core nature to work slowly and methodically, and instead, I was operating out of a desire to please and prove my worth through my creative work. Perhaps you are doing the same?
It might be competing with your peers or others in the industry, or perhaps a need to prove to everyone that you belong where you are, doing what you do. Either way, this mentality is based on FEAR. The fear is driving you and it’s an outward motivator. The truth is that instead of being motivated outwardly but others, your work is about internal motivation. It’s about being impulses from within to create and succeed and express yourself. It’s not a competition when you’re intrinsically motivated, rather it’s a personal game or dance. Your work takes on new meaning and value, and it’s not because of hustle culture. It becomes about you and your craft and that’s a beautiful thing.
This is just not true. I believed this one BIG time. I told myself that being exhausted, working to tears, ignoring my body’s physical ailments, or feeling overwhelmed was just how it went and how the industry was. And when I believed this lie, it was as if I told my body that its signals were no good. I was going to ignore them. In the video, I talk about a car analogy.
Imagine that you turn on your car in the morning and all the check engine lights turn on. Every light that warns you that something is wrong is flashing at you. And as you start to drive away you also hear that your car alarm is beeping! But instead of stopping to take a look at the alarms blaring at you- you just accept this as how your car is. You might wonder, hmm I wonder why I’m not speeding up as fast as I used to… but you keep going.
This is like you and this mindset. You are believing that this is just the way your job is and you have accepted it. If anything you are making it the norm. Stop right there! Your body is telling you this is NOT the norm! And if you continue to accept it, you will continue to keep yourself in burnout.
I also had this belief! My thought was that perhaps if I just took a day off here and there if I just made myself do some self-care I would be okay. This was only aiding in my burnout. I wasn’t addressing the root cause of my stressors and burnout and so, nothing was changing. Just addressing the symptoms wasn’t going to make a difference, it only frustrated me more! When you’re creatively burnt-out your body DOES need rest. It does need time off and it needs to get away and regather itself and it needs LOADS of self-compassion.
However, it also needs for you to take some time out to stop and address what’s really going on. It cannot operate this way much longer! The last kind of thinking is thinking that you can just put on a band-aid and take a few days off and it will all be fine. That’s simply not true! Addressing the root cause of your burnout starts with looking at your stressors, what is causing the chronic stress, and making changes. Without this, you might take that small vacay, but guess what you’ll come back to the same issues!
I address all of these in a little more depth in the video below! Feel free to give it a watch.
When you’re in burnout the last thing you are doing is assessing how your thoughts are hurting or helping. You’re just surviving. But slowing down enough to take a look is going to help you in the long run. Burnout recovery is slow, but it’s possible!