This Art Is On Fire (Dealing With Burn Out)

Sometimes you work really hard on a project and then you see it take off! Which is amazing and inspiring and has all the good feelings that make creativity worthwhile. Recognition in other words, dear readers!

No matter how many artists I speak with, whether musicians, actors, visual artists or otherwise, they all say similar things about the importance of digging into the form you love with everything you’ve got and expecting a slow climb up that hill. Because while you may find opportunities right away, you also might be a victim of chance and have to wait for those accolades.

Which is legit.


This post is for those artists, the ones who wanted to succeed right away and didn’t, who work hard night and day to find their place in the world and put up their own time, potentially sacrificing their mental and physical health to do so. To carry that torch for the arts.

For everyone who has the courage to go the distance and shoot for their dreams, no matter what, this one’s for you.

Now, my original plan to start this post off right was to simply include a couple of lyrics from famous songs with the word fire in the song itself and then make a joke about the nature of fire and how it relates to success as a metaphor.

But fuck – there were like 150 plus songs to choose from, and I started to feel old once I realized that all of my “cool and new” references were from the 2000s and now effectively outdated (For instance, one of the examples I was thinking about was from the 2003 album Fire by Electric Six). So you’ll just have to accept this string of GIFs as my effort at peacekeeping – Because I’m also feeling burnt out from this process. Pun semi-intentional.

Mi6sWRs                                   gifyh1c46                                                william

Funny right?

Well, interestingly enough each of those GIFs represents a different scenario of burn out. Yeah, burn out. I’m switching to something serious.

A scary topic that not a lot of people talk about because they don’t understand the full-reaching effects it can have on an individual.

Burnout is the state in which one discovers they have chronic fatigue – It usually starts with a lack of energy and feeling tired quite often. But they will likely experience other symptoms too, which might include insomnia, forgetfulness and/or impaired concentration, physical symptoms like chest pain, heart palpitations, headaches and stomach pain, weakened immune system, loss of appetite, anxiety, anger, and depression. More on the symptoms in this article.

You see, the 1st image is the guy/gal/person who decides to embrace the pain and lean into it as it overtakes them. Then you have 2nd person who experiences the loss and complains about it while not doing anything either, the 3rd person sees the signs but pretends there is nothing wrong, and the 4th person, appropriately might I add, freaks out and does something about it.

Dear readers, let me say this in the most common of terms, you want to be that 4th person. Take the time to honestly assess the state you are in, the amount of stress in your life, and find ways to reduce it before it becomes too much. While burn out is a physical problem, unlike a cold or a hangover, it doesn’t go away over a matter of days, it can take much longer, because it hits two fronts at the same time – your mind and your body.

So what’s an artist to do about it?

Well you need to douse that fire quick or if you’ve already experienced burn out, clean up the ashes and start rebuilding. But for the sake of constructive criticism and because I hate to leave you without some wisdom, I’ll give you a short list of remedies you can use (taken from this article).

  1. Self-care. Get your energy back through salt baths, yoga, deep breathing, long walks in nature, and positive affirmations.
  2. Take a break. Dial back from what you aren’t interested about and take a break until you are ready to come back. Whether it’s days, weeks, or months.
  3. Check your trophy room. Look back at your history and identify your successes. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  4. Enlist support. Hiring someone or get a friend to help out.
  5. Reassess your goals. Rethink your dreams, visions, and goals.
  6. Seek new inspiration. Visit places you normally avoid or spend time with creatives you haven’t considered before. Children for example.
  7. Community. Find a tribe through a class, seminar, meet-up or a studio visit.

And if you want some more resources, look here for suggestions (1 2 3 4). There is definitely a lot more to be written about this subject, and I’ve just scratched the surface, but at the end of the day, no matter what your creative role, you HAVE to take care of yourself. Inspiration and passion are good motivators but discipline requires attention as well.

Now I’m out of theories for the day friends. I hope this post finds you well, and if not, it helps you get back in shape. I’ll see you tomorrow with something timely.


A Short, Impromptu, Review (timotheories April 2016)

Hey there, dear readers! It’s update time! It’s update time.

Come on in, sit down in your favourite chair with a hot beverage, and get super excited along with me… as I will be revealing my calendar of posts this month so you can set your own agendas and tune in at 9 PM MST in anticipation of the publish dates.


*Disclaimer* As always, every week I  purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can see what’s coming.

I’ve decided to change things ever so slightly this time around and slot in the music and movie reviews as well, as long as I can acquire said hard copies in advance of the release. If I cannot, don’t be disappointed, I’ll find something equally as entertaining for you.

