Sure, you want to be successful and fully engaged in your craft but if you don't take some time for yourself every once in a while it can wear on you over time. Taking a calculated break every once in a while can have incredible benefits.
Regardless what your career goals are behind the camera, or even what type of photographer you want to be, or even what subject matter you decide to tackle, learning to balance work and the rest of life can be a challenge. In fact, I'd venture a guess that it's something that we all have either struggled with in the past or it's something that we currently have to work through. Personally, I find myself going through waves. I'll hit photography nice and hard, then burn myself out and have to take a break. After taking a break, I find myself filled with a bunch of fresh ideas and excitement for creating new images and putting together more projects. Then I'll shoot my way through each one of those projects only to tire myself out again, and so the cycle repeats.
Maybe you have a different way of handling photography life versus everything else, maybe you're just like me. Either way, I think the key to true creative longevity is giving our minds time to rest periodically. What works for me may not work for you, but what works for you may not work for someone else. It's all about finding the right psychological, even emotional, balance. Personally, when I really need some time to clear my head, I like to head to the mountains. Some good time spent out in the wild, with nothing but fresh air and quietness, is typically what I need for a recharge. Although, sometimes a few good extra hard sessions in the gym have the same effect. If you find yourself in a creative rut, or if you feel somewhat burned out, I have compiled a small criteria list of ways to find a good activity to give yourself a creative reset.
- The activity can't, or shouldn't, involve the use of a camera.
- The activity should be something different from your normal routine.
- The activity should be engaging enough to take your mind off photography work.
- If done with people, engage with friends outside your photographic circles.
- Set some boundaries, either for how much time to take off, or how engaged you'll allow yourself to be with social media.
It's not meant to be a perfect list, but rather a starting point. In this epic game we call life, I think we're bound to continually learn how to go about things in ever better ways. So if you have ever found yourself at a point where you felt like you were stagnating, or burned out, or any similar place, what have you done to help yourself get back on track? Make sure to comment below because I would love to hear what you have found to work for you.