Slowly emerging from a burnout

Title: Emerging from a burnout. This little painting is the result of my overcoming creative block and a burnout after 3 months. Medium: pen, watercolour, acrylic. In my sketchbook, 2020. Artist: gaurangi mehta shah
Title: Emerging from a burnout. This little painting is the result of my overcoming creative block and a burnout after 3 months. Medium: pen, watercolour, acrylic. In my sketchbook, 2020. Artist: gaurangi mehta shah

If you had read my November 2020 blog post you would know that I had a huge creative block with a severe burnout. In case you missed reading that blog post, kindly Click here.

The reason for this dreadful burnout was that I pushed myself beyond my limits and capabilities, solely to quench the desire of my inner critic which was aggressively feeding on me. I did not pay any heed to it and suffered the consequences to such an extent that my mind and body behaved like a numbed zombie.

With strong determination, I decided to stop and pause which did not go well with my inner critic. Regardless of that I picked up a book and since mid-November till date, I have finished reading 6 books and now have my hands wrapped around the 7th.

I distinctively remember, on my 4th book, my inner critic poked its head up again. I was flooded by guilt. Guilt of not doing anything, guilt of wasting my time, guilt of not finishing tasks, guilt of not checking emails, guilt, guilt, and more guilt. To be honest, I was swayed by the assault but did not yield to those colourful guilts playing their part on my mind. I held strong, firm and resumed reading. I won a tiny battle which felt amazing. Something good did come out from this burnout.

In the end I can say two things from this insight, one – I have accepted my capabilities and limitations and two – I will not allow guilt to faze me again. Though I do not know how long this will last; it might pop its head up again but on a positive side, recollection of this experience and its repercussions will be a good forewarning.


a creative block has attached itself to my body

Since the beginning of November, I feel my body has attached itself to a block. It is perched on my shoulders and travels with me whenever I go. However hard I try to shake it off, it refuses to change its shape or even leave me.

My head has been replaced by a huge creative block accompanied with immense fatigue and exhaustion. Even writing this blog is a difficult task for me (I made a commitment to myself to publish a blog every month and I intent to stick by it).

What brought this on? Mid October I had an idea for next year’s series, and I decided to act upon it without realizing that I have not yet healed completely from this year’s 2 series – Integrating, disintegrating only to integrate again. Repeat. And The third space. Though both these series have helped me understand my relationships with others and myself including, I feel extremely vulnerable. I needed the time to ‘Just Be with Myself’. But I did not listen to my heart and body, I lunged on painting. Bad idea.

Then came a time when, even if I wanted to do something meaningful, my body and mind refused to act in response to that. It refused to budge. So, keeping everything aside I grabbed a book – a gentle book and read on like I was obsessed. I finished 2 books in a span of 3 weeks (yes, there was guilt that I am not focusing on my art, but I did not let that overpower me). This healing period was necessary.

I have always said to myself, learn to relax. This time I experienced the importance of that phrase.