Say No to Creative Burnout: 5 Easy Steps to Support Yourself for Designers

 • 7 min read
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Say No to Creative Burnout: 5 Easy Steps to Support Yourself for Designers [Audio version]
Say No to Creative Burnout: 5 Easy Steps to Support Yourself for Designers [Audio version]

Have you experienced severe fatigue from work that no longer pleases you? This article can help you, as you may be experiencing creative burnout.

Don`t be afraid of this expression – everything is alright with you and you aren`t alone.

For example, task manager Asana published creative burnout statistics in 2022:

Creative burnout statistics in 2022.

Let’s figure out what it is, the symptoms, and how to avoid creative burnout. We have prepared for you 5 tips that can improve your standard of living and well-being.

What Is Creative Burnout?

In 2019, ‘burnout’ was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ as lockdowns have drastically affected our work-life balance and working environments.

Burnout is a state of being physically and mentally exhausted. You may experience this when you have been under stress at work for a long time, or when you have been working in a physically or emotionally exhausting position for a long time. Many workers experience this, but they may think it’s just stress.

Below you will see the symptoms that indicate that you may have burnout.

Drawn psychologist and her client on the couch and blue text above them.

How Do You Know If You Have Creative Burnout?

Burnout and stress have similar symptoms, so people may confuse the two terms. In simple terms, the difference between stress and burnout is that burnout is long-term stress that you cannot cope with.

In this case, you may see some of the symptoms of creative burnout:

  • fear of work
  • cynicism at work
  • irritability or anger at work
  • lack of interest or motivation
  • feelings of hopelessness at work
  • exhaustion
  • chronic stress
  • bad dreams
  • decreased sense of accomplishment
  • desire to isolate oneself from others
  • uncontrolled delayed reactions
  • sudden and intense irritation at work
  • decreased vigilance
  • feeling unable to cope with new challenges
  • frequent health problems, from headaches and colds to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety

If something resonated with you, then take note of the following exercises. You can try to introduce them into your life one by one and see what works best for you.

Banner for reducing creative burnout.

How to Overcome Creative Burnout? Manage It!

Restore Sleep Mode

Problems with sleep can affect how you feel physically and mentally, and how you feel can also affect how you sleep. 83% of people felt that poor sleep could contribute to burnout.

Infographic about sleep importance.

It is worth restoring your sleep pattern so that the body rests. How can you do it?

  1. Don’t use gadgets for at least 30 minutes before bed.
  2. Choose a sleep schedule that suits you.
  3. Follow a routine at all times (yes, even on the weekends).
  4. Choose comfortable pillows and bed.
  5. Sleep in a dark and cool room.
  6. Don’t set your alarm in the morning.
  7. Drink less coffee and energy drinks.

Planned Vacation

Yes, you need to plan not only work but also rest. Burnout also happens when you work hard but don’t reward yourself for it. So plan your weekends and holidays. Your body needs breaks to recover.

Also add small breaks during work days, such as 10-15 minutes after turning on gadgets and other tasks. This will help with reducing creative burnout in the workplace.

If during the rest you feel discomfort, then consider going to a specialist.

Adequately Assessed Tasks

Don’t set deadlines that require you to work 24/7. Yes, it can be profitable in the short term to get money. But in the future, the state of fatigue and stress can greatly increase and the value of this money will be less than the negative feelings that result.

So, set adequate deadlines for the completion of work, possibly with a margin of time for force majeure situations.

Plan Your Work

Good planning is essential to avoid burnout. Allocate for yourself urgent and non-urgent tasks, considering how much time is needed to complete them, and what resources are needed. Do not keep it all in your head – transfer it to a convenient format so that you can see these tasks (on a calendar, phone, etc).

So you can understand and adequately distribute your workload, try to reduce overtime hours. For designers, this is a must-have, because it is difficult to keep all the tasks in your head. Without planning, you can end up taking a lot of orders, not being on time, and feeling a lot of stress, especially if you are a freelance designer and you already have an irregular workload.

Meme cat with a raised finger and a crying cat.

You can use paper and different task services for this – Notion, Asana, Trello, Miro, etc. Choose what is more convenient for you. For example, we have cool Notion templates that will make it easier for you to plan and control your projects.

Notion Bundle for Designers

Price $60
File type PDF
Date July 1 2022
5 (9 Votes)
This Designer’s Business Hub has everything you need to run your design business like a boss
Show More

Designer’s Business Hub on Notion

Price $35
File type PDF
Date August 1 2022
5 (15 Votes)
This Designer’s Business Hub is packed full of ideas, design resources and spaces to organise your business.
Show More

Personal Organisation Hub on Notion

Price $35
File type PDF
Date July 1 2022
5 (15 Votes)
This hub includes over 20 pages of templates including weekly planners, recipes, reading lists, reflective journals and much more!
Show More

Build Personal Boundaries

Do you constantly take on extra tasks? Do you agree to uninteresting tasks because you are always asked to do them? Such situations indicate the absence of personal boundaries. In this case, you are balancing a lot of tasks that you do not need at all.

