Dear Creative, Please Rest

While many people think you’re either born creative or you’re not, what it comes down to is ambition. Creative people often love to execute their feelings and thoughts into forms of art, but for the same reasons that musicians release music, they also go on year-long hiatuses. It’s why you don’t see new works of art from Banksy for months, and why YouTubers can often only upload videos weekly. While so many of us are dying to create, our minds are also dying to rest.

In the world of arts and entertainment, this is a topic that’s often glossed over or not focused on but is incredibly important. Whether you’re a painter, a designer, an illustrator, a musician, a poet, your art comes from inside you. Every creative who has ever created anything pulls from the inside of their hearts, souls, and minds to simply communicate something to an audience or just to have it live outside their bodies.

The act of opening up your emotions within you and writing them in a post, painting them on canvas, putting them into a song, is hard work alone. It requires bravery, vulnerability, and an effort to say, “I need to look within myself to communicate this feeling and let it live outside of my body and within the world.” And it’s tiring.

So, if you’ve never been told this or if you’re looking for a sign, this is it. If you’re a writer looking for inspiration and getting frustrated because you haven’t had a good idea in months, if you’re an artist who can’t get their colors absolutely perfect, if you’re a content creator who is desperately searching for a new way to film or take photos then, please rest.

Social media and westernized culture tell us that it’s wrong to take breaks and recharge. We view laziness as unproductive, but the truth is that rest is resilience. Wellness advocates, therapists, and even just people who prioritize well-being will say it’s important to rest. When you rest, you give your mind the time to recharge and your body the energy it needs to execute your next idea. Yes, your art is important. Your story is important. Your activism is important, but so is your rest.

Oftentimes, we can’t find the inspiration we’re looking for simply because we haven’t run into yet, and not because we are “blocked” or “un-creative.” If your problem isn’t that you haven’t found inspiration, then it’s likely that you’re just tired. Your brain can’t develop an idea because you’re exhausted, creatively burnt out, and so tired that you struggle to find ways to express your inspiration. Suffering through creative burnout is not more tolerable than dealing with the yearning that lives inside an artist or creative who is dying to tell their story.

So, please rest. Allow yourself to sleep in on that weekday morning. Allow yourself the occasional piece of chocolate you’d normally decline. Allow yourself to write bad poetry, take funny pictures, and be silly. Take a break from social media. Go outdoors. Read a book. Not everything has to be professional or always in progress because you have nothing to prove when you are creative. Creativity is an expression of the soul, and nothing is more important than taking care of your soul. As a creative person, you’re going to want your art to live – and it will, but you need to rest too. 

Sometimes, we even get our best ideas through dreams in sleep, through whispers in the wind when you sunbathe outside, on a walk in the park, through the smiles we see spending time with the people we love, in moments of tranquillity, when we’re not looking for it … when we’re resting. So please rest, even for a little, and tomorrow, you can get back to creating.