In my previous career, I worked for a tech company. Lots of stress and chaos took me to the point of burnout. My energy was low and my motivation lower. I knew that I was not anywhere near my best self and that is when I decided it was time to take a sabbatical. At the time, I had no idea how wonderful it would become.
For my sabbatical, I chose to travel and study, two things I have always enjoyed. My destination was Sydney, Australia, and it became my home for the next six months. Along with a classroom filled with students from around the world, I began to rebound and reenergize. Today, I see this as one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it also led me to my real passion — the work I do today as an illustrator and children’s author.
With age, wisdom follows. (Who has not heard that, right?) One of the most important bits of wisdom I have discovered is the importance of taking a break. So many people say they should or would or want to; however, too few actually do it! I am not saying you need to travel across the world for a half a year. There are ways to stop the burnout and promote personal wellness that can take place in your “here and now,” wherever that may be. It turns out there is a science behind burnout and the creative blocks it causes, which can disrupt our creativity, which we do need regardless of our career.
- Learn something new.
When we take a new course or do an activity to add to our knowledge bank, we give ourselves a positive disruption to our routine. We gift ourselves with the ability to become unstuck, thereby avoiding ruts. So, go ahead and explore something new.
2. Incorporate your senses into your daily rituals.
By giving yourself a few minutes of “you time” you can enjoy your favorite type of tea or cup of coffee with newfound pleasure. You can put your heart to paper by expressing gratitude in your journal. (Yes, handwriting is most effective, as it allows for a slower, more thoughtful process.)
3. Let good sleep be your friend.
Our best creative selves do great work when we are energized. This means getting enough sleep at night and even enjoying the fun indulgence of a 20-minute nap, as necessary. A short nap can turn an hour project into one that only takes a half-hour.
4. Exercise! (I really mean it.)
Most people have careers behind a desk, but we are actually built to move. This is why exercise is so important to us. You can do yoga, take a class, or enjoy a walk in nature. It is your call what you do, but just do something!
5. Meditate for a calmer and clearer mind.
Life’s most pressing moments (and even the less pressing ones) do not need to be “fight or flight” responses. YouTube is a fantastic source for guided meditations, which are the ones where you close your eyes, someone with a magnificent voice does the talking, and you leave with a calmer, clearer mind.
These are a few of my favorite ways to take a break and prevent burnout. How are you going to take your break today? Please share!