Wooo do I ever have it. I’m in a stable space so I’m not trying to say I’ve got it bad, but mentally I’m stretched very thin. I’m just doing so many things and have to very quickly make decisions that impact creative projects long term (booking insert credit guests, game design decisions across 2-3 games at once, funding applications, mentorship advice, game evaluations for competitions, etc). There’s a lot of task switching for me which is a huge source of mental drain, and on top of that I’m meant to be contributing writing and other creative stuff and also managing a team of people who are also burned out.
We obviously talk a lot about not liking crunch in the game industry, and I try to make sure that nobody on my team does it, but we have a fully virtual team, and I can’t monitor that too well. And one of our team members just works all the time, it’s kind of his thing, and I also find myself doing that, while trying to tell everyone else not to.
I’ve definitely had to remind folks on my team to take breaks, take some days off, etc, but I just can’t envision when to do that myself. I feel guilty taking a full weekend not thinking about work sometimes, which is not good! Ultimately we just don’t have enough money for me to split out the jobs I do among other people. It would be great for someone to handle business and management stuff while I handle creative direction but there’s no money for that. It’d be great to get a producer instead of splitting duties between two of us, but there’s no money for that!
Anyway I have found that at a certain point my body just gives up and is like “we’re resting now, deal with it” and that kind of helps. But I’m so wound up that when I took a week off in the last year at some point I spent most of the time just stressing about trying to have a relaxing time and didn’t relax at all until the actual weekend after my week off.
I know people make fun memes about how much pressure everyone puts on the “quick walk outside” to calm oneself down, but that’s really been the only thing that’s kind of worked for me without taking multiple days off in a row. Also uhhh a dog is simultaneously stressful and a stress reliever!? that’s something.
I dunno, I’m working on it but let me tell ya - I have not figured this out and I don’t think I’ll be figuring it out real soon. For me traveling to trade shows was a lot of that relaxation I think, because I was working, technically, but not having to exercise my brain that much. Once that starts up again maybe I’ll be in better shape.