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10 Ways to Stop Burnout Before it Starts

Episode 159: Why you might experience burnout, how to head it off, and tips for maintaining a healthy relationship with your sewing practice.

Posted in: Seamwork Radio Podcast • September 20, 2023 • Episode 159

When your favorite creative practice makes you feel burned out, it can be really upsetting and really frustrating. Your instinct might be to create a to-do list and start checking it off. But do you want sewing to just be another thing on your to-do list?

In this episode, Sarai and Haley cover some reasons you might experience burnout when it comes to sewing, how to head it off, and tips for maintaining a healthy relationship with your sewing practice.

Below are the show notes for this podcast episode and a brief summary of what's covered, followed by a full transcript.

10 Tips to Stop Burnout Before it Starts

  1. Turn down the noise. You’re likely receiving more information than you can process and express. Take a break from reading sewing blogs, step away from social media, and turn inward. Sketch some of your ideas, pull out some swatches, and pay attention to your internal voice.

  2. Embrace sporadic sewing. Creativity ebbs and flows. Don’t force it if it doesn’t feel good; jump in when it feels right.

  3. Escape analysis paralysis. Sometimes it's not the actual act of sewing that causes us to feel burned out. It's all of the other aspects—planning, cutting, and pressing. Find a planning method that eliminates some of the decision-making for you. This could be Design Your Wardrobe or our Style Workshop. Or, listen to the episode about the Rule of Three Outfits.

  4. Go fabric shopping in your stash. Organize or catalog your fabric and scraps. Touching your materials and being with your materials can be the first step to getting excited about them again. Or, you might need a stash clean-out. Read this article for ideas.

  5. Give your garment a time-out. If you’re stuck in a loop of mistakes, step away. Put your garment out of sight, in a box, a drawer, or ball it up, and throw it into the depths of your closet. Then, you can take one of two approaches. Regroup and do a little bit of research to get to the root of what's going on. Or, move on to a different project. Sometimes it helps to let a fail be a fail.

  6. Don’t mimic fast fashion. You might have started sewing to escape the fast fashion cycle, so why mimic it? Sew according to your own preferences and your wardrobe needs.

  7. Have some playtime. Your sewing doesn’t have to be productive at all times. Just play! In a podcast interview with textile artist Christi Johnson, she said, “through this play, I learn not to be too attached to the process of making. It becomes a natural part of my existence, and it's what I return to regularly when I'm feeling out of balance.”

  8. Declutter, mend, or take inventory. If the idea of making something new stresses you out, then take some time to appreciate what you already have and repurpose what you already own.

  9. Phone a friend. If you have a creative buddy, set up a crafting date or go out to brunch and go fabric shopping. You can chat about ideas that might get you feeling less burned out. If you don’t have a buddy, the Seamwork Community is a great place to meet one! We have people meeting up locally, over Zoom, or just chatting in direct messages.

  10. Let go of productivity shame. Be gentle with yourself when you don't feel like sewing. If you let go of the pressure to always to be productive, sewing can start to feel more like self-care and less like just another to-do item. Read more here.

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