Today I have a really exciting guest post for you guys from Melanie at Imagine You! Melanie and I connected on Twitter, and through one of my newsletters, realized that we have a lot in common despite living on opposite ends of the world (she’s in Cape Town, South Africa. how cool is that?). We’re both INFJ’s and her blog also focuses a lot of self care, happiness, personal development, and creativity. I mean, do those categories sound familiar? Our blogs vibe together so well that we just had to collaborate! This post is all about how to deal with creative pressure and stress. Enjoy!
How to Deal With Bad Days When You’re Feeling the Creative Pressure
Ever had one of those really bad days where the creative work you used to enjoy suddenly feels like the hardest thing in the world? You try, but the more you force it, the more overwhelmed you feel. Because you’ve got all this stuff to do and not enough time to get it all done – and now your brain decides it needs a break. Juuust great.
Trust me, I get it. Those days are not fun. And it’s actually something I’ve come to realise: a LOT of us creatives go through this, but we don’t really talk about it too much.
The thing is, with all these ideas we have, the constant brainstorming and pressure we put on ourselves, it’s bound to happen. We’re not robots, but I think sometimes we overestimate just how much we can actually get done in a day. Well, I know I do.
And although we can’t snap our fingers and wish away a bad day, there are some realistic things we can do to combat these negative vibes so that we can feel positive and energised to do what we do best!
Today, I’m sharing a few ways I’ve started dealing with these bad days and hopefully you’ll be inspired to give a couple of them a try, too!
1. Give Something a Break
I know, I know… in a world where there’s ALWAYS something else to do, this probably sounds a little unrealistic. Here me out. Before writing this blog post, I was all set to have my first email series set up with a link added in here. Everything was on track, and then I got this freelance job at the last moment – well, I nearly freaked out wondering how I’d fit it all in. I actually sat for an hour planning and planning but I just couldn’t realistically fit everything in. (Well, besides working till midnight every night and that’s just never going to happen because I value my sleep too much!)
Here’s what I realised after stressing about it for half the day: something HAD to give.
There was just no two ways about it.
Urg. I hate feeling like I can’t do it all – must be the perfectionist in me. So what was I going to cut out? It couldn’t be the freelancing as that’s my contribution to household groceries, and it couldn’t be this blog post because when I commit to doing something for someone else, I follow through. That left the email series I’d been working so hard on. And you know, once I made that choice – I wasn’t overwhelmed anymore.
I asked myself, was it really going to make a difference if I put this email series out right now? NO. Of course not. I just created this crazy overwhelm because I’m super ambitious like that.
Do you ever feel like this?
Take a look at all the balls you’re juggling right now. What can you cut out – at least for a little while – to make things a little less overwhelming? When those bad days happen, it’s usually a sign that we’re trying to do TOO MUCH. So ring it in a little, promise no one is going to judge you for it.
2. Quit Being Creative
You know what my favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning is? Catch up on blog comments and Pinterest – and believe me, I can stretch that into a good solid five hours. Sounds fun, right? A nice little creative start to the weekend with some coffee – no harm in that. Hmmm… repeat that a few weeks and suddenly you’re working a full 6-day week without even realising it. That’s what happened to me recently and when this freelance job came along. I promise you, I was itching to catch up on my blog so bad that Saturday. But I didn’t – I did something totally out of the ordinary: I got BACK into bed and spent the next four hours binge-watching one of my favourite series. At first I felt a little guilty for some reason. And then, two hours in, I felt something I haven’t felt in MONTHS and I’m not even exaggerating. I felt completely relaxed. Not just a little relaxed, TOTALLY relaxed.Take a breath, quit being creative, and relax Click To Tweet
My brain was literally thanking me for the long-overdue creative break.
I think sometimes we forget how much we actually expect our brains to do when we’re coming up with ideas for blog posts and creating images on Canva or writing fresh and engaging content. It takes a lot of brainpower to get inspired! And burnout from doing the thing we love is not something we should ever entertain, because that’s when it stops being fun, you know?
