5 Things That Helped Me Get Unstuck and Back on Track

Disclosure | Some items featured c/o Barker and Stonehouse

Once upon a time, I thought burnout was something people made up as an excuse.

Then it happened to me. Twice. Both times a combination of work that didn’t fuel my spirit, lack of exercise, too many restaurant meals, and plenty more bad habits spiralled into months of no real creating. Instead of doing things I might have wanted to do or craved doing, I did what I “should”.

Here are some things that have helped me heal and thrive after burnout. I’m very much an introverted person so for me, getting the right mindset is all about what I’m thinking about and my personal home space. Getting over burnout is all about letting yourself truly relax & unwind.

1. Organising my stash

I tend to pack away my craft stash between projects. I don’t have an epic storage solution to keep everything organised, so my stash gets put away in the spare room. Underneath my desk, all the spare space is taken up by storage bins and magazines. There is a difference between “packed away” and thrown into a big fat mess, however, so I found myself earlier this year organising my stash.

Keep what inspires you at hand. I kept my favourite skeins out so I see them every time I use my craft corner. If necessary, I would be happy with just my craft chair, yarn basket, and a throw. Right by my chair, I have a pen pot full of crochet hooks, scissors, and (obviously) pens. Yarns to the left of me, hooks to the right, here I am stuck in the middle woohoo!

Embrace what makes you feel creative. I find yarn the most inspiring material of all. Yarn can be used in so many ways: as string, as embroidery floss, for knitting & crochet to create ‘fabrics’, needle felt, wrapping, and so much more. If I could only ever use one craft material ever again, it would be yarn.

Top tip: test wall art with washi tape before you commit to putting holes in your walls. We rent, so the less work to do when we eventually move the better. I admit sometimes I keep the taped look longer than necessary. There’s a quirky, casual charm to it!

Mmmm yarny goodness. Laundry basket c/o Barker and Stonehouse

2. Podcasts & Vlogs

I struggle to open up about creative blocks or depressing moods. I want to be positive & helpful, not just “in the dumps” even when I am, technically, in the dumps. When I’m feeling too raw to talk about stuff in person, podcasts and good old Youtube vlogs help me shift my mindset a million times more than just bingeing on Netflix.

When someone you admire, respect, or plain old fangirl over gets real it’s a good reminder that we’re all human and ya know, you can still do awesome sh*t even when life sucks sometimes. 

I highly recommend:

For the fellow self-employed: The Strategy Hour (podcast), Being Boss (podcast)
For the craft obsessed: A Playful Day (podcast), While She Naps (podcast)
For creative bloggers: Kat Molesworth (vlog), Blogtacular (podcast)

Large terracotta plate c/o Barker and Stonehouse

3. Just making something

Someone really clever once said something like “nothing will make you feel better except doing the work.” The work doesn’t have to literally be work. The work can mean making, cooking, sleeping, walking the dog, or whatever it is that’s getting ignored until it starts stressing you out. When I haven’t felt inspired or ready to make something, just sitting down to make something is the only thing that gets the ball rolling again.

Crochet and knitting are especially good techniques for simple, no pressure crafting as you can simply unravel the yarn and reuse it. Just make something, even if it’s just a little crochet granny square or tying a pretty bow. There is an instinctual pleasure in making with our own hands. When you remind your brain that “hey, this making thing is pretty good!”, it is easier to get back to the projects you really want to work on.

So let me say it again: just make something! Writing lists, pinning, and buying materials don’t count. (Guilty as charged!)

I confess to using a throw year round, it’s just too cosy to go without! Chevron throw c/o Barker and Stonehouse

4. Mindful reading

When was the last time you read with pure enjoyment and no intention other than to savour the text? This is the most powerful way I have found to change my mindset and what I’m thinking about. When I concentrate on reading a really good book or a wonderful magazine, the shoulds and what ifs and worries fade away enough to focus my energy on the good stuff.

I find physical books & magazines especially powerful as it gets me away from the distraction of the web. The key is to read without making yourself feel obligated to actually make any of the projects. The magazines I love to read focus on community, positivity, and making. They write about things in a happy and informative way. When I’m stuck and feeling uninspired, an upbeat mindset about the topics I’m struggling with is always a step in the right direction.

Some of my favourite mindful reads:
Project Calm (magazine) – just discovered this and I LOVE it
The Simple Things (magazine) – recipes, making, and more
Love Sewing (magazine) – especially because I love sewing but find it difficult
Susannah Conway (blog) – fantastic writing and dreamy photography that sucks you in
Brain Pickings (blog) – a great resource to find more mindful reading, too

5. Literally making the space

Home is what you make it. My home, especially my craft room, is very much my haven. When I let my craft corner become a piled up mess with no space to sit or make, it’s a constant stressor.

Literally making a space to be creative is so important. All you need is a nice quiet place to sit down and focus on some personal time. For years, the only spot I really made for myself was to sit in bed and use my tablet. By making a space to create I’m becoming conditioned just like Pavlov’s dogs. When I sit in my green chair, I know it’s “me time”. After only a few weeks of carving out this space, my body instantly relaxes and my creative gears start up. I can’t sit in that chair and stress out.

And of course, the cats love my craft corner!

What do you do when you’re stuck in a rut?

Lots of crafty love,

P.S. I’ve just discovered the #craftastherapy hashtag over on Instagram! If you’re on Insta, go check out this really inspiring feed and follow along with weekly themes by @craftastherapy. Craft really is therapeutic.