Do you struggle with creative burnout?
Is your creativity a story of periods of manic intense activity followed by resentful low periods of inactivity?
Do you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of starting another new project?
Do you feel like you’re running out of time and energy to get everything done?
In this episode, we’ll be exploring how to stay focused, energised and manage our creative energy. I’ll be lifting the lid on burnout and why society has hidden the idea of creative joy from us to keep our creativity under control. I’ll walk you through an exercise that will help you uncover those activities that will feed your soul and show you how to prioritise these life-giving activities and work them into your creative practice.
Got a burning question you’d love me to answer? Send me a voice message and I’ll answer in a future episode at https://www.speakpipe.com/CreativePower
To find out how to work with me visit www.camillafellasarnold.com/creativepower
For episode transcripts visit: https://camillafellasarnold.com/category/podcast/
Camilla Fellas Arnold
Welcome to Creative Power, and podcast designed to help you claim the full spectrum of your creative potential. I’m Camilla fellas Arnold. And I’m passionate about discussing how we change the face of both the creative industries, and how we interact with creativity itself. So that in nourishes our soul, and helps us express ourselves within alignment, flow and authenticity. Let’s get started.
Welcome back to creative power. Last week, we talked about how to prioritise and streamline your ideas. So you can get them out of your head as quickly and as easily as possible in this fire season. Where are we really doing things, we’ve got all that forward momentum, we’ve got that action, we want to get going, we are raring to go. And one thing that I talked about when I was breaking down, how to prioritise your tasks was, I like to ask myself, what is joyful, and exciting to me. And I use that as one of my three ways of prioritising this line of questioning is really important. Probably the most important, and it’s the one that is really unconsidered. It’s the one that’s forgotten about, it’s the one that’s hidden, people don’t want you to think about it, because that’s not how society usually operates. You know, society is built on this paradigm of, it’s always going to be a struggle and suffering. And actually, we’re always striving, we’re always dreaming, we’re always hoping for more, we’re always, you know, chasing that little grain, that nugget of happy happiness. And so the idea of joy has been buried. And what this question of what is joyful and exciting to me as a way of prioritising my projects, what that does is that flips that whole paradigm of suffering completely on its head. And it’s so important, because the joy, the energy, the things that are exciting to us, the things that make us happy. And the things that give us energy to keep going, you get these people who will tell you, you know, you can read them out online, that you need to indulge in self care, and all this kind of stuff. But actually, these are just things that you should be doing to look after yourself anyway, in my opinion, you know, keeping yourself happy, you know, prioritising yourself, is the most important thing, because I say it a lot because it’s, it’s true, the old adage, it’s cliche, but you can’t pour from an empty cup, you simply can’t, you don’t have the energy, if you are not nourishing your soul. If you are not filling your cup with things that give you energy that make you happy, that make you feel like you have some zest for life, then you will struggle to do anything for anyone else. So coming back to this idea of joy, what is joyful, what is exciting, will really help you particularly manage your energy levels. Because you know what? It can be really tempting to rush ahead, right now, you know, summers coming, the sun is shining. I mean, here in the UK, we’ve had some beautiful weather, which we don’t always have, it’s always in a rainy and miserable today. It’s rainy and miserable. But we’ve been having some really hot weather, which is unusual, shall we say? So we’ve got all this energy and excitement. People want to get outside and do all the things. But what happens is you do a lot all at once, and you can start to risk becoming burnt out. Because you’ve used up all your energy and haven’t thought about what actually is going to sustain you in a more more deliberate way more more constant way rather than these short bursts of energy, and then you’re flat out because you’ve used everything up Creativity is better served when it is a marathon, not a sprint. Because otherwise, you can start to resent the creative process. Because what happens is you start to oscillate between feelings of mania. And you’ve got this high activity where you’re just create Greek, Greek root, great, you’re just making loads of stuff, doing all the things, really super focused on getting that stuff done. You oscillate between that. And then when the project is over, and you use up all your energy, you can enter a kind of,
