Struggling with my mental health recently and fallen into a creative slump. I'd love to hear how you guys bounce back if you've felt it too?


  • Thank you all so much for all of your responses - I feel overwhelmed with all of the advice (in a good way) and wasn't expencting so many lovely comments! That's what makes this community so important :)

    I hope anyone else who has also been struggling can read through these too and come through the other side feeling stronger!
  • I should also add: I hope you bounce back quick and hurl yourself back into the creative fray.
  • I'm a writer so my advice it word-centric. I think it works in an creative sphere, though

    Write. Write every day. What you write might be crap, but write. You can always throw it away, redraft it, repurpose it or whatever, but write. You don't have to write much--a couple hunded words is fine--but write.

    Also get outside (preferably in nature)--running or dog walking is an amazing way to recharge your creative energy. (I would dog run, but my dog is too lazy.)
  • Hi Gemma! In my case, taking a break for a few days if that's possible, going for a walk and listening to music help me a lot. I have identified some songs that make me feel good and motivated, and that's very helpful sometimes in creative blocks.
    Meditation can help too.
    In any case, you need to be patient with yourself. You're not alone, this happens a lot. I'm sure you'll be better soon. Wish you the best.
  • Hey Gemma! Completely understand. I found myself in a dark place so I tried to focus my energy on creating

    Hopefully some of these resources could help spark some joy! <3
  • Currently reading Mindfulness for a Creative Life by Danny Penman as my creativity was in a major slump recently.

    Well worth a read and also remembering to take it easy. Loads of great replies already and I echo what they say.
  • Hi Gemma, I can relate to mental health struggles and creative slumps as a result.

    I have high expectations of myself and when I have days where things don't flow, I can feel quite negative so I have to remind myself that we are not machines and creativity comes from a place of relaxation. Moving your body, eating wholesome food, listening to music, talking to family or friends, doing something where you feel relaxed and don't need to think about it without any performance pressure (e.g. cooking for me) are beneficial for the soul.

    When I feel burned out, I actually retreat and don't take on more information or workshops etc. It get's all too much. However, this is because I'm an introvert, it's different for everyone. If you feel not much desire for moving, gentle yoga poses and FT Tapping can be quite helpful as are meditations. I mean you're doing the best you can! It's ok to take a break!

    Please don't stay away from asking for help whether from your GP, friends or family!
    Please know you're not alone.

  • Important to recognise mental health and creative slump are two seperate things, they tend be seen as something similar but they aren’t.

    When you go through a creative slump it’s known as “burn out” there are many ways to tackle this some being take long rest breaks don’t mean “30mins outside” that’s know as “decompress”, I mean disconnect from creative industry for a long period known as sabbaticals, allow things to inspire you.

    Fig: Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook.

    I have a theory why creative burn outs happen it can be the pressure of the change of creative industry demand at working fast pace and produce new work this comes from being in fast pace and demanding economy. Or creative industry has become competitive to better than your peers with fear of becoming obsolete too quickly. But those issues aren’t identified in the industry as of yet.

    Eike (of Hort) presenting at OFFF Barcelona 2011

  • I fuel up by consuming a lot of information from many places. Sometimes you get inspired by the most surprising things. My favourite example are split ring washers; They tighten the screw they hold whenever vibrated, so the destructive force is turned into one that helps hold the structure together. They're used to build things that vibrate but shouldn't fall apart, like cars and rollercoasters. But there are many such things in this world and by simply looking at things with a child's mind, you can be as amazed by our world as … as a child. This usually helps me get back on track.
  • as you can see, based on the amount of replies as evidence, this is really common and we all go through it every now and then. all the advice here is really good, for me i like to disconnect take a break, frequent ones, short walks, without checking my phone, just observing, absorving my surroundings, without any particular thoughts, just experiencing the moment... walk to a corner shop pickup magazines of random topics that you normally wouldn't... appreciate packaging in the supermarket.. etc.. other things like meditation and breathing help, but all in due time, it's all incremental, the important thing is to recognise that you need a break and to do something about it, you are not a machine and more importantly you are not alone. ;)
  • Well done on opening up to this wonderful community Gemma. Even the below is a great reminder that we are never alone ♥️

    I fully agree with getting outside and the importance of mindful walking and observing – it gives you actual perspective and the ability to see sky takes us outside of our own bodies and minds.

    On creative slumps, I think we get worse when we sit staring at our computer screens (now, too often in the same room we eat, sleep and watch TV in!). Try take 30 minutes to think of what or where you are when 1) you are relaxed and another column for 2) your best ideas. Then put yourself in these situations and do these things to help enable your creativity. It's not the same for everyone, but I am pretty sure the answer won't be in front of your computer!

