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Feeling Burnt Out

I am burnt out, fried, my creative reservoir is dry, and the weather man is saying there’s no chance of rain in the seven-day forecast.

I have gone way past the point of exhaustion. Instead of pulling over to take a break, I passed every rest stop along the way and kept speeding across the state line.

I should have known better. I have written a hundred times before about the importance of taking care of yourself — proving I can give other people advice that I can’t take myself. I get it, it’s all my fault. I’ve been super busy with teaching my Art of Slow Comedy classes and workshops, performing, and doing Improv Nerd. And on top of that, my wife, Lauren, and I recently moved with our cat, Princess Coco, and all our furniture and belongings into our new three-bedroom townhouse.

In July, we moved from our tiny little condo with a bright orange wall that we loved into a temporary bachelor pad in “the party all night” neighborhood of Wrigleyville, where we stayed for three weeks before we moved again into our current home, all the while keeping a full schedule of classes, workshops and shows. It’s been unsettling and tiring, to say the least.

When I work so hard and don’t take care of myself, my creativity and joy dries up. For me, the empty light on the dashboard has been on for weeks now, and I’ve been operating on fumes.

I get up tired and cranky and with a low-grade headache. I can’t focus, and I think that getting on Facebook will help and it just seems to just make it worse. It’s even starting to affect my relationship with Lauren. I complain to her (no, more like blame her), that I haven’t had a day off and that we haven’t had any fun. She’s angry at me for not taking care of myself, and I am angry at her for being angry at me. I am waiting for her to give me permission to take time off and when she tries to help, I laugh because I am so uncomfortable.

The sad thing is I know that just as it’s important for me to be doing my art on regular basis, it’s equally important to replenish the well, but for some reason, I can’t seem to find the slow-down switch. I am on overload, and it’s making every aspect of my life miserable. Doing anything creative feels as painful as any day job I have ever had. In fact, I am white-knuckling writing this blog right now, hoping to squeeze out enough words to cobble together something that is half decent.

As I write this part of the blog, I feel some shame, like I should have some wisdom about what to do to get your creative juices flowing, and how to prevent yourself from getting burnt out. But obviously, I don’t have any wisdom to share. Usually, I tell my improv students that running out of ideas is good place to be because that means you are ready to learn, which must mean I am ready for learning now, too.

So I need some help. What do you do when you’re at the place I am at? How do you rejuvenate yourself to get some joy back? Next week I’m going on a three-city tour with Improv Nerd and teaching Art of Slow Comedy workshops, so I need your advice pronto. I know I’m better at giving advice than taking it, but I am going to give it a shot. Thanks.