Here's What it Feels Like to Deal With Creative Burnout as a Student Artist

Burnout is more than just experiencing fatigue.
by Malcolm Angoya   |  Feb 28, 2023
Image: Pexels Art: Bacs Arcebal
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Creativity plays a big part in my life. I study BA Communication and I dabble in creative hobbies such as writing, filmmaking, and sometimes even painting. As an artist, it seems like being creative and innovative encompasses my entire identity. Creating and honing my craft are what I live and breathe for, inside and outside of the classroom. 

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Still, I sometimes find myself having these tired spells where I just don't want to create. I would often brush it off as exhaustion and try not to think much of it. These dry spells which would usually last a couple of days suddenly started to turn into weeks and then months. It started to get alarming.

I couldn't simply give up school, so this posed a problem for me. I couldn't just stop producing because I had to constantly pump out content to maintain my grades. So I persisted, forcing myself to continue working until my mind and body completely shut down one day. From then on, I lost my drive to create and I dug myself deeper in a depressive hole.

After researching about my issue on the internet, I eventually realized that I was burned out. No artist wants it to happen to them, but I found out that burnout happens to almost everyone at one point or another. When you spend all day exhausting your creativity, it can be difficult to get excited about doing even more of it after work hours.

If you dread starting work, feel tired and stressed all the time, and suspect that you'll never be able to create something good ever again—you might be experiencing the same thing.

Burnout is the feeling that you've drained all of your creativity, and there is nothing left for you to continue. It snuffs out your passion for creating, making simple tasks hard and creative ones nearly impossible. It's devastating for anyone, but it can be especially hard for artists who depend on being creative and innovative every single day.


Recovery from burnout is a slow journey and there's no quick fix to it. As someone who has been through the same problem numerous times in the past, I can say with certainty that it's totally possible to combat it.

So what do you do when you hit the dreaded burnout? The first step to overcoming burnout is simply acknowledging your fatigue. Don't fight against it and force yourself to n work through it—all your efforts will only let you fall further into a self-deprecating cycle. After accepting your circumstances, allow yourself that time to rest and step away from the work. Recognizing when you need a break is crucial in getting you out of that rut, but this isn't always possible for students with deadlines to meet.

So if you're just a student like me with responsibilities that can't be ignored, there are still many ways you can combat a burnout. However, all of these methods require taking some time to unwind because that's key to overcoming it completely. Even if it's just chilling out for the evening after your classes instead of stressing over your next creative endeavor, giving yourself the time and space to recover is a must. Personally, having time off doesn't usually mean splurging on a barkada beach trip for one whole week, it's more about making time for myself every day and picking up that one book I've been meaning to read.

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Once you've realigned your priorities and taken a breath of fresh air, it's time to refill your artistic bank and start finding that creative spark again. For example, when I'm not required to submit an output or it's a slow day in class, I will hang out with my BFFs and go exploring in the city. We would go to a museum, have brunch in our favorite café, or just people-watch in the nearest park. I've realized that the more you can experience life outside of being an artist, designer, or writer—the more perspective you will gain when it comes to your own work. These other avenues of creativity really provide a wealth of inspiration to help kickstart your drive.

Overall, I find that creative burnout can be a teachable experience. Burnout is the telltale sign that you need to take a breath and chill out. It teaches you how best to work, in the way *you* want to. Although the feeling of burnout is inescapable and it happens to almost every artist at some point or another, it's important to recognize and respect that boundary. This is so you can avoid, and potentially prevent, such a thing from happening again.


Recovering from burnout will definitely take some time, so treat yourself kindly and take it one step at a time. After you've given yourself the time you need to rest and recalibrate, it's time to get the creative juices flowing once more.


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Malcolm Angoya
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