How to get rest to help you more creative

Creatives: How to Get the Rest You Need

IYKYK: Being a creative means never finding time to rest—or it feels like it sometimes. Even if you’re a copywriter with a day job, your mind will wander, thinking of taglines in your off hours. Or as a designer, you’ve likely scribbled down layouts while you’re doing something unrelated. But while creativity strikes at any time, you are in control of your time management. Everyone, especially hard-working creatives, needs to set time aside for rest. Here are a few tips on how to make rest a part of your daily creative routine. 

Savor Some Minutes

Set yourself up with a timer that reminds you to get up and walk around. Some use a Pomodoro timer, while others will block off the last 15-20 minutes of every hour for a rest in their calendars. Whatever works for you, be sure that you stick to your routine every single day. If you miss your rest time, take it as soon as you realize you’ve skipped it. What do you do for rest? Tend to your houseplants. Go for a coffee or walk around the block. Sit in a comfortable, quiet place and meditate. Doodle on paper. Stretch often! Avoid screens as they don’t give your brain a proper break, so don’t turn to social media or read digital articles. Pick up a book or listen to a lighthearted podcast instead if you need a little free time stimulation.

When you’re ready to come back to work after resting, you’ll likely have more mental capacity for work. If you don’t and you feel like you still need more rest, it could be that you are already burnt out. Burnout can feel different for everyone, but it often is a result of a lack of quality sleep and too much screen time. People can feel completely drained or loopy, finding it difficult to concentrate. Listen to your body—if you need time off, you need to take it soon. Otherwise, your work suffers while you suffer and no one wants either of those things to happen.

Take an Hour Break Every Day

Even if you’re a freelancer, you need to run your business as though you are in an office working full time. Take a whole hour for your lunch break and incorporate restful or playful activities. Take the time to digest while doing a crossword or your favorite word game. Doodle while you eat. Some people find, say a 20-minute run on the treadmill or cycling to be a great mid-day reset, while others might take this time for a long walk in a park. Whatever your chosen form of beneficial movement, make sure you allow time to grab a bite and enjoy it!

Take The Occasional Full Day

Whether you plan it ahead of time or wake up needing more rest, feel empowered to take a personal day from time to time. Most company policies include it in their benefits and, if you’re your own boss, there’s no excuse not to take one every so often! If you are already burnt out, it’s especially imperative that you take a full day to completely rest, go to the spa, get your nails done—whatever form of self-care makes you feel well-rested and ready to return the next day.

Plan (and Take) a 7-14-Day Vacation 

Planning a vacation often feels like a lot of work and so, for some, this priority gets put off. But everyone needs to take an annual extended vacation. Whether you’re visiting another country or headed to a nearby beach, your OOO needs to be on and you need to mean it! If you have trouble setting up a vacation, recruit friends and partners to help you plan your trips together and hold you accountable for not working during your time off. Set your dates far in advance so you have something to look forward to and tell your clients and business partners well in advance (at least two weeks) of your vacation.

Bonus: Make Time for Play

As a creative, you have the benefit of fleshing out your imagination on the page any time you want. Because of this, playtime can provide rewards in ideation while letting your mind wander. Getting in touch with your inner child is restorative and reconnects you to your core “why”—so schedule play time during your day. Whether that looks like throwing paint around on canvas or journaling your ideas for a short story, make your play time solely for you (and not a client!).

TLDR; At the end of the day you are your time manager. Listen to your body and give it what it needs (hint: more rest!). Stretch, journal and get outside often. Avoid too much screen time. Invest in playful, energizing activities when the mood strikes and you’ll find your creativity will be all the more improved when you return to work. Speaking of, if you’re a freelancer looking for your next gig, one of our recruiters can help!

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