How do you deal with bad cyclic burnout?

For some odd reason I burnout very frequently, or more like I get so brain dead that I literally cannot even come up with an Idea of what to do, let alone act on it. It feels like when I even try to start I get so exhausted that I have to lay down.

It always happens after I'm the most productive, but my down time feels so much longer than the time I get to create. I'd say I have at least 4 days to a week of productivity, and about 2 - 3 weeks of burnout. It's nuts.

The cycle repeats, though it can vary wildly in how long each part is.

I'm starting to get hella annoyed since I haven't drawn a thing in over a year and I was finally getting back into the groove at least doodling daily, just to be derailed hard.

I was thinking that I just lack creativity, but it became this catch-22 of "I have to actually draw with purpose and make things that I enjoy" and "I am so fucking tired that even opening a sketchbook or cleaning makes me want to take a nap / drop into a dead sleep".

What are your thoughts?

schmurian, avatar

This is not a medical advice. And if you experience burnouts returning frequently, that‘s what you might wanna get.

However, I noticed, when I started to work in a regular job, I was able to work all year without the need of taking time off. I was used to it, since I was self-employed before that. After the first few years at this new job I started to feel the same things you‘ve felt (but maybe not to the extremes you‘ve described). So (with the lovely advice from my SO), I decided to take all my accumulated time off and we went to a place, where I really was able to turn off my phone, let my mind wander and together we explored new things. After 3 weeks, I felt not burned out anymore and was able to perform.

This lasted for about 5 months after which I took another vacation. Now I try to take at least a week off each quarter. With a longer vacation once a year if time allows.

So, what I want to say: take time off where you can stop thinking about your occupation (and anything like social media or emails). Try to learn something new (if you want to be productive) that isn‘t tied to goals or deadlines (and don‘t try to make this new hobby a profession) or you will find yourself in a worse cycle with two jobs. Even better, immerse yourself in something unproductive.

NikkiNikkiNikki avatar

I was thinking about taking a break from my job but I'm currently training a few new people so I have to wait a little bit longer -_- And it's very difficult for me to be unproductive. There's this itch in my head i can't scratch unless I'm working on some project or thinking hard about solving a problem I have.

Though the hardest part would be trying to 'disconnect'. I'm pretty heavily relied upon for my own job, and my SO works out of town so I usually have to check in to see what she needs. Social media can probably go first though, was already thinking about deleting the big apps off my phone.

trying to set my mind into the 'shut up, stop thinking so hard idiot' mode will be a challenge as well. Though recently I've enjoyed some of the brain dead times since I could just have silence.

it's an odd.

Lemmylefty, avatar

I feel you about getting antsy when you’re not productive, or feeling a project won’t get worked on without active effort on your part, but one thing that helps me slow down is two pieces of knowledge.

One, that a ton of the processing your brain does is unconscious. You ever go for a walk to “clear your head” and suddenly a solution popped into your brain? Your mind never stopped working on the issue, it just got put outside your conscious awareness.

Two, that operating at lower efficiency for longer is exactly what tanks you and brings you down to zero efficiency (and also kills your ability to process unconsciously). You ever heard “fast is slow and slow is fast”?

Don’t think of it as being unproductive: do you think a car refueling is being unproductive? Or is that and an oil change part of routine maintenance that keeps you from needing to push it down the road to a station every so often?


This might not apply to you but its worth a shot.

IMO we as humans were never supposed to get immense motivation BEFORE an action. Its supposed to come after you see the results of your work.

That said, you keep coming up with excuses you cant create:

  1. Too tired
  2. Ideas aren't good enough
  3. Not in the right mindset
  4. What I make won't look good anyways

You need to alter your perspective because that is what is holding you back. You could draw despite all of those reasons above, but you CHOOSE not to.

I don't want to make it like a pull yourself up by your boot straps thing, I only say its a choice you are making so hopefully you will realize that you could just choose to draw.

Even if what you create is devoid of creativity, is unoriginal, does not represent you, and just plain looks bad, its still better to have created something and throw it away than to have created nothing.

Also any strong emotion can result in beautiful art, whether its a positive emotion or negative. Most people just want to see emotional honesty in art. Nothing wrong with how you feel, other than you preferring feeling a different way at the time.


It kind of sounds like you’re describing bipolar disorder. These cycles of up and down.

You said this low period always happens right after your most creative periods. Depressive cycles typically last longer than the manic phase which is what you described.

Not a doctor obviously but I lived with it undiagnosed for a very long time. Maybe read up on it and see if it fits your experience.

Whatever it is I hope you find some relief.


