We all know the games industry is fast-paced and the high volume of work can often lead to burnout if not managed properly. Those of us who are older in the industry have experienced it at least once.
For #MentalHealthWeek we’ve collected some hard earned advice from our veterans to help you in your creative journey throughout the games industry.

1. Set realistic goals both for yourself and your team. It’s easy to get excited about tasks, especially the more creative ones. Properly assess the needed time to achieve your goals and set your deadlines accordingly then revise them regularly. Also be careful about adding new tasks. Many of us in the industry have been guilty of piling on a new task because we find it challenging and interesting, even if it means doing overtime. This can quickly lead to overload so make sure to adapt your timelines so that your deadlines remain achievable. If the deadlines are set, then think twice about piling on new tasks no matter how excited you are about them.
If you’re not in a position to set or organize your own tasks, then clearly define your work boundaries. Know when to say no to additional tasks or overtime if it exceeds your capacity.

2. Take regular breaks. Yes, yes we know you’ve heard this before, but are you actually doing it? Allowing yourself short breaks throughout the workday to rest your mind and body is crucial. If you ,like many of us, tend to forget to take breaks *looking at all of you non-smokers out there, then set an alarm for yourself to do just that. Try stepping away from the screen and engaging in activities like stretching or taking a walk which also help alleviate stress.

3. Prioritize self-care. If you don’t make self-care a priority nobody else will do it for you. Some of us have been lucky in our early days to be kicked out from our chair by a producer or lead, but that’s not the norm and relying on somebody else to force you to take care of yourself is not sustainable. What happens when you change jobs? So get enough sleep, eat well, exercise regularly, and engage in activities that promote mental and physical well-being. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally should be your number one priority.

4. Communicate openly. Unexpected occurrences and emergencies in the games industry will happen often and a ton of “stuff” can land on your desk at the same time. Make sure you have open and honest communication channels with your colleagues and leads. Share any concerns or challenges you are facing, and work together to find solutions.

5. Foster a healthy company culture. Remember it’s the people who make the studio and it’s up to each and every one of us to keep our work environment healthy. Create a positive atmosphere by promoting teamwork, respect, and appreciation among colleagues. Encourage breaks, celebrate achievements, and support each other in times of stress.

6. Seek support networks outside your team or studio. Connect with others in the industry who understand the challenges you face and don’t be afraid to share your experiences and ask for advice. Sometimes an outside perspective might be exactly what you need.

7. Embrace creativity outside of work. Engage in creative activities unrelated to your game. Explore other forms of writing or design, pursue personal projects, or indulge in hobbies that inspire you. You’ll be amazed at the positive effect this can have on your work once you get back to your game.

8. Self reflect. Regularly assess your work habits and identify any patterns that may lead to burnout. Adjust your approach as needed and be mindful of signs of exhaustion or stress.

Remember that avoiding burnout requires ongoing effort and self-awareness and many times also requires for you to seek help and advice so don’t hesitate to do so when you need to.
Take care of yourself and of each other!

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