Photo by William Helburn
Sometimes you need to stop, refresh your mind and start again. I often find myself ignoring all the signs of a much needed break. Instead of slowing down when I’m burned out, I tend to work harder. I often think “who has time to refresh?” Seriously, who has time? Somehow in my messed up brain, I’ve come to think that taking time for myself is a luxury not a necessity.
Obviously, my way of thinking is completely wrong (and if it’s not obvious, you should without a doubt continue reading). Not only is it wrong, it’s unhealthy and it’s counter-productive. If I burn out, I can’t give to my clients what they are paying me to do – to be an innovative, creative designer, excited about the challenge they set before me. When I get too close to the edge of burn out, my work becomes generic. Yes, I remain busy when my creative tank is low, but it’s a false sense of productivity. My work lacks inspiration, and I lose the ability to make quick and efficient decisions. In the long run, ignoring “myself” costs me a great deal.
Over this past year, I have been on the course to fixing my method of self-care and how to keep my creative tank full at all times. I have found that the solution is quite simple – take more time for myself and invest in daily inspiration. Most people, including myself, take time for ourselves on the weekends and on our annual week-long vacation. The rest of the year, we ignore all personal needs. We work harder and forget that we need more, to do more. Instead of tending to our needs, our solution is to drink more caffeine, take more pharmaceuticals, eat junk food, buy more stuff we don’t need, and zone out on TV because we lack the energy to do much else. It’s an ugly cycle.
So what does daily inspiration look like? For me, it’s slowing down for about an hour each day, turning off my electronics, and experiencing something new that feeds my senses. Depending on my mood, I will envelope myself in nature, art, or books. The idea is to stop the noise, and refresh the mind. To find inspiration and come back to the work day with fresh eyes.
Lately, I have been delving into design books that emphasize inspiration. From fashion to home décor to food, they are all about stimulating the mind through gorgeous photography. Below are the top new (and a few older) books that have me on an inspiration high. The details, color and innovation are quite stunning. One hour in any of these books and you’ll get the punch of inspiration you were likely needing.
1. William Helburn: Seventh and Madison by Robert Lilly & Lois Allen Lilly
2. In Detail by Hans Blomquist
3. The Inspired Home: Nest of Creatives by Kim Ficaro & Todd Nickey
4. Kinfolk Volume 15: The Entrepreneur Issue by Kinfolk
5. Provence and The Cote D’ Azur by Janelle McCulloch
6. A Life Less Ordinary by Zoe Ellison & Alex Legendre
7. Living in Style London by Geraldine Apponyi & Monika Apponyi
For the last month I have been in a rut. You could call it depression, a funk, writers block, life simply operating sideways, whatever the name it’s where I have been lately. And it’s really tough being creative when you feel half empty. My job is to be creative at the drop of hat. And as of late, I’m really okay with that hat falling to the ground and letting someone else do the song & dance. It’s really strange how the “low’s” come about in ones life. Your just strolling along, enjoying the sunshine and singing birds, and then BAM! You’ve someone how found a pothole the size of Texas and you are lying face down in dirty rain water.
Although I love winter (yes really, I love it), it seems to have an unkind affect on me. I have a feeling I hit the same pothole every January and February. It’s likely due to the lack of sunshine, or the fact that I hibernate in my cozy little house. Now that I am blogging and writing a weekly column for 12th & Broad, it’s not as easy to ignore. I’ve got work to do! I must form words, creative words. I must give new information. I must share all the happenings. But my brain is empty and I feel a bit flat. I don’t feel fancy or interesting, more clinical and practical. I’m in a rut. And I have serious writers block.
Photo from Blogging Your Way
Perfectionism seems to be my main source of not moving forward. I get it stuck in my head that it always needs to be “go big, or go home”. All the time, everyday. I recognize that way of thinking stops me from experiencing and sharing the little things that make life so special. I mean, who has time to be grand all the damn time. But it’s really difficult for me to mix personal and business. To share the smalls because they seem insignificant to anyone outside of my community. Instead of writing everyday on this blog, I put all my energy and perfectionism into 1 or 2 posts a week. It feels more polished, more professional. But without putting risk into my writings, it’s just a pretty (generic) block of words.
So, starting today I am challenging myself to write everyday for 30 days. Over the top design posts or insignificant happenings, I will write everyday to overcome this road block. I fear showing my true self, and yet, myself is what sets me apart. I hope that this challenge will break the long cycle that has stopped me from thriving.
My first thought when I made this decision to write everyday was “WTF AM I GOING TO WRITE?!” And then a light-bulb went off. Go back through the e-course you took from Decor8, Blogging Your Way, and refresh your mind. When I took the course last October, I was just starting the blog. Some of the topics were for when you hit blog burnout. So although they were excellent classes, I wasn’t in a place that I could truly relate. Well, the time has definitely come. And I am so thankful that I had this gem stored away for a rainy day.
My first lesson will be to listen to Holly Becker‘s podcast Blog burn out? Turn blogging into something you love again. (wish I could share, but it’s not a public podcast). I am looking forward to these wise words, and how it will reset my thinking. And hopefully tomorrow I will have something lovely to share.
If you are in dire need of inspiration, empowerment and a community of like-minded people, sign up for the next Blogging Your Way e-course. The podcasts, lessons, and homework will knock your socks off. I am really thankful for the tools and relationships this class gave me.
About Blogging Your Way
Our classes have benefited and motivated thousands of students worldwide and will guide you to tap into your voice, goals and dreams while offering encouragement, friendship and support as you create a blog that you are proud of. You’ll walk away inspired, invigorated, loaded with fresh ideas, armed with the tools that you need to make your blog great AND you’ll have friends for life – our students are friendly, creative, supportive and they stay in touch long after class ends.
In this class, Holly Becker explains exactly how blogging turned her dreams into a reality as she shares hundreds of important tips that she’s learned from being a pro blogger for over nine years. Becker has a massive fan following and a respected blog that is known worldwide, in addition to her three bestselling books, Decorate, Decorate Workshop and Decorate With Flowers which are each being sold in multiple languages internationally.
Whether you are new to blogging or a seasoned pro, this class more than a How To Guide and is NOT a class taught by amateurs – it is your place learn from the pros and from fellow students – this is where you can dig deep into your own desires and passions within a safe and nurturing environment.