And that sucks.
So, if you’ve been on a non-stop mission to get your side project or blog growing by hustling hard over weekends or putting in extra hours after your 9-5, I want you to take a BREATH.
Kudos for the amazing creative work you’re doing and let me tell you – with passion and persistence you will get there. BUT, patience is a word Gary Vaynerchuk likes to throw around so I’m squeezing it in here for benefit. Note to self: it’s OKAY to take four hours on a Saturday – or an entire weekend for that matter! – to just chill the heck out and not be busy. See friends, go to a movie, get out into nature, take a hike, go shopping, binge-watch a series, buy a new book and read it from cover to cover in one sitting.
Just block off time regularly to do the things you keep pushing aside in order to make your dream work.
Because, when you do that, I PROMISE you, you’re going to feel so much more refreshed and even more creative. (I’m writing this blog post after my binge-watching session and you know something? I literally feel like I could write an entire book right now!)
3. Look To The Future; Look To The Past
Whenever I start doubting what I’m doing because of a bad day, I make it a habit to think about two things: 1) Why I started this whole creative journey in the first place and 2) Where I want to be a year from now. Say for instance you’ve been really productive with your blog, but you’ve been working too hard and now you’re wondering if you should even bother carrying on.
Ever had those days?
I have and let me assure you, they’re totally normal. I actually consider these to be more like mini tests to see how badly I really want this creative dream.
Because, how easy is it to give up when things get a little tough, hey? Instead of doing that, ask yourself WHY you’re blogging. Is it to inspire people? Do people look forward to reading your blog? Even if you think no one is reading, chances are, you’re probably inspiring at least one person. Maybe they’re having a bad day and your blog post could be just the thing they needed to read to get out of their funk. When you get back to the WHY you started, it’s a lot easier to deal with – and get through the bad days.
Imagine if you stopped this whole creative journey you’re on now because of a few bad days?
Imagine where you’d be a year from now if you didn’t.
I know it might sound a little corny, but I swear, it’s a pretty strong motivator that’s keeping me going right now. Because, I know success doesn’t happen overnight and these struggles are all part of the story; it’s really just the teething stages. It’s the growing pains you’re going to remember and talk about in a year or two or three once you’re really in it. And you know what? How cool would it be to be able to share your story with others and tell them that yes, you had bad days and you wanted to quit, but you stuck through it, you tweaked things, you took a break when you needed one, you pushed through, you MADE it.
How amazing would that be?
Let’s Recap Quick
To get through the bad days and prevent creative overwhelm, you need to get real with yourself and what you’re realistically capable of.
- Cut out one or two creative tasks so that you don’t feel so pressured
- Plan more non-creative breaks over weekends and after your workday
- Remember why you started and imagine where you want to be a year from now
At the end of the day, it’s about flowing NOT forcing.
We’re not accountants or lawyers.
We chose this creative life or our creative side hustle for a reason – because we love what we do and we want to share that. The thing is, when you’re hustling non-stop and not giving your brain a break, it doesn’t only take a toll on you, but it’s pretty noticeable in your work (at least, this is what I’ve found to be true from personal experience).Remember why you started your creative journey and where you hope to be Click To Tweet
So give yourself a freaking break! You’re doing great, keep going and give yourself permission to relax MORE instead of thinking you’ve got to be switched on 24/7. You’ll get there, I promise! And wouldn’t it be more fun to get there without a bunch of (extra) grey hair?
Let’s try and keep those stress vibes at bay as much as we can, shall we?
We’ve got this!
Melanie is the content creator behind Imagine You. She’s passionate about simplifying the creative life and helping others do the same. Her main areas of focus are content creation, personal development, and streamlining systems and daily routines. She blends her experience in digital marketing with her passion for real talk. Melanie also hosts The Imagine You Podcast, which focuses on creative life and self improvement.