When To Step Back

Hello all and welcome, today we will take some time to sit back and relax. Today is not about designing. Today is all about letting the designs come to you.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the need to create new art? New designs? Marketing material? Or running a special sale?

Perhaps you have the perfect idea, but it’s just not coming out the way you want it.

I know what you feel, I’ve been there too.

Sometimes as artists and creatives we forget that it is a very personal and sometimes painful task to manifest from the non-physical (ideas) to the physical (art). There comes time where the stress of designing, meeting a deadline or just getting through to the next paycheck can be too overwhelming to allow the process of creation to manifest.

At times like this it is a good idea to step back and relax. In this blog post we will be discussing the benefits of taking a break from creativity in order to improve creativity. Let’s dive in.

Why do we fall into stress when designing?

In my experience there are many factors that can cause stress on an artist. Some of this things include;

  • Deadlines
  • Bills
  • Skill Level

Many more other stressors can come into play, things like overthinking, laziness, or even simply being scared of not selling any designs.

The point is that artists can run into stressors for a number of reasons.

Stress and creativity never mix well together.

Stress prohibits the relaxation that the mind needs in order to properly translate an idea from the non-physical realm using the artist’s body as a catalyst for expression.

What to do with stress?

Stress is a very paradoxical thing, just like meditation, or the pink elephant conundrum.

If we tell you not to think of a pink elephant, that is all you will think about. Same with stress, if you think about it constantly, you will never leave it.

This means that the best way to deal with stress, is not to directly deal with it, but to rather circumvent the situation that is currently stressing you. This can be done by relaxing.

Here are some tips to improve your mood while you are in a stressful situation.

Go for a walk:

Going for a walk provides you some space from the design or problem that is troubling you. The unconscious is much smarter than the conscious, to purposely choose to go for a walk instead of continue sweating over something that’s not working, will move said problem to the back of your mind, for your unconscious to naturally sort out.


There is nothing in this world that taking a second to enjoy the moment will not make better. Meditation allows you to stop pressing so hard on yourself, it allows you to realize that this job we have, or this hobby we do, is a blessing. And as such we cannot afford to mis-represent it by creating work that was done under stress. We must only put forth our best foot forward, and sometimes to move forward we must step back.


Take a nap. This can solve most of your stress related issues. When the brain is stressed it enters a state of fight or flight, and by keeping that stress; the state remains active. Your body enters a zone where it’s not flowing with the day, but actually resisting the current of action. If you resist action, especially the action of the universe. It’s like being in front of a tsunami, with your arms out, hoping to stop the wall of water.

So step back and take a rest. You’ll be surprised how easier it will be to tackle that difficult design problem after a 20 minute nap.

*Did you know that artists over the centuries have used this method of resting/napping before creating some of their most amazing work? Yeah, two examples are Salvador Dali and Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen.

It is known that when they were faced with stress, or needed extra inspiration, they would sleep sitting down holding a set of keys a top of a ceramic plate. After 20-30 mins of drifting of and letting the mind wonder, they would instinctively fall asleep and drop the keys onto the plate. This sound would wake them up, feeling refreshed and newly inspired, they would then continue on to create amazing art.

So go ahead, try it out. Next time you find yourself staring at your screen for countless hours, just take a break, go out for a walk and let the silence inspire you. Sometimes you need to un-plug and plug back in to get those creative juices flowing.

Till next time, this was Antonio from MabsArts, helping you defeat stress and create amazing content.

Happy designing everyone!

This post was first written for the Threadless blog


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