The creative life isn’t an easy one, but throw an unknown like COVID-19 into the mix, and everything can suddenly seem hopeless and overwhelming. The potential for burnout is very real. There isn’t one aspect of a creator’s life untouched by our new reality right now–whether that’s the impact on income, a need to move out of the studio and back into a home environment, the loss of sponsors or clients, or the distress or uncertainty caused by the current pandemic.
We are living through unprecedented times, and learning brand-new coping mechanisms as we go. Changes in behavior that may have seemed unlikely or even unthinkable a week ago are now the new reality. A huge number of friends and colleagues in the industry have been reaching out to discuss their experiences with me, and how they tackle the new challenges they face.
None of us can predict what’s going to happen in the coming weeks or months, but we can take steps to stay sane and productive under such extraordinary circumstances. Here are my five tips for doing just that.
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1. Practice Self-Care–But For Real
Right now, we need to absolutely prioritize self-care–both mental and physical. However, for many people, self-care can seem selfish when they are surrounded by such chaos. But it is infinitely harder to be a loving and supportive friend, family member, or part of the community when you’re running on fumes yourself.
Different people self-care in different ways, and sticking to, or adapting, the same routines and rituals that bring you joy is an excellent way to stay grounded right now. It’s more important than ever to stay accountable to those routines, giving yourself a sense of hope and structure.
Please continue to use the support system you have built up for yourself, whether that’s been investing in a life coach or therapist or sticking to an exercise routine. I am more than willing to talk to you online, and you can turn to YouTube to follow fitness experts like my dear friend Yoga with Adriene:
Another great resource is Alyson Stoner:
Also know that essential fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are moving their meetings online to preserve that continuity of support. It’s OK to reach out if you need help.
2. Stay Connected With Your Community In The Safest Way Possible
Fred Rogers once said, “Solitude is different from loneliness, and it doesn’t have to be a lonely kind of thing.”
I wonder what guidance he would offer the world in this time of self-isolation and social distancing?
Now more than ever we need to find creative ways to stay connected with our friends and families, our neighbors, our teams, our audience, and the wider community.
Tuning in to social media is hard right now due to the hosepipe of news around coronaviris, but we can join Facebook groups, Netflix watch parties, and a host of other positive channels of communication. We have never been more technically empowered to stay connected; there’s mobile, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Skype, and a thousand other ways.
The aim is to stay socially connected, despite the lack of physical contact.
3. Discover New Ways To Get Creative
While creativity will always find an outlet, it’s hard to be productive or inspired when you’re battling other issues.
However, for my friends in the YouTube space, the platform has offered some fantastic advice about what creators could do for ideas around new content, and help themselves and the wider community as a whole right now. The #StayHomeWithMe tag, along with the Ad Council‘s #AloneTogether initiative, invites creators to make entertaining and informative videos for people stuck at home who might want someone to cook with, jam with, craft with, exercise with, or just hang out with.
Creating that kind of content could be an amazing way of contributing positively, while allowing you as a creator to remain focused and productive.
4. Crush That Work/Life Balance
Some people can work from home like they were born to it. Others (and I include myself here) loathe it with a passion because it disrupts the careful work/life balance they have built up over the years.
Remote working can be demotivating and exhausting if you aren’t used to it. People can truly struggle with increased levels of stress because suddenly there may be no defined limit on the hours they put in. While many creatives do work very happily alone, many others work in close quarters with team members or collaborators. Even those who work alone have had the freedom to leave the house to meet up with friends, or indulge in a little retail therapy, or travel around the country, or the world. All that has changed or will change in the coming days.
Establishing a sensible limit on the number of hours of work you do per day at home is absolutely critical to creative sustainability. Do whatever it takes to achieve that.
5. Embrace The Things You Can Control
With governments enforcing strict measures to flatten the curve around this pandemic, it can seem that a lot of the way we’ve lived our life is suddenly out of our hands. While much of this is true, of course, there’s still a lot that we can do for ourselves.
- Limiting how we use social media so we don’t get overwhelmed with bad news
- Being mindful of what we post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other platforms
- Thinking, How kind I am being to my fellow humans?
- And, How I am taking responsibility for my own social distancing?
- And, How I keep myself connected and part of the community?
In closing, I hope this has been helpful. Please comment below, share this, and finally, do not hesitate to reach out to me: Josh@CreatorCoach.com. Remember, we are #AloneTogether.
For the past 15 years, Josh has worked extensively with TV networks, production companies, MCNs, digital multinational corporations, superstar YouTube creators, and traditional entertainment celebrities. This has given him incredible insights into the life of the creator from every single angle. Now, Josh has started Creator Coach, the first-ever life coach dedicated exclusively to creators. Creator Coach has a primary mission to help creators and creatives navigate from Point A (where they are) to Point B (where they want to be). Josh helps creators achieve a higher level of well-being and performance, both creating content and in life. The goal of his coaching is to increase creativity, energy, happiness, and a clearer view of what the future can hold.