I suppose a depressive, resentful period of burnout, where you’ve just emptied the tank, you have nothing left in your internal battery. You’re just burnt out, you’re just done with the process. So by coming back to this question that I said about where you prioritise, asking yourself what is joyful, what is exciting to me, we’re turning the industry and society in a way on its head. And looking at joy, being the defining factor for us rather than anything else. Because you know what? Society tells us that creativity isn’t fun. And they tell us or try to tell us that if it is fun, it’s childish. And we’re not allowed to be children. Because we’re adults. Now we have to be all responsible and serious, and bla bla bla, bla, bla, but have all these burdens. So according to the world we live in creativity is pain and suffering. According to the world I live in, nope, absolutely not. Because who does that serve? Who does it serve to have creativity being a painful process, a process of you know, starving artists suffering artists, it doesn’t serve me as the artist as the creator. It serves everyone who enjoys my work. Everyone who benefits from the things that I create serves all of them, but it doesn’t serve me. And that’s not okay. In my world, but that is not okay. I serve me, first and foremost. And I invite you to serve yourself too. So let’s flip the industry on its head. And come back to this idea of joy. Creative joy. So what we want to do is we want to look at those internal supply lines, those arteries for our creativity, and ask ourselves, what feeds our soul? What feeds my soul? And it could be the work that you’re already doing. And if so, that is great, amazing, fantastic. If you are feeling energised and in love with life, and you love the things you’re doing and creating, that is fantastic. That’s what we want. Or it could be that you have the work that you do the creative work you do, or maybe not creative work you do. And you could have a passion project on the side. I mean, for me, I’ve told the story before but I’ll tell it in 25 words or less again, last year, when I felt felt burnt out. The only remedy for me when I sat there, and I asked myself, where’s the joy for me today? It was a book project that I was working on, about Shetland sheepdogs, which are my dog breed of choice. I make an annual every single year for them. And I lost myself for good four to six weeks, just working solidly on this project last year, because every time I sat on my desk, so where’s the joy for me today? That was the answer. I had to sit there, get quiet in myself, really ask myself really tune in? Where is the joy for me today? What can I bring myself to do? What do I want to do? And this book was the answer. So I did it. And what I found was that this project, energised me, in a way that no amount of face masks and bubble baths ever could. This project is the stuff that truly fed my soul. When you find when you’ve got that project, whether it’s a passion project, whether it’s just the work you’re already doing. It gives you a new kind of energy that is sustainable in the long term. And that’s what I’m talking about, in terms of this kind of creativity and creative joy. We’re not talking about short bursts of high energy really intense periods of high activity. And then we drop because we’ve emptied the bucket, we’ve drained the battery, we’re talking about
a most consistent energy level, more consistent joy in the space, more consistent forward momentum to keep going. We don’t have these periods where we need to escape from our lives where we need to rest where we’re feeling burned out. They don’t exist, because you’re not burning yourself out. You’re not racing a million miles an hour. You’re still in forward momentum. But it’s a, it’s a state. It’s a rate that’s sustainable to you, whatever that looks like. And that pace will be different for everyone. Now, I’ve said there about it could be the work you already do. If so great. It could be a passion project you’ve got on the side. It could also be something else entirely that feeds your soul that has nothing to do with your creativity. Maybe I don’t know your passion for baking or running brings you the joy you need to keep going. And it first you may think to yourself, I don’t know how to bring this into my creative work. It doesn’t seem to fit. I mean, I’ve always been very, very passionate about Shetland sheepdogs love my breed of dog. I’ve always found that having dogs in my life just brings me so much joy. And I found a way to make that passion. Work with my creativity. But that may not always be the case. I mean, for example, I also happen to love roller skating. And this year, I’m planning to get back into it after a long sabbatical. Am I going to become a roller skating painter? Absolutely not. You do not want to see that happen? Because it’s not really going to happen. It just go terribly wrong. But roller skating does make me smile, and it energises me it makes me want to feel like life is worth living. I’m not chained to my desk slogging for the man every day because I’ve got something to go do. That’s fun. I love that brings me joy. And this is what I’m talking about. What things do you absolutely love? What things make you smile? What brings you joy? What are the things that make up your one extraordinary life? So it’s important to identify what are these Joy breathing activities, because when we are in a state of burnout, we can’t always remember what other things we found fun. And we definitely don’t have the energy for them. So when you’re not in that state, it’s important to start cultivating a list to remind yourself just what are the things that are important. And there’s an exercise that I like doing. And that I suggest I’m suggesting you HERE WE GO app called the three P’s of happiness. And essentially, it’s a Venn diagram. So if you don’t know what a Venn diagram is, the circles that intersect, so you draw three circles, and they all intersect one another. And for each one, each circle, you’ve got different p of happiness. So one is pleasure. One is purpose. One is peace. And you write down, what activities bring you in those circles, what activities bring you a sense of pleasure. What things do you do that give you a sense of purpose or peace. And then where those circles overlap, you’ll be able to write something that gives you a sense of peace and purpose, or pleasure and purpose, or pleasure and peace. And then ideally, what we want to be doing with our lives, is something that hits that sweet spot in the middle that gives you a sense of pleasure, purpose and peace. That that’s that’s the goal. That’s the goal. If we can find something that hits all of those points that ticks all of those boxes, you’ve got it made. But don’t discard the things that just sit in the pleasure circle or the piece one or the purpose one. There’s value to be had in the activities that sit in just one of those circles too. Because they’re all things that that add richness to your life. You know, if you don’t do the things that sit in one of the circles and don’t overlap into the other ones, you could be missing out on something that gives you a real sense of peace. That really, really add something to your life. If really
