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I have a confession. I have been enjoying a busy calendar of creative arts-based workshops and other arts projects this year, but – I have been living in this almost hyperextended creative state most of the time with all my notifications switched on and ready for constant interaction. It stops today. This feeling that almost wacked me over the head this morning after we took our beautiful dog to the vet to investigate a new lump. I have tried to justify the pace in which I create new work, working under tight deadlines, and being responsive to complex problems as “a good thing” and “I like working like this.”
Truth is, I do like being productive and creating work I am proud of and if it’s right I find it exhilarating! Problem is though, stay in the state for too long and you can feel signs of burnout emerging, your mind is in this constant ‘create or die’ overdrive state and if you do take time out to socialise, exercise, go shopping, take a nap … the guilt emerges.
I don’t have a 9 am to 5 pm work pattern and have a lot of flexibility which is great, and I am so appreciative of this mode irrespective of having a young family to support and household work. This is where the ‘but’ comes in though. When you have flexibility and a lot of creative freedom that energises you, the result is you are running alongside this fast-paced and hyperconnected world and the creative mind is in a whirlwind of constant stimulation. I set myself ‘relax’ time now I am not up at all hours completing my postgraduate studies when it feels like everyone else has gone to bed. I might humour myself by putting on a face mask, go to a dance class, or attempt to read one of the many books on my To-Read After Study shelf. Except, I don’t end up sticking with those relaxing tasks for long because I find myself back on my phone, looking at Pinterest, responding to something that has popped up on Instagram because I was really happy with one of my latest posts, or got chatting to another creative, TV is on but has become just background noise yet again, I crack open my Notes app because I had another idea or prompt, it’s now 9:30 pm and I have failed to wind down properly.
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