    Thinking of you and sending good vibes :)
    Natasha x
  • Hi Gemma,
    Sorry to hear about your struggles. Just remember that you're not alone in this and we're all hear for you. It's always good to connect with a (local) creative community that does meetups. Sharing experiences and tips is always good to get more perspectives. When I'm in a creative slump, I don't try to force it to change anymore. I do the opposite, I just leave what I was trying to do and clear my mind by going for a walk or visiting an exhibition. I hope you bounce back soon!
  • I allow myself no longer than two days off from creating, where i relax, sleep more and watch tv etc. Then I set an alarm that i have to obey, no excuses - i won't let myself off. The first work i make is usually pretty bad, but thats fine, it's the act of doing that gets me out of the slump and feeling better :)
  • Oh gosh, I felt the same towards the end of last year. I missed seeing people and bouncing ideas off each other. I lacked inspiration and motivation - thought I didn't like my job anymore, and that I couldn't even do it very well anyway.

    But - and this may sound like a massive plug for The Dots (I mean, it is but it's genuine) - I signed up to lots of free events on here to feel like I was 'at' something (they were all virtual events). Tuning into talks, presentations and workshops with leaders and like-minded people really helped invigorate my interests again.

    Having said all that, it's important to note that it's okay to not feel inspired or motivated for a bit. It's a tough time - and a weird time - right now, and you aren't alone in feeling the way you do. The good news is you can easily do something about it when you feel ready to.
  • Hi Gemma,

    I found the best practise is putting my body first when I stuck creatively, the body mind relationship is proven.

    In practise it means being very conscious about unhealthy foods, doing the right kind of exercise, right nutritions, skincare routine, a new hair colour etc. you got the idea.

    It goes back to the idea to understanding that your body is not equal your mind, you need to make it feel good to give the right home to your mind.
  • I suspect that everyone in the Creative Industries have been through the roughest of times. Some less so; some more so. If possible, Gemma, try not to look back... Look forwards. don't dwell on what has not happened. Concentrate on what might happen. Ignore the bad bits, celebrate the good bits. And remember, the sun (usually!) comes out after a storm. We are all in this together. HUGH
  • I give myself a few days off and do other things i enjoy doing - getting out the house for a bit and just generally doing things that make you happy!
  • @Simon Trewin great reply to the question - after many years in and around the industry in various guises I too have come to the conclusion that I need space for personal creativity. I have worked hard to make sure that what I do to make money has some relevance and these two activities can sometimes feed one another but they are not set up to do that specifically. Finding ways to truely liberate yourself creatively is to acknowlegde and accept the down times, know that they will come and give yourself the room to breath through them.
  • I have never had any real creative collapses, but I happened to feel stuck creatively.

    When that happens, an interview with Joe Perry from Aerosmith I read years ago comes to mind: basically when he didn't feel inspired at all and thought he would never record a single note again, he pulled out his ten favorite records of all time, those who pushed him to pursue a musical career and listened to them again. Apparently it worked.

    I do more or less the same, I re-watch films, documentaries, short docs that made me want to approach to filmmaking and I must say that it works for me too.

    I think it's the only thing me and Joe Perry have in common, but that's ok :-)
  • Hi Gemma! Really feeling this too, I've found the 'returning to some sense of normal' after the worst of the pandemic much harder than the depths of lockdown! I recently started taking group MH workshops by referral from my GP and I think there's something of a shift happening for me because I've committed myself to improving my emotional wellbeing - I'm actually scheduling it in the diary! Which is something I've never really created space to do before. I'm not sure the content of the workshops is the thing having the biggest impact - it's the routine of checking in, I've seen an instant improvement in how proactive and motivated I'm feeling. I'd definitely recommend seeing if there's any free workshops available that can hold you to account with yourself :)
  • Hi lovely,
    Echoing what folk have already said. I think the biggest thing that supports me (though I often forget!!) is to be kind towards myself when I have a wobble for a time. Working as a freelancer is tough and brave so looking after ourselves is vital. I recently wrote a piece on this for Elephant Journal, if you fancy reading it.
    And if anyone is Manchester based and fancies a coffee and some social support and natterings then do get in touch!
    You are not alone, and this too shall pass x
  • There's a pressure - especially fom the pandemic - to be always performing or learning or doing something productive but I think it's not "human". Personally I turn myself into a sponge and as a sponge I'm allowed just to "absorb": things, movies, places, people. After a while I feel the itch to be productive again.
  • Leapers has lots of good resources -

    Otherwise, it's a bit of a cliche but, getting outside / exercising regularly really does help. And setting yourself, and checking off, ambitious deadlines and to-do lists can get you back the feeling of achievement / accomplishment.

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