Creative Hangovers: How to Re-Charge After Creating Something You Love

Do you ever come up with an idea that you're super excited about, plan it out, research it, execute it, feel great about it, and then – a short while later – feel like junk?

This happened to me this week. An idea for a podcast came to me while I was vacuuming my house. It hit me so hard and I became very excited about it. I texted my husband. I told a friend. I started writing a bazillion notes about what I wanted it to be about.

I thought of a title. I searched the domain. I bought the domain. I searched for microphones on Amazon. I couldn't stop, and it felt so awesome.

But, later on in the afternoon, I felt super drained. I even felt tired the following day.

This phenomenon is something I've lovingly started referring to as the, "Creative Hangover." A quick Google search shows that I'm not the only one using the phrase and feeling this way.

Whenever I work on something I'm jazzed about, I sometimes experience a feeling of fatigue later on in the day or the following day. Do you experience it? It's like the adrenaline rush that comes with being "in flow" wears off and is replaced by, well, regular, less exciting feelings.

I have found a few ways that have helped me get out of the funk after working on or completing a project that I love. 

1. Go for a walk: I'm about to go for a walk after I write this post. Putting my feet on the ground while breathing in fresh air always makes me feel better and clears my head. In fact, I find walking in the rain even better. Go out in any weather (within reason, of course. Don't hurt yourself!). Yesterday, I read a quote that said, "There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes." If it's raining, put on some boots and walk.

2. Free write: This may sound like a weird suggestion, especially if you're feeling creatively hungover after a writing session. However, try picking up a pen and a notebook, and writing non-stop until you've filled three pages. Write everything that comes into your head – even if it's "blah, blah, blah," or "I don't know what to write." I learned this concept through, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. She calls them "Morning Pages." The practice helps me clear my mental chatter and move on to more important things (plus, sometimes I come up with some ideas in the notes I write).

3. Clean your house: I don't know about you, but I get the BEST ideas when I'm doing mundane tasks like washing dishes or scrubbing my bathtub. Plus, I feel more creatively in-tune when my house is clean. Sure, you may not think of anything worthwhile while folding laundry, but at least you will have completed the task of tidying your house. Win!

4. Do something completely different: Another concept I learned from The Artist's Way was to change your scenery and fill your creative cup by doing something completely different. Put down your work and volunteer somewhere. Play with kids. Swing on swings. Go look at art supplies. Chop wood. Mow the lawn. Have a dinner party. It gives your mind a chance to focus on other important things, and will rejuvenate you for when you sit down to work.

5. Go to bed earlier: This can be so hard if you're a nighthawk, but you will never, ever regret going to bed earlier when you wake up in the morning feeling great. Your body and brain will be so thankful. Go to bed even 15 minutes earlier than usual. Keep a notebook and pen beside your bed in case you wake up in the night with ideas. 

How do you deal with creative hangovers? I'd love to learn more strategies.

Photos by Wes Hicks and tanialee gonzalez on Unsplash


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