helps you in some way, so don’t discard anything, even if it doesn’t fit in that sweet, special spot in the middle, don’t discard them, just find a way to make them work for you. So what I suggest is take some time to draw up your own three P’s of happiness diagram. And ask yourself, this isn’t one of those things, it’s going to be done in five minutes. Give yourself the time, pin it up somewhere, you can see it over a week or two weeks, and add to it when something hits you. So what brings you peace? What brings you pleasure? What brings you a sense of purpose. And you may find that the ideas kind of spark off because you know how that works. We just ideas come out of nowhere. And you could see a way to bring one of your passions one of these things from this exercise into your creative work. And if you do great, but if not, also breaks. You’ve still identified something that feeds your soul, something that energises you focus on those things, bring those into your life, we want to think about the things that that you do that makes time absolutely fly, where you just lose all sense of time and space. This is what we are aiming for. Because you know what? No one wants to be clock watching their entire life. No one wants to be a slave to the nine to five with, you know, literally you wake up, you go to work, you go home, sleep, wake up and repeat. That’s not living. That’s when we phone in. That’s when we check out life. So these three P’s of happiness will enrich your life, they will give you the energy give you the zest for life. And make you want to do more. And I don’t mean do more as in get busier. I mean, they just give you that energy to do more things. They help feed your creativity, even if they are not creative themselves. What they are doing is bringing you into that state of joy or talked about. And that creative joy is honestly it’s where the magic happens. This is I think this is why society tells us that creativity is about pain and suffering. Because there’s so much magic to be had in the creative Joy space. Like so many possibilities, so many incredible things that we could create that we can’t even comprehend right now. That if they keep you away from it, if the the unit, we’re not the universe, but if society keeps you away from it, then society doesn’t have to face what it is created. In terms of this, this mentality that we will have to suffer. We don’t have to face what we have created. Because you’re not creating it, you’re kept away from it. Does that make sense? I think it does. So, joy, follow the joy is like little trail of breadcrumbs, you know, go after Hansel and Gretel. Find the joy in your life, it will bring you so much magic, honestly, really, really does. Now on my last point, before I go, for the things that don’t seem like an obvious fit into your creative life, that you absolutely love to do them anyway. Before you discard them and just say, Oh, well, that doesn’t fit that’s not creative. It’s just something I love doing. Take it as a challenge. How could you make it fit? How could you bring it into your creativity? It may not be possible, but it may be the answer may completely surprise you and open you up to some new possibilities. And even just thinking through it, giving yourself the challenge to come up with something was certainly bring fresh energy and excitement into the space because what you’re doing is you’re attempting to bring your passion into your creativity. And that may be something that you haven’t done for a while. So that will definitely shake things up. Allow for the unexpected to come up and surprise you. Because you know what if you’re always trying to make everything fit in there neatly, imperfectly, then there’s no. There’s no space for creative curveballs to come spinning your way. So I’m going to finish this episode here.
But I invite you to give the three P’s of happiness exercise a try, and then see how you can bring those activities into your life more. And I bet I bet you will notice a massive difference to your mood and energy levels. I know I certainly did. And it’s definitely given me a morsel. sustained energy to keep creating and when I start to lose those things, that’s when I find myself starting to burn out more. So it’s a really good marker for yourself to help you. As you start to feel low energy, it’s like, oh, well, what could I do that will give me some more energy in the space? What will bring me back into that more consistent energy rather than empty battery and burnout. So give it a try. And don’t forget, you can always send me a message I would love to hear if you do this exercise and how it works out for you. I’m gonna leave a link in the show notes to my SpeakPipe you can send me a voice message on there tell me how it’s gone. Ask me a question, and I will answer it in the next episode. Thanks for listening to creative power today. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with your friends and consider leaving a review. To find out more ways you can connect or work with me, please visit www dot Camilla fellas arnold.com forward slash creative power