Making Time for Creativity
We are all so busy these days. We pop out of bed in the morning, and rush, rush, rush through our days. Are we actually busier than previous generations, or has our generation made busy-ness a badge of honor? I'm not entirely sure, but one thing I'm certain of, is that there are many more things competing for our attention these days. We are now "on" all day long, weekends and evenings. How many times have you sat down with your phone for "just a minute" and gotten lost down the rabbit hole for an hour? I think we all need this mental downtime, but why not use it for something creative? If you do, I am sure you will be glad you did.
I see a flourishing of arts and crafts happening all around me. Knitting and crochet were in the limelight a few years ago, and now I see a resurgence in sewing as a hobby. Coloring books for adults and "wine and paint" classes are popping up everywhere you look. Its no surprise to me, that in our stressed out, 24/7 society, that people are looking for ways to slow down and create. Creativity taps into a place of calm and focus that is missing in so much of our lives these days.
Creativity has been proven to reduce stress. When you are focused on a project, whether its drawing, writing, playing music, or knitting, your mind becomes focused and begins to relax. Maya Angelou once said "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." In my life, I have found this to be absolutely, 100% true. This Huffington Post article by Priscilla Frank says being creative will be helpful even if you are not particularly good at your chosen creative endeavor.
It doesn't take much time to add creativity into your life. Just a few minutes a day can help take the stress level down a bit. Here are some ways I have made space for creative projects.
Doodling - Doodles are a great low key way to get the creative juices flowing. I always keep a small sketchbook and case full of fun pens nearby. When I find myself with a few minutes, instead of checking out social media, I pull out my sketchbook and doodle a bit. I don't even worry about filling the whole page in one sitting. I just pick up wherever I left off from the last time. Its a great way to quiet your mind, and when you are done with a page, you can make copies of it to use in collage or mixed media projects. If you don't believe me about the power of a doodle, watch this TED talk by Sunni Brown about why doodling can help you understand and process information.
Instead of hitting the snooze button, actually get up when the alarm goes off and write in a journal or do a little sketch. A few years ago, I did this to work my way halfway through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. It was a great experience, but as it turned out, all that writing longhand in the morning aggravated issues I was having with my wrists, so I had to abandon it part way through. I plan to get back to it eventually, and maybe dictate my thoughts instead of writing them out. Or I will draw and paint my responses in an art journal I made a few weeks ago. Fifteen minutes a day does not sound like a lot, but bit by bit it adds up.
If you have kids, try making up stories with them. After our bedtime reading, my younger son used to ask for another story. He would tell me the characters he wanted in his story, (usually it was our cat) and we would make up a story about an adventure. They always began with things we had done during our day, but then they went off into the world of imagination and became fantasies. If you don't have kids, you can make up stories about people you see during your day. Is that man in the waiting room a spy? Or a chef about to become a celebrity on Food Network? Next time you find yourself waiting in a long line, instead of burying yourself in your phone, look around and see if you can find a story waiting there for you.
You can make an arrangement of small objects, flower petals or a collection you have and photograph them. Try making a photo with 8 blue objects in your home, or a collection of things that remind you of your grandmother. The theme of your photo isn't as important as stretching your mind into finding the objects and arranging them.
There are so many ways to bring creativity into your life. These are just a few ideas to get you started. What will you do to make time for creativity? I'd love to hear about it - I always love to try new things!