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How to Take Care of a Burned Out Designer

Kevin Whipps April 11, 2024 · 6 min read

Being a designer can be a lot of fun, but there are definitely times when the bad outweighs the good. From impatient clients to frustrating computer issues and everything in between, it can start to hang around your shoulders like a weight, bringing you down. When that funk hits you, and it seems like everything is falling down around you with no hope in sight, you need something to dig you out. A way to bring light to the dark situation, so you don’t fall further. Or maybe you’re not the person that’s down in the dumps, but it’s a friend that you can see is in pain. Getting them the help they need can give them the hope they need before what was just a bad day turns into a depression that requires professional help. We’ve got a few ideas that should help turn things around, and if not, they’re certainly a good start.

Shut down the computer

There are times when, no matter what it is you seem to be doing, you need to just get up and walk away from your machine. And if your designer friend feels that way, then help them out by letting them disconnect a bit. Encourage them to shut down their computer and put their phone into airplane mode, just so that they can step away from their problems a little bit. Even disconnecting just for an hour or so can reinvigorate the spirit. BurnedOutDesigner_ShutDownPC

Hug it out

Not everybody is a hugger, but if your designer pal is feeling downtrodden and generally doesn’t feel like things are going well, that little bit of physical contact can bring up their mood and make it feel like everything is going to be all right. Now obviously you want to be sure that they’re cool with the physical contact, so maybe broach the topic with open arms while you say, “Bring it in,” or just ask directly – “You look like you need a hug. May I?” And if they agree, then make sure that your hug is completely reassuring and lets them know that you’re there for them, and there’s nothing to this moment other than to make them feel better. BurnedOutDesigner_HugItOut

Go For a Walk-And-Talk

Getting your designer friend to shut down their hardware is one thing, but walking out of the building and getting out into the world can change their focus in numerous ways. Throw in some good conversation – letting them rant on will work – and you’ve got a recipe for tension relief. BurnedOutDesigner_Walk

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Buy them a cup of coffee and chat

We all know about the benefits of caffeine, and coffee has that in spades. But more than that, we’ve all had those times when just sitting down at a coffee shop for a chat with an old friend is quite enjoyable, and if you’re buying, then your sad friend doesn’t even have to worry about that part of the whole deal. Just sit there, talk out your friend’s problems, and enjoy the warm beverages. BurnedOutDesigner_Coffee

Take them to do something fun (and distracting)

Now that your friend is caffeinated and they’ve talked through their problems, it’s time to take them really out of their environment so that they don’t even think about anything design related. Try bowling, seeing a movie, or just hitting the roller skating rink for some old-school fun. Alternatively, if they don’t feel like being out in the open too much, then let them chill and watch a movie at your place or theirs, somewhere they can curl up on a couch while you’re being supportive. Whatever it is, work is off the table as a topic of discussion, and it’s all about having a good time. BurnedOutDesigner_Out

Three Words: Pet Play Date

You know what always picks me up when I’m down? My pets. Nothing makes me feel better than playing with a dog or cuddling with them on a couch, and if your designer friend is an animal lover, make that connection for them, too. If you have a dog, bring it over and let the two of them bond for a bit. Or if neither of you has pets, hit the mall and check out a pet store to play with little puppies. And if they’re more into cats than dogs, then do exactly the same thing as I just said, but with a kitten instead. BurnedOutDesigner_Pets

Nourish Their Body

Food cures everything (just ask my grandmother), so when in doubt, get them some food. You have a few different options here: junk food, so they get some sugar in them, hopefully cheering them up in the process. Or, if they’re the healthy type, try a green drink or something fun and leafy that loads them up with the good stuff they need to keep their body going. Whatever you choose, make sure you buy, because it’s the right thing to do. BurnedOutDesigner_Food

Reinvigorate their Spirit

When you’ve been told that you suck for an excessive amount of doubt, it’s hard not to feel like you’re being told the truth. So if you want to pull your designer friend out of it, you need to listen to their problems, help them work through it, and then get them kick started in the right direction. How? Check out some cool art at a local gallery, or go to the museum and see what inspires you and them. Take them to a place where designers flourish and watch their soul fill with love. BurnedOutDesigner_Gallery

What Do You Need When You’re Feeling Burned Out?

Look, we’ve all been there, and it’s no fun to feel like you’re not worth the skin you’re in. If one of your friends is feeling that way, give them some help so that they can get back out there and kicking butt. After all, the best way to get away from that burned out feeling is creating something new and cool that changes the standard, and that’s exactly what good design (and the designers who make it) does.

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About the Author
Kevin Whipps

Hi! My name is Kevin Whipps, and I'm a writer and editor based in Phoenix, Arizona. When I'm not working taking pictures of old cars and trucks, I'm either writing articles for Creative Market or hawking stickers at Whipps Sticker Co.

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