How To Prevent Burnout: Designer Self-Care Tips

For freelancers, working from home is a privilege that many in the working world do not have. However, in a world where there is no off switch for work, there’s a growing movement to prioritize self-care. It’s often too easy to forget yourself when you have work and meetings, having to juggle between work and all the “life” things between that; from grocery shopping to cooking for the family or spending time with your kids.

It’s always good to practice self-care before you burn out. By practicing self-care, you’ll be able to stay fresher and have a greater mental capacity to take on your projects with a renewed creative spark!

But how exactly do you practice self-love when you’re working from home? Today, we’re looking at a few ways how, and where designers can indulge in self care.

1. Understand Your Value and The Values Of Things You Care About
Do you ever feel like your projects don’t seem to pay out what you think they’re worth? Or maybe every assignment seems to take twice as much time as it used to? If you’re feeling that way, be careful, because you may be facing a burnout. Your experience as a designer should make you more valuable as you grow in your career. Know that value. Knowing your value comes in two parts; financial and happiness.

Financial value: What income you need to draw for work to feel meaningful
Happiness value: What makes you feel good about what you do? What projects get you excited about design again?

As a freelancer, take a look at your rates and types of jobs you’re taking. When was the last time you made a change? Are you taking the types of projects you want to do? Do you have work that engages you?

It’s up to you to find that value and hold on dearly to it.

2. Balance
There is a saying that all work, no play makes Jack a dull boy. It may sound like a tired cliché, but you have to find that sweet spot between work and play.This is more difficult for freelancers because you don’t actually get up and go to an office every day, which also means that you don’t have an off-work time. In this way. the lines between home and work can be easily blurred.

What you can do is to set some ground rules. Set them with your family, clients and even yourself to ensure that you have a time and place for work and play.

3. Take Small Breaks
Small breaks in between your work can help you get out of a creative rut and help to practice self-care. These breaks don’t have to always mean something; it can be something simple from zoning out to your favorite song to playing a round of a game on your phone or even scrolling through social media.

Small five-minute breaks can help you get out of your head, which is great when your brain is getting overheated. Take some “me time” in between and you’ll see how great they are even in the middle of big projects.

4. Don’t Overbook Yourself
Saying yes is good, but saying it too much means that you won’t have the time to do anything well. Sometimes, the best thing that really helps is to say “no”.

Saying yes all the time can be a little overwhelming. Remember, it is okay to turn down projects, even if it gives a meaningful contribution to your work. You don’t have to over-explain yourself and don’t feel guilty. If you say yes too much, you won’t actually have the time to do anything well, and that’s insanely stressful.

While it sounds pretty easy, saying no can be quite tough for many people. Just make sure to be polite. Then use that extra time gained and spend some time with your family, friends or just by yourself.

5. Be Sociable
Get out and talk to people! Own your feelings. Good and bad. Celebrate wins and commiserate losses. While no one wants to talk to a downer all the time, chatting with a group of likeminded people; like other designers for example, can help you to feel more at ease.

Getting out and being social can be an even bigger part of your self-care routine if you work alone or at home. Even the least social of people crave that interaction from time to time. There is real value to talking out what you are feeling. It’s all part of the process and makes everyone feel a little more human.

Find a designer meetup, or join in a designer group (Rtist has a great and supportive designer circle on Facebook that you can join for tips, tricks and general fun) to help keep you in a social loop.

6. Tackle a Passion Project
Have you always wanted to try something new? Something that isn’t necessarily related to your work? Perhaps you always wanted to learn the guitar, or build Legos or maybe learn a new kind of art style. Put it into your weekly calendar and DO IT!

By making time for projects that interest you, you’ll be a much stronger designer, and it can also help you generate more interest in your work. And who knows? You might even pick up new clients or projects because of it.

Conclusion
The biggest part of self-care is taking a minute to breathe. It’s okay to admit you need a break. Everyone does.

Self-care starts with figuring out what you need to be the best version of yourself. It’s part work and part knowing what makes you feel good about what you are doing and where you are heading.

And believe us when we say that you’ll be a much better person for it.

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© 2019 Zeroo Sdn. Bhd. All Rights Reserved.