Avoiding Burnout with Creative Health Days

October 28, 2019

Back in July, I shared on my Instagram story that I was making some changes to my work schedule. The first half of the year had been crazy + I was starting to feel the effects of overcommitting + overworking myself. A big part of my new plan was to start blocking off Wednesdays as strictly “no client work” days. Instead, I would spend that day working on things for my own business + feeding my creativity. These were things that I had gotten way too comfortable pushing to the side. I would only focus on client work during the week, leaving weekends as the only time that I had to work on my own business. And that just isn’t right, ya know? I started this business so that I could have more freedom + control over my time. It didn’t make sense that weekends, which are supposed to be my time, were being filled with more work.

So I decided to call Wednesdays my “Creative Health Day” because that’s exactly how I see them – a day to reset creatively, avoid burnout and just maintain your creative energy throughout the rest of the week. And the impact that they’ve had on my business has been AMAZING. So today, I wanted to share some of the results that I’ve seen + how the whole experience has been so far.

How I’ve Spent My Creative Health Days

Since I started #creativehealthday, I’ve tried to share each week how I’m spending that time. I figured it would be a good way to hold myself accountable, but also to inspire others to make time to work on their own businesses. Here’s an overview of some of the things that I’ve been able to work on:

  • Improving my newsletter + scheduling emails. This is something that I NEVER made time for. I honestly hated writing emails because I was always in a rush to get them out. But now that I’ve actually had some time to be intentional about them, I really enjoy it. It’s one of those goals that I had but never made the time to work on until now.
  • Re-launching my course. The first launch of my course back in February was super stressful. I was working late into the night + all through the weekend to get it done because I also had a bunch of client work to worry about. That actually played a big part in me implementing creative health day because I knew that I needed to make some time for this new educational side of my business. The re-launch of my course in August went SO much more smoothly and, of course, some of that is because I was simply more prepared the second time around. But I really believe that making time during the week to work on the course made a huge difference in my overall energy + productivity. I don’t think I would have been able to pull it off as well as I did if I had been rushing to get things done during the evenings + weekends.
  • Speaking + teaching opportunities. I’ve had quite a few opportunities to speak about my freelancing journey + teach on things that I’ve learned. I’ve done podcast interviews, webinars, summits and spoke with design students at my university. So the same with the course, I think that I was able to give so much more value during these opportunities because I could actually put in the time to do them well. And in return, I’m establishing myself as more of an expert within my industry.
  • Personal projects. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much I love personal projects! They’re my go-to solution to fight creative burnout + attract my dream clients. So whenever I’ve felt a little burnt out on client work, I’ve used my creative health day to simply work on a personal project + get those creative juices flowing again. As a creative, it’s so refreshing to work on something just for fun + with no rules or expectations.
  • Exploring our new city. Since we moved to Porto, Portugal in September, I’ve also used my creative health days to do some exploring. With our travels, I always want to make sure that I experience as much as I can while we’re here. Since we’re actually living here (and not just on vacation), it can be easy to get so comfortable in our regular routines + work that we forget to actually enjoy this adventure that we’re on. So Tanner and I have used a couple of creative health days to go on dates, see new parts of the city and just have fun. I probably look forward to these the most. 🙂
  • Rest. Look, being a creative can be exhausting sometimes! It’s not easy to crank out unique, innovative ideas every single day. Sometimes my brain is just too tired + needs a break. So in full transparency, there have been a few creative health days when I haven’t done anything work-related at all. And that’s ok! That’s the whole point of running your own business, right? Having the freedom to set your own hours + not force yourself to work when you aren’t 100%. I’ve been so so grateful to have a set day where that’s an option if I need it.
Overall Takeaways
  1. I have more energy + excitement around my work. It’s really such a good feeling to have this big jolt in energy + inspiration in the middle of the week. If something frustrating happens on Monday (like a client not liking something or not booking a project), then I always know that Wednesday will be a day where I can reset, work on things that I’m super passionate about, and that keeps me going. It’s like a breath of fresh air each week.
  2. I’ve been able to get more things done + actually grow my business without all the stress. I feel like I’m able to actually set big goals + dream for my business without worrying about how I’m going to make time to see them through. I’ve already made the time, so they instantly feel more achievable.
  3. Probably the best part about creative health day is that it’s flexible + really makes me feel like I’m the one running my business, not the other way around. It’s an open day to fill with whatever I really need each week. No feeling guilty or compromising – it’s simply something that I need in order to run my business well.
Ideas for How You Can Start Taking a Creative Health Day

If you’re interesting in implementing a creative health day into your own schedule, first let me just say – Yay!! I’m so excited for you and I know that you’re going to love it as much as I do! BUT don’t feel like you have to approach it exactly like I do. I chose to take a full day off on Wednesday because it felt right for me, but that might not be best for you. Maybe it works better for you to just take half a day. Or use the last 2 hours of each day. It’s up to you to figure out what fits your schedule + feels the most natural to you! So here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. What do my energy levels look like throughout the week? Do they go down on a certain day? Or maybe just a certain time of the day? (My energy is always the lowest during the middle of the week, which is why I chose Wednesdays.)
  2. What are some of the things that I want to do / work on during my creative health day and how much time do I want to reserve for those things?
  3. How will blocking off that amount of time affect my business? What changes will I need to make to accommodate for that time? (For example, I had to add an extra week or two to my project timelines to make up for losing that work day each week. You may have to rearrange your process a bit, but it’s worth it.)
  4. How will I explain this new part of my schedule to clients + establish boundaries around it? (I give clients my office hours in the project proposal that I send before they book with me. This way, they already know that I don’t do client work on Wednesdays + won’t be available for calls.)

Hopefully those questions give you a better idea of what creative health day should look like for you. Like I said, the best thing about this is that it’s flexible! There’s no right or wrong way to do it and you can experiment with it as much as you want.

Creative health day has truly been one of the best things that I’ve done for Wayfarer + I hope this post inspires you to make time for your own business. Not on the weekend, but actually during the work week. If you decide to try it out or already do something similar, I’d love for you to share about your experience + use #creativehealthday with me over on Instagram! And if you want to keep up with what I’m doing each Wednesday, make sure to check out the “Balance” highlight on my profile.

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