If you have recently pushed through a project or commission, achieved a big goal, or just had a large exhibition, you can end feeling great about your achievement but feel creatively burnt out. The best thing for you is some creative rest, literally and figuratively. Taking time to take a break or rest in between big projects will not only affect your creative well being but also your physical and mental health. This post reminds us the importance of taking care of our inner artists by taking a break once in a while.
A Little R & R
Working through exhaustion is much like spinning your wheels, you won’t get anywhere fast. As artists, when we have hit this point or see it on the horizon, rest is the only thing to get us moving towards our artistic success. Rest is important and can include relaxation and sleep. If you have been doing some late nights in the studio pushing until you meet your deadline, then consider taking some time off and literally resting. Rest is important to your overall wellbeing and health. Find ways to rest including meditation, yoga, naps, and quiet walks, resting does not need to mean sleeping. What we need sometimes is active resting. Take mental breaks to fill back up your creative well so you can return to productivity.
Your brain needs rest to be creative. Busy overwhelmed minds have less time to “daydream” and make creative connections. This form of rest allows room for us to brainstorm your next idea. Pushing yourself and overworking doesn’t lead to productive work. In reality , our brain never really stops working or thinking. Reflect on all the times when you get some of your best creative ideas. It usually happens when your brain is doing simple tasks but has the capacity to daydream. Washing dishes, driving, showering and other tasks that you don’t really need to think too much about while executing allow your brain to drift and dream a bit. Allow yourself to daydream, you never know what next great idea will bubble up.
Rest and sleep impacts our entire body system physically, emotionally and mentally. The obvious reason why rest is important besides increased creativity are other health benefits like increasing longevity, reducing stress, boosting your immune system and restoring physical and mental energy. The more you take care of your artist’s body and health, the longer you will live and the longer you can keep marketing art.
Unplug if you need to. Turn off the social media, even if its just for a day or a week. Being an artist includes not only making the artwork but also being the administration assistant, PR person, accountant and a whole bunch of other roles. With marketing this means not only physical marketing but online which can mean having fans, friends and followers to post, respond and comment to. Sometimes taking a break from all of these demands, dings, requests and emails to find a bit more balance and self care is needed. Try a digital vacation! There are plenty of apps that can post photos, statuses and blogs on your behalf while you relax.
Sometimes we want to continue to make art while we are resting. Consider working in a new or different media in this time. We get ideas from a wide variety of resources so you might find you next big series from your creative rest time.
Creative Wellness is a blog post I wrote a while back that outlines ways to take care of our artist bodies. Take a peak at this post to make sure you are taking care of your artist the best way possible.