Overwhelm and exhaustion suck.
And when you’re working in a creative field being knackered can totally deplete you of your ideas, imagination and enthusiasm.
Here’s how I go about keeping my creative fuel tank topped up throughout the year.
I hope that my experience can help you to keep yours going too! Especially during this last push of the year before we hang up real clothes for pyjamas!
Just me ???? . . . ?!
How I Keep My Creative Fuel Tank Topped Up Throughout The Year
1 – Plan Time Out
Rather than waiting for the exhaustion to kick in, look ahead at your calendar and factor in breaks. These breaks can be strategically popped in to work alongside your busy/slow seasons, or they can be regularly spaced out so that you know you always have a pause on the horizon.
Keeping your batteries regularly topped up, rather than draining them to empty, means that you always have a reserve of energy to call upon.
There will be days/weeks when you’ll need to dredge up some extra oomph, and unless you have some energy stored away you’ll be headed to exhaustion pretty quickly.
Nowadays I know that I have two big breaks factored into my year: Christmas, and August. Next year I’m planning on taking a leaf out of my friend Laura’s book, and buying myself a big wall calendar to pop in my breaks well ahead of time.
I still plan on taking long ones when I can, but I’d also like to factor some mini ones in too.
Etsy have some great options for wall calendars! How gorgeous is this one?!
2 – Set Boundaries, And Stick To Them
Boundaries are your BEST FRIEND when it comes to preserving your energy. Your health is your number one asset, so protect it like it is.
What can you realistically commit to on any given day/week/month, whilst keeping your fuel tank topped up?
If you need to politely turn down an invitation, a work offer, or reschedule something to give yourself some more breathing room – do so.
People worth welcoming into your life are people who respect your boundaries.
3 – Travel For Creativity
Travelling is one of the best ways to reenergise yourself.
In April this year I took my first solo travelling trip in forever, and spent some time in Texas.
The impetus for me travelling to Texas was to attend the Illume Retreat in Waco, but I tagged some extra time on to stay in Austin too.
I could have talked myself out of going on that trip a million times over – too expensive, bad timing, too indulgent – but that trip was pivotal for me.
Not only was the trip a break from the pressures of work and moving house, it was also a whopping great injection of inspiration.
I made it my mission to visit places which would stoke my creative fire. Restaurants, bars, galleries and shops which I could ogle the decor of. Simply being in another place put all of my senses on high alert, and I was soaking up so much information every day.
I also invited my great friend Amanda to spend time with me in Austin, and hanging out with a great friend and exploring the city together was such a boost. Since Amanda and I also work in the same industry we were able to chat about our work in a way you can only do when you have TIME.
Whilst Austin was a big trip, I’ve also felt completely refreshed after 24hrs at the beach too.
It doesn’t need to be a big commitment, but changing your environment is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to top up my creative tank.
4 – Go With The Flow
One of the most energy-draining things I come across, is fighting against flow. When you know something just feels ‘off’ but you’re going along with it anyway.
I wrote about this at length here but here’s a summary from the post which sums it up in a pretty neat way!
Learning to ‘go with the flow’ and to keep that mantra close to mind has been one of my greatest aides in life.
It helps me to make choices, and to allow things to unfold naturally in a way which feels ‘right’ for me.
Rather than battling against my own instincts, and leading with my ego, when I keep ‘flow’ to mind I follow the course which feels most natural and comfortable for me.
Fortuitously it is when I am in ‘the flow’ that I most often see the results I desire too, like greater inspiration, more energy and more positive opportunities coming my way. Those may have all been things which I could have sought more fiercely, but somehow what is meant to come to you will do so, when you allow it to naturally.
Essentially, being honest with myself about what feels ‘right’ for me, has led to so much more energy because I’m not causing friction where it doesn’t need to be.
5 – Create Create Create
There are so many elements of my work which aren’t creative at all – accounts, contracts, emails . . . zzzz.
Sometimes I get so lost in the mechanics of a functioning business that I forget to prioritise the creative stuff! Styling, shoots, writing . . . those are the elements of my work which I really love.
As with any task, the more you do it the better at it you become.
If you feel your creativity has dropped off a cliff, rest, reset and try your hand at something creative again – without any pressure.
Try something just for yourself so that you can ‘afford’ to mess up.
Once they’re oiled up – keep going! One of the biggest creativity-boosters for me, is simply being creative.
Writing more often = more ideas. Styling photos more often = more creative inspiration.
Create, create, create so that you can keep on creating!
Take A ‘Creative Day’
People take ‘sick days’ and ‘personal days’ – taking a ‘creative day’ is 100% worthwhile if it’s of value to you too.
Everyone’s ‘creative day’ will look different. For me I would log out of work completely and give myself permission to just be curious, and seek inspiration.
That could be leafing through a stack of magazines, indulging in my favourite treat – a manicure! – or heading to an exhibition.
I also love to peruse blogs and Instagram, without the pressure of needing to post myself.
Give yourself the luxury of a creative day, to top up your fuel tank just a little bit more. It will feel SO good!
Keeping my creative fuel tank topped up is crucial to my work and personal wellbeing.
Feeling uninspired is often intrinsically linked to feeling exhausted. I know that when my creative well is empty that something bigger is at play.
By prioritising rest, flow and creativity I aim to keep my creative energy topped up. That way I can continue to do the work that I love, and lead a lifestyle which fills me up.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
I’d love to get your thoughts!
How do you keep your creative fuel tank topped up throughout the year?
Love, Monica x
Photography by Charlotte Bryer-Ash