Working in the creative industry — whether it’s graphic design, advertising, copywriting, etc. — the greater the odds there will be days where you don’t feel like doing it anymore. What was once fun and challenging now feels empty and pointless. Creative burnout can happen to all of us, even those who don’t consider themselves naturally creative people. It’s normal for your creativity to ebb and flow, especially depending on factors like stress, sleep and work, as well as life issues.
While creative burnout used to be seen as something you simply fought your way through, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially recognized it as an official medical condition in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). WHO now defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Included in the same update, burnout was categorized by feelings of energy depletion, increased mental distance to one’s job and reduced professional efficacy.
However, exercising your brain’s creative muscles can play a big role in maintaining your mental health. In fact, expressing yourself creatively can help you overcome trauma, improve your emotional wellbeing, and improve cognitive function. Regardless, stepping away from your desk both physically and mentally might be enough to provide a new perspective, not only on what you want to be doing but also on what you should stop doing.
The new WHO classification will take effect in January 2022, and includes other new mental conditions like compulsive sexual behaviour. It also recognizes video gaming as an addiction for the first time, including it on the same list as gambling and drug use. By making burnout a medical condition, it’s anticipated that it will be treated differently by doctors than typical stress at work.