Read? Let’s dig right in and go over the April entries you can expect to see on timotheories, I’ve even included this week for easy recall later on –

Stimulating Sundays – (04/03) How enviornment effects creativity, (04/10) artist statements, (04/17) Cross Talk Ep.4, (04/24) Lisa Jones interview
Melodic Mondays – (04/04) Amon Amarth, (04/11) Weezer, (04/18) The Lumineers (04/25) M83
Theatrical Tuesdays – (04/05) The Hateful Eight, (04/12) Star Wars VII, (04/19) The Dark Knight Returns w/graphic novel (04/26) The Revenant
Wisdom Wednesdays – (04/06) the secret to apathy, (04/13) Twitter, (04/20) Buzzfeed, (04/27) dealing with burnout
Timely Thursday – (04/07) April 2016 review, (04/14) National Poetry month, (04/21) Earth Day, (04/28) flea markets

The year of all killer, no filler continues friends! That’s right, we’ve got some great theories to go over, lots of events to cover, a wicked cool interview with a visual artist, and Episode 4 of Cross Talk. Hint, it’s about film adaptations, and promises to be an awesome topic.


When you think of film adaptations, more often than not books come to mind, followed by television shows, and then video games, right? But we’re not just going to be covering examples of when those can work and when they fail, we are also going to discuss how peoples expectations can be unrealistic when it comes to how adaptations compare versus the source material.

Wheels turning yet? Good.

Now let’s talk more detail on the April timotheories interview. This month should be even better than previous entries, because we upped the visual quality of the lighting to accommodate this artist. She’s a painter with drive to innovate and change the world, one step at a time. But you’ll have to tune in to see what I’m writing about.

And now we’ve covered it all, my friends. You can rest easy knowing the quality of timotheories continues to support the community surrounding the arts, giving you a voice and information to pursue your passions. I’m about spent now, so I’ll leave you with these theories and see you again on Sunday to talk about artist statements.

Of course please leave some comments, to let us know what you want to see in coming months and subscribe to the blog too!


The Bends (Decompression)

The past few weeks have just been nuts for me, dear readers. On top of it all, I got sick not once, but twice. I’ve already written about this experience in my post about community, but today I wanted to focus on the practical side of dealing with a seemingly never-ending illness, jam-packed days filled with meetings, hundreds of emails to wade through, and all of events that happen over the holidays, plus the holiday aftermath.

Normally I pride myself on being calm no matter what the circumstance, working through the pressure, deadlines, and workload. But sometimes our bodies just shut down, and we get sick.

You see friends, stress suppresses the immune system, and as a consequence it becomes easier for you to get sick. So while stress cannot “make” you sick, it definitely contributes to the environment.

You have to make time to care for yourself when in stressful situations.


What that really means is that you have to teach yourself some decompression techniques. No, I’m not writing about decompression sickness (also known as the bends or divers’ disease) but that is another type of illness that requires treatment early on.

What I’m referring to creative cuties is decompression from stress. I may have written about this in a different capacity once before, focusing on things like self-care, taking breaks, reviewing previous successes, enlisting support and seeking inspiration, but today I want to focus on things you can do immediately to help with the decompression process.

Most of these actions are physical which is good when you’re sick or stressed. We hold a lot of tension in our bodies from stress.

Here are some of the best options:

  1. Deep breathing. Take a breath in, slowly exhale, and start over again. If you do this for about ten seconds each time and keep at it for ten minutes, you’ll feel it quick.
  2. Self-massage. Tense and then relax each muscle, from your toes to your head.
  3. Take a walk. A five minute walk in the midst of a stressful day does wonders.
  4. Exercise. This can be great for quiet thinking AND all of the chemicals your body releases while exercising are great stress relievers.
  5. Get outdoors. Just connecting with the outdoors can be helpful, but the fresh air helps too.
  6. Sex. An obvious choice. Just ask my girlfriend.
  7. Vacation day. Take the time to focus and recenter.
  8. Meditate. Be somewhere quiet, close your eyes, relax, and focus on your breathing. Your mind will be very active during this process, so embrace the thoughts and allow them to leave.
  9. Read. Whether you read fiction or something more practicaI like a biography. Taking some time with a good book is great exercise for your mind.
  10. Love. Get in some hugs and cuddles with your loved ones. It’s a win-win-win scenario and helps strengthen intimacy for all involved.
  11. Disconnect. Technology can be both a godsend and water torture. Do yourself a favour, and turn off the phones, computer, and ignore the outside world for as long as you can.
  12. Take a nap. A shot nap does wonders for refreshing the mind and the body. Thirty minutes should do the trick.

Now with that said, finding and using different ways to reduce tension is important but it should never add to your stress. You need to pick the techniques that best suit your lifestyle, but I have this theory that as you add different habits, you’ll be hungry for even more.

Another thing to consider folks.

On a really busy day it might feel like you are faced with an impossible task and that none of those techniques will do the trick. Just stick with it though. I can assure you that taking the time to unwind will be huge for your health and I have this theory that you’ll be more productive in the long run.