You must learn how to say no to employers, clients, and loved ones who violate your boundaries. This way you can say no to your creative burnout.
It is very difficult for a designer without solid boundaries to work. Why? Because then you might end up dealing with:

  • working on uninteresting orders
  • answering work messages after your working hours
  • disrespectful behavior from customers
  • many edits without payment, etc.

How can this be avoided? It is best to work with a psychologist, but you can start now. For example, when a client writes corrections to your design, then specify that the next ones will be for a certain amount. This will save you from constantly changing your design.

Build relationships so that people respect you. Take care of yourself and your mental health – it is much more expensive than customers.

Comic book with a question on a purple background and an answer with a photo of an angry cat on an orange background.

It would be interesting to learn more about personal boundaries when working with clients. If you agree, then leave a reaction to this article.

We hope that this information was useful for you. By the way, these are not all the ways to deal with burnout. So, you can look for more information on those sources that we have left above.

Creative Burnout in Infographic

Creative Burnout in Infographic.

Article reviewed by

Laura Macaulay photo
Laura Macaulay Graphic designer & owner at
I found this article helped to keep the tricky topic of burnout interesting and humorous while also providing some actionable insights that can be used straight away. The article gives us tips on how to avoid creative burnout and how to recognize its symptoms. I liked the way the article was paced with some funny memes with the cats, as it helped to lighten up the reading.

This also prompted me to check that I have specified the number of revisions included in my estimates. It was also a great reminder about setting boundaries so that both client and designer can create the best work together.

It may have been good to have also included a section in the article on the creative workspace. A tidy workspace helps to contribute to a positive and healthy work approach and reduces stress too. So let’s put away the dirty coffee mugs!

The area which had the most value for me was the ‘planning work to avoid burnout and adequately assessed tasks’ section. The article reminds us that it is important to ‘allow a margin of time for force majeure situations. This is a valuable reminder as it’s something that is often overlooked when planning out a project.

This was a timely article as the busier things get, especially in the run-up to year-end and Christmas - the more often we forget to take some time out, which can lead to burnout. The videos at the end of the article give some great examples of this, and I found the FAQ provided by the author was a good recap of what was covered in the article. All in all a good read for anyone working in the creative Industry!

Some Awesome Video About Burnouts

I was burnt out. Real talk: dealing with burnout as a creative

Burnout is extremely common for creatives and people in tech. I experienced it myself for several months, and I’m here to talk about it. This video is the first of a “real talk” series that hopes to address some common struggles we go through from time to time. Please comment below if you like these types of videos or not! Much love 💜

How burnout makes us less creative | The Way We Work, a TED series

Our obsession with productivity — to-do lists, life hacks, morning routines — is making us less productive, says digital anthropologist Rahaf Harfoush. She explains why we need to redesign our workday around creativity — not just efficiency.

The Way We Work is a TED original video series where leaders and thinkers offer practical wisdom and insight into how we can adapt and thrive amid changing workplace conventions.

Understanding Job Burnout – Dr. Christina Maslach

DOES19 London — Burnout is a hot topic in today’s workplace, given its high costs for both employees and organizations. What causes this problem? And what can be done about it? Empirical findings show that burnout is largely a function of the social environment in which people work. The key sources lie in 6 critical areas of mismatch between the person and the job. This talk will review major new insights into the causes and effects of this problem, and will discuss the most promising strategies for dealing effectively with it.


Here are a few frequently asked questions about the burnouts

How do I prevent or get rid of creative burnout?

You can implement these tips for creative burnout:

  • Restore your sleep pattern
  • Participate in sports
  • Build strong personal boundaries
  • Schedule tasks
  • Set deadlines appropriately
  • Plan your vacation
  • Take breaks at work
  • Minimize overtime
  • Discover a hobby
  • Take time for yourself (meditation, yoga)
  • Keep a diary of emotions

If you have symptoms of burnout, we recommend that you consult a doctor.

How does burnout affect creativity?

Creative burnout has a negative effect on creativity because it is accompanied by physical and mental exhaustion, an aversion to tasks, and a reduced ability to create something new. In this state, a person should get rid of burnout and then return to his favorite job.

How do artists avoid burnout?

Artists use these tips to combat burnout:

  • Restore your sleep pattern.
  • Go in for sports.
  • Build strong personal boundaries.
  • Schedule tasks.
  • Set deadlines appropriately.
  • Plan your vacation.
  • Take breaks at work.
  • Minimize overtime.
  • Discover a hobby.
  • Take time for yourself (meditation, yoga).
  • Keep a diary of emotions.

What are the different types of burnout?

  1. Burnout from overload. If you work 24/7 without holidays or breaks, then this is for you. With this type of burnout, you may feel inclined to work harder to achieve all of your goals, or because you feel obligated to complete tasks.
  2. Burnout due to not completing a task. You may feel bored and unmotivated in the workplace, and your colleagues and supervisors underestimate you. Many people experience this type of burnout when they get stuck in a job where they can’t fulfill themselves the way they want to.
  3. Neglect Burnout. This type of burnout occurs when the manager does not give clear instructions for completing tasks. This can make you feel helpless, frustrated, and insecure. In this case, you may feel that you are unable to perform any work tasks and that you are not a professional.
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