This is only a small advice. Take it or leave it, of course. Burn out is real, if that’s what your are experiencing. And it effects all parts of your life. For example, if you have burn out because of work, your hobbies suffer because you’re just burnt out.

Be kind to yourself. Life, or burn out, only gets even worse when you get mad at yourself for not doing something or not being productive. It’s okay to be tired. It sucks when life takes away from your hobbies and the things you love. But don’t beat yourself up! It’s okay to do nothing even when it doesn’t feel okay.

NikkiNikkiNikki avatar

It's really difficult to do nothing when you're so used to being occupied though, like all the things i do are involved, I gotta find new things that arent involved... wack


Not to diagnose you, but have you considered that this may actually be due to bipolar disorder? Burnout and depression share a lot of symptoms, after all.

NikkiNikkiNikki avatar

Well I was diagnosed years ago with it actually haha. Though it was never this severe. The way it manifested back then was far more emotional, it usually never fucked with my motivation or energy this hard, I would just have a week or two of awful venting and bad sketches, then all was well after that.

For a good 2 years I had no symptoms at all, and I had stopped taking the medication a little before that since I felt that it wasn't needed?

Anyhow it seems really odd for it to come back in a completely different, and somehow more debilitating way.


Bipolar disorder generally gets worse with time, it’s a degenerative illness


Source on both of those, please?

NikkiNikkiNikki avatar

That's fun to know haha, I always thought that it was constant and some people just had it worse


Some people do have it worse, that’s true.

But each episode increases the risk and potency of new episodes, especially when unmedicated


Yeah in that case I would go back to the doctor who first diagnosed you. Sometimes the brain just needs a bit of help to regulate itself properly, just like any other organ.


Maybe also have a look into adhd, it’s getting commonly misdiagnosed as bipolar


Lol I read “bad Cyrillic burnout.”

Мне похуй блять

someguy3, (edited )

That’s really bad ratios but I can only give you the generic advice, I doubt it’s enough but maybe it’ll help a bit.

Get good long sleep, cool room, blacked out room. People say 8 hrs but try 9-10. Dim lights in a warm color range 1-2 hrs before bed.

Try to eliminate caffeine. If it can’t, no caffeine after noon.

Eat chicken liver. Lots of vitamins.

You can try creatine if you want.

NikkiNikkiNikki avatar

It's hard to stray away from caffeine later on since my job is in the morning and I have to stay alert until at least dusk since my S.O. doesn't have a license and she works afternoons and nights.

Also first I heard of the chicken liver and creatine stuff, what's the supposed effects of those?


Well I think I found the problem. Caffeine late in the day is interfering with your sleep, which means you then need caffeine to stay awake, which then interferes with your sleep, etc. You really need to break the pattern. You shouldn’t need it to be functional.

Liver is nature’s multivitamin. Lots of everything but exceptionally B vitamins.

Creatine you see mainly in working out so you don’t get tired (it’s a molecule important in the energy system), but there are ideas that is good for everyone.


You’re doing too much cognitive work. This is why I had to leave software development: it was just too much load on my brain to he sustainable.

Our economy isn’t set up for you to work 20% of the time, unless you can make a product and sell it, or get super high rates for when you are working.

If you can’t maintain output for about 60% of the time, you’re doing a job that you can’t do.


Burnout is something a lot more serious. It usually takes many months to years to recover, if you recover at all.

  1. Meet a therapist
  2. See my post YSK: Understanding the work burnout experience, treatment and preventions

As currently there is no one perfect solution, it’s time for you to learn what solution will suit you.

Good luck mate


I think your link is wrong


You say this keeps happening. Go and talk to your doctor. Maybe there is something wrong with your thyroid. Or some other imbalance with hormones/chemistry in your body. Or something with the mind. I’m not a doctor but i’d say it’s worth checking if it’s some physical problem. And if it’s some mental problem, it also helps getting help (or at least a diagnosis) sooner than later.

  • All
  • Subscribed
  • Moderated
  • Favorites
  • tacticalgear
  • InstantRegret
  • Egalitarianism
  • Youngstown
  • NeutralPolitics
  • OmnivoreApp
  • everett
  • rhentai
  • Kemonomimi
  • oldschoolgamer
  • slotface
  • DreamBathrooms
  • osvaldo12
  • TeamSpeak
  • lostlight
  • GTA5RPClips
  • ethstaker
  • tester
  • smallboobs
  • normalnudes
  • Durango
  • cubers
  • modclub
  • morbius
  • Leos
  • cisconetworking
  • kopitiam
  • relationshipadvice
  • All magazines