Creative anxiety…Plus my top 10 tips to overcome it.

Have you felt overwhelmed, overworked, anxious, inspired but at the same time non-inspired and just simply burnt out from your business you literally pour your life into?

I know you…trust me I do. You’ve clicked on this because at one point, you have felt it too. You’ve suffered alone too, cramming as much work in as you can during late nights and early sluggish mornings sitting behind your laptop. No amount of coffee can keep up yet you can’t work to your dreams quick enough. You pour your heart out into your business. Your creative business has become your life.

I’ve been feeling it lately too. See, people just look at the photo on Instagram…however it’s so much more… you and I both know it… it’s personal… a constant representation of the artistic shit-storm going on behind the scenes…to create…to deliver…to reflect …to inspire…#repeat. It’s a little different for us creative business owners. We don’t just make a product to sell. We ARE the product that sells. Our WORK and PERSONALITY constructs our dreams and creates our business. If our cup is a bit empty, it’ll reflect itself in one way or another. 

I have been feeling so guilty because I’m only a year in from running my business full time, yet I’m already feeling burnt out. I’d go to bed with a million “to-do’s” left over from the day but also dreaming of all the content I wanted to create too. It was constantly pulling me in both directions. Past tasks were using up space in my mind which just wanted to have space to create future projects. I would then feel deflated because both my past and future feelings were consuming me. Creating this anxious feeling I couldn’t escape. I was drowning.

Than the big C word comes in right on 10pm when you should be asleep, but instead your flicking through Insta…COMPARING. I’d look at all these other photographers smashing out gorgeous sessions during the summer. I see all these gorgeous photos and photographers doing this and that and absolutely crushing it. I felt like I missed the boat big time! For me personally I just wanted a break. Again, bringing on more feelings of failure. Than 10pm turns into 1am… still scrolling…Anxious feelings of wanting to create this and take my business here, but equally feeling depressed for all the jobs I just couldn’t catch up on. Far out I just needed to sleep!!  

It wasn’t until I was aware of this creative anxiety behaviour I was allowing myself to get into that I realised I needed to take control. This behavioural pattern is completely seperate to what and who we are. It is also completely normal and i’m sure everyone feels it. If you direct your focus to it…it then becomes real and overwhelming. 

We are all dreamers and believers no matter what line of work we do. You are aloud to feel this way. I believe that sometimes your best ideas come from a burnt out stage. You finally realise what it takes for you to get to that low point. Therefore you take control and implement standards for yourself within your business, so that you don’t get there again. For me it was just simply separating life/business.

Last Thursday my bestie was thinking of getting away for the weekend. Normally I would have been like #CBF. She was then also thinking of backing out. However I made a decision Thursday night to literally pack a suitcase, my wetsuit and hit the road. I texted my bestie telling her “I’m going whether you’re coming or not”. 

 It was the best business decision I have made for my career. I ended up staying a whole week camping in a little $50 dome tent in a caravan park near the beach, with no power. I swam every day, watched dolphins early in the morning, went for nature walks. Filling my cup up with a little dose of “getting grounded”. 

I found the most awesome little treasure of a café called @boundtoearth in Narooma, with the best #smashedavo I’ve ever eaten…period.

Work? Did I also work? Hell yes!! And I got sooo much done! I was so motivated because I was doing something for myself. I’d spent all year literally pouring myself into my business and my clients that I never once put myself first…dam girl I would eat lunch and breakfast still editing and replying to emails. That is not normal…and if your doing this too, then it is time to STAPPP.

I’ve since reached out to a few fellow photogs and apparently there has been a few creatives feeling the same way especially these last two months. What is going on? 

Ive put together the top 10 things in my opinion to get you out of the rut and what can you do to ease these anxious feelings + actually get some shit done!

  1. Write down a DAILY 1 hour activity that you wish that you had time to do every day. BLOCK OUT TIME TO ACTUALLY DO IT – this is critical! e.g. 6-7pm every night is your hour. Go for a casual walk in nature.
  2. Heard of Screen Time on your iphone? Head to settings – Screen Time – App Limits – Social Networking – start with 2 hours a day. Say good bye to unproductive time scrolling though facebook.
  3. Write a list of jobs within your business that you enjoy doing vs ones you don’t. 
  4. Start delegating those ones you don’t like!! (I am just about to start this and I feel so much better already). See ya later culling.  
  5. Please take a break – for me it was heading to the beach. Buying a $50 tent and paying $30 a night to camp. The best $200 I’ve ever spent. 
  6. Get 2 clear jars. Get creative with names but basically a “to-do’ jar & “done jar”. Write a list of all the little jobs you have piling up. Now write next to them how long you think each task will take to finish e.g. 5 mins 10 mins etc. Cut them up. Put them in the “to-do” jar. Got 10 minutes spare? – pull one out and just get it done! Ideally try to do this when you first get to work that morning. Even pull one out a day. Or a have a “jar day” where all you do for work that day is the 5 min jar. Then reward yourself with the rest of the day off. I DARE you to try this!
  7. Clean up your work space. Your energy will change dramatically.  
  8. Get clear about what you actually want to service within your business. It’s oh k to say no to people/clients that aren’t your ideal client. I’ve learnt that it only adds more anxiety and depressing feelings = wasted unproductive time.
  9. #slowsunday! This is real. Start doing it and step away from work (or work on creative things that you personally want to do) 
  10. Share this. So people know that you too are feeling this way or have felt this way. People just don’t understand and think because we work from home that we technically work “all hours”. Yass girl I know you get those 10:30pm Sunday night emails “prices please!!”. (insert face palm). It’s oh k they just don’t understand. 

Thanks for reading all you hustling magicians. Let me know on my latest instagram photo in the comments if you enjoyed reading this and if you have tried or are going to try my jar trick.


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