How to Combat a Creative Slump

At some point in our careers, most of us have been in this exact position. We feel as if we have hit a wall and getting over it seems next to impossible. No one wants to admit when they hit a slump because many assume showing weakness in their job discredits them, however, I am a very honest person and I like to show all aspects of the field- personal and professional. Recently, I have hit this slump. I feel as if there is so much more I can do and yet I am not doing it. I feel as if I am not utilizing my creativity as much as I would like to. In the marketing world, this is frequent (although it can happen to anyone in any field). We tend to get lost in the digital side, we forget there is a world of creativity alongside.

If you are in a creative slump there are a few things you need to know:

  • It is 100% okay for you to feel this way.
  • It isn’t the end of the world and you don’t have to leave the field because of it.
  • Just because you hit a roadblock, doesn’t mean you are bad at your job. Even the most successful individuals have hit roadblocks in their careers.

I am currently in this predicament so of course, I researched and tried a few ways to help me get out of the creative slump and hopefully they can help you too!

Take a Trip

I use to despise vacations. I thought, “no hard working person has time for a vacation. That’s for lazy people.” Boy, was I wrong.

I recently took a 5-day vacation to El Salvador to visit my family and to clear my mind. It allowed me to take time away from my busy schedule, relax, and also, see the world from a different perspective. When I am working, I am WORKING. I am constantly on and constantly looking for something to do. That is something I had to break on vacation because really, there wasn’t much I could do.

Taking a vacation is a great way to de-stress which is extremely necessary. When you are constantly stressed, your work suffers and at that point, “hustling” doesn’t do much. Take some time when you can to relax and enjoy other aspects of life. Love, don’t loathe your vacation time!

Pros: 

  • You can explore somewhere completely new or visit family you haven’t seen in a while
  • Vacation time allows you to relax and de-stress
  • You can actually learn so much from traveling. From the way people live to the things that make a place/society so wonderful.

Cons:

  • Traveling does cost money, so ensure that it is within your budget!
  • Make sure the timing is right. Even if you are entitled to a certain amount of vacation time, there may be a lot going on that prevents you from leaving. You want to ensure you are leaving on a good note so when you get back, you aren’t overwhelmed with past due projects and angry clients!

Can’t take a trip? Just take some time for yourself!

I get it, taking a full out vacation can be expensive. While it is wonderful to explore new parts of the world and get away, sometimes all you need is some solitude. I am not saying turn off your phone and isolate yourself from the world to the point where your family starts getting worried, simply, do more on your own.

As a teenager, I was embarrassed to be seen alone. Going to the mall alone, going for walks alone, going anywhere alone made me feel as if people would think I was a “loner”. As I got older, I realized how important alone time is and I love it.  Sometimes I just go for long drives, park my car somewhere quiet, and go for a walk. Being alone allows you time to reflect on important issues and concerns you may be dealing with. For example, when I am alone and in a slump, I am able to clearly reflect what I am doing and what I could be doing.

Pros:

  • Won’t cost you an arm and a leg
  • Allows you to focus and self-reflect on important thoughts
  • A lot of creativity comes from simply being alone and having time to think with minimal to no distractions.

Cons:

  • Not really a con, just more of a tip: don’t isolate yourself. Find time to be alone, but don’t disregard others or push them away. Find balance.

Spend time with people who lift you up

Similar to taking a vacation, I always neglected my social life. Why should I be hanging out when I could be working? What is productive about just being with friends? Thankfully, I have changed my mindset. I have a small group of wonderful friends who I hang out with regularly. I don’t have many friends due to how crazy my schedule is from day to day, but the friends I do have are extremely supportive of my ambitions.

Whilst working hard is extremely important, you don’t want to neglect your social life. Taking a break from constantly having your brain on 100% is actually very helpful. Surround yourself with people who make you happy and those who are supportive and understanding when it comes to what you do. More often than not, we just need to clear our minds for a bit in order to get back into the swing of things. Great people can also help you come up with new and exciting ideas.

Pros:

  • Taking your mind away from any stressors is imperative for creative growth
  • Friends/family love to help in any way they can. If you’re in a slump, talk to them- you never know what ideas or advice they might come up with.
  • Helps you create a work/life balance

Cons:

  • Whilst we tend to care for all of our friends/family, there are those who rather bring you down as opposed to bringing you up. These could be the “negative nancy’s” of the “jealous jill’s” of your group. Don’t neglect friends, but distance yourself from those who may lead you down the wrong path.

Other great ways to combat a creative slump:

  • Have a “me” day. Go for a long walk, your favourite restaurant. Get outside and enjoy the world around you.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. So many people have been in the same position. There is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, asking for help can sometimes lead to the breakthrough you need.
  • Learn from others. Listen to podcasts, watch videos, browse tweets- drawing inspiration from others is great (provided you aren’t full out taking their ideas).
  • Write it down. Why are you in a slump? How long have you been in a slump? What has changed? Keeping track can help you pinpoint where your pitfalls lie so you can pick yourself right back up.

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