Maria Menounos

How to Survive Workplace Toxicity, Burnout and Creative Blocks

‘Twas the Fight Before Christmas is one of Heal Squad X Maria Menounos’ new favorite documentaries. Thanks to our amazing producer Kelsey, we were able to snag the director herself for an interview on Heal Squad X Maria Menounos! Becky Read is a brilliant Emmy-nominated director, however, her success hasn’t come without its hardships. From workplace toxicity, burnout and creative blocks, she shares a lot of valuable advice on how she maintains a healthy, work-life balance that can be applied to any job. 

You can be an honest person unreliable witness

Working on a film with an obvious “villain” and “victim,” Becky found herself at a crossroads. She didn’t know how she felt about these roles. Many truths exist and we all have our version of what occurred. Who is to say what version is the “right one?” Maybe if we all adopted this mindset, we could understand each other a bit better and hold empathy for those we are in conflict with. 

The Morning Pages Journal

For those who are struggling with a creative block, try your hand at the Morning Pages Journal created by Julia Cameron. Coming from the book “The Artist’s Way,” this daily practice is described as “the bedrock tool of a creative recovery.” Essentially, every morning, you write 3-5 pages of your stream of consciousness. Literally just brain dump onto the page anything you are thinking – from what you want to eat to a fight you had with a friend 10 years ago. The idea is to get all of the noise out of your head because it will create room for your creative juices to flow. 

More tips on overcoming creative blocks

More things Becky did was be kind to herself, eat healthy, exercise, and go to galleries. She did the thing that made her happy. It is all about the accumulation factor – those small daily practices will eventually overcome whatever is creating the block. 

How to cope with toxic work environments 

As a documentary filmmaker, Becky is constantly around heavy stories and dark energy. To avoid absorbing that intensity, she is strict and clear with her boundaries. She makes sure to have holidays and weekends off and will end the night at a certain time. Of course there are the odd late night work calls, but overall, Becky limits her availability during her allocated breaks. We know that not everyone has this luxury, but try to implement those boundaries at your job. It can help prevent the negativity at work from seeping into your personal life. 

Invest in self-care

If you don’t start doing things for yourself, you will burn out. Becky needed to dip into her savings to give herself the break that she needed from work and while this can be scary, it is so worth it in the long run. If she burnt out, she wouldn’t be able to create and in turn, would lose out on work. If you don’t have the luxury to do this, allocate a portion of your day to doing something that fills your cup. Time is also an investment and the best investment you can make is in yourself. 

Make your life small

When Becky was burnt out after filming this documentary, she did less. She physically and mentally did not strain herself. We are always doing stuff and there is always something to do but when you are in those moments of extreme fatigue and exhaustion, stop and give yourself time to breathe. 


Listen to the full interview here:

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