How to fight burnout through art journaling

How to Fight Burnout Through Art Journaling

Looking for how to fight burnout? Read on about how I found relief from burnout through art journaling.

I used to love my marketing career. I worked so hard to be the best I could be and gave it my everything. Until I realized I was giving too much. I was working too much, putting far too much effort into a career that wasn’t giving back. I had been neglecting myself creatively, socially, physically… all because of a job.

Ironically, I was in a creative career and as my title grew, the less creative the job was. My job used to provide a creative outlet for me, but it became more corporate and analytical, focusing more on people management than creative. I was left wanting more creativity in my life. I had all my crafting and art supplies in a closet that had gone untouched for more than two years because I was so focused on work. Bored and stressed, I needed some relief. I dug out what supplies I still had and began to just play.

I wasn’t sure what to do at first, so I just grabbed a journal and started playing with the paints, pens, and paper I had lying around. Initially, I was simply getting acclimated. Then, as my art journal began to grow, I remembered just how much I used to enjoy it. There was no specific purpose, really. I was just simply playing and creating something.

This journal became an outlet for me. Providing that create outlet I longed for. Sure, I’ve done art journals in the past. I have half-completed art all over the place. I’ve never been a gallery-worthy artist. But I don’t have to be exceptional. I can just have fun. Over time, the things we create get better.

What is art journaling?

An art journal is more than just a diary. It’s a place to capture your thoughts, feelings, emotions, an inspirational quote or favorite photo in a journal, then adding color and texture to make the pages come alive with your personality and unique style. It’s a way of self-discovery. You don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to. It’s just yours.

The benefits of art journaling

There are no “rules” for an art journal. It’s really whatever you want it to be. If you just want to sketch with a pencil, or if you want to paint only in watercolor and add quotes in pen, it’s all whatever makes you happy and feels important to you.

While there are no rules, there certainly are benefits to whatever you choose to do with your journal. There are many studies that show creating art can help with health issues like depression, anxiety, memory loss, ADD/ADHD, self-esteem issues, and other mental or cognitive challenges.

By working on a hobby regularly will give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose. I felt like I lacked purpose for quite a while. Ever since I picked up my paintbrush and pen again, I’ve definitely had a greater feeling of self-worth.

What is in my art journal

  • Prompts. Many times, I just grab a bin of paint and my journal and just start putting colors on the page and see where it takes me. But believe it or not, many days it’s hard to get started. So, I search online for prompts or grab one out of my prompt jar.
  • Quotes. I love adding quotes from random places. One time I was in Vegas for a conference. On the elevator, I saw an inspirational quote flash across the tv screen in the elevator and grabbed my phone and took a picture of it. I’m sure everyone in the elevator was wondering why on earth that Eleanor Roosevelt quote was so important.
  • Buildings or things I see while I’m out. Learn to sketch outlines quickly and you can always come back later and finish the page. Or, take a quick photo of something meaningful and capture it in your own style later that evening.
  • Flowers. All the flowers.  
  • Little things that happen during the day, I like to write them down and bring it to life on the page.
  • Things that make me, well… me.

How can I get started art journaling?

It’s quite easy to get started. Grab a book, I like mixed media art journals that can be found and any local arts and crafts store (or on Amazon). But you can also repurpose an old book, just paint or draw right on top of the words. Grab your favorite pen or some cheap paint and get to work! It’s really that simple. While there are hundreds of things you can do with thousands of different supplies, try starting with just the basics.

As we grow our passions change. As we get older, our priorities change. Our preferences and styles change. Our emotional, physical, fiscal needs change. Many of us are left feeling a little lost without quite knowing why. I found myself asking “what am I passionate about?” I used to have lots of hobbies. I loved all of them. I gave them all up for work and found myself lost.

Art journaling is a powerfully creative tool to beat boredom and stress. And possibly even reignite a fire that was lost. It’s a great way to spend a bit of time each day to re-energize your senses and get your creative juices flowing. Give it a shot. Have you tried your hand at art journaling? Let me know!

If you want to take some baby steps into art journaling, try the new “Calm the Mind” course for instruction on stress-relieving art exercises.

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