To open this post, we need not speak about the difficulties of the last year, and just how life has changed. It’s a well-worn topic. However, it’s very true that the importance of self-care and the willingness to keep ourselves in check (and to check up on others) has never been so important. As such, figuring out a few methods for achieving exactly that is certainly worth our time. One method that is rarely spoken of when it comes to self care is that of practicing creativity.
Why is this? Well, sometimes, creativity can feel like work or practice. It’s not as if playing a piano is something we can all sit down and just learn by ear, it takes hard work and practice to get good before you can begin really flexing your creativity. The last thing you want to assign to someone having a stressful time is more work.
Or is that the case? Does creativity have to feel like work or could it feel like play? Perhaps it could be both. After all, most runners are all too familiar with the feeling we get when starting a run (feeling groggy, tired, irritable) and then how fun it gets once the endorphins are flowing and we feel like we could keep going for hours. Creativity can function in that way. It can also help us feel confident, relaxed, energized, inspired, productive, useful, and able to express ourselves. That has to be worth something quite important, to the point where we would totally recommend keeping on top of those considerations from now into the long term.
Let’s see what creative ambitions can fit within this worthwhile category:
People rarely feel that journaling is a creative hobby, but it truly is. Putting your thoughts, ideas, impressions, beliefs, or experiences down into written form can be very cathartic. Journaling can not only help you expel your ideas more readily, but it helps you understand exactly what you were thinking and why. This is doubled when you return to that which you’ve written and see just where you were at the time, and how you’ve grown. Giving yourself this kind of insight is not only a great practice for your mental health, but it can help you learn a new skill. Writing isn’t easy and it takes plenty of practice to get good at. A journal is a fantastic place to become more literate. It can also serve our next task:
People often think that creative writing needs to be strictly within a category. Either you’re writing poetry, a short story, a novel, or a travel log. That’s not true, of course. Writing is whatever you’d like it to be. Some of the best writing we have is when authors have the courage to break the rules, like the novel Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce, filled with difficult-to-decipher language that is both strange and very curated, almost poetic.
Creative writing helps us focus on our thoughts and what impressions we may wish to grant an audience, but it also helps us present a story line, write our thoughts for people to read, or perhaps veil our artistic insights in poetry or songwriting. Creative writing, like journaling, can be quite cathartic except the rules are much more open and freeing, giving you a sense of potential in every word you jot down. Why not try and write a page long stream of consciousness this week? It might inspire you to further expand your creativity.
Arts & Crafts:
Of course, many people prefer feeling like they have something tangible to offer, and arts and crafts can help us focus on actually making something rather than endlessly reflecting. That can be great to keep us focused and somewhat distracted, rather than ruminating on the tough times we’re going through.
For instance, you might find that putting together a wonderful mandala kit helps you create a beautiful decoration that you take pride in every time you see it. Arts and crafts can also serve a real purpose. You might use your seamstress skills to fix up some of your old clothes or reupholster your furniture by giving it a lick of paint and a varnish. Maybe you’ll just reclaim some wood and use a chisel and hammer to try your hand at amateur sculpture in your garage. Having a project like this on the go can feel very rewarding, as over time it takes form and you see your plans come to actual life.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, there’s a special Twitch channel playing Bob Ross episodes 24/7, showcasing how even amateurs can enjoy painting and get something from it if they try. Why not gather some paints and give it a shot? You could mess around with watercolors and have fun with your teenage child. You might decide to do a self-portrait, something fun and whimsical or perhaps as realistic as you can try to make it. You can also experiment with the surfaces you paint on if you like, such as painting a beautiful family mural in your kitchen or corridor wall with images of your loved ones.
Don’t discount painting just because you may not have had time to enjoy it before. The process can be highly rewarding if you give it time, piece by piece, with a little verve and care.
With this advice, we hope you can more easily see the benefit in trying a new creative passion, even if you’ve never touched that process before. These suggested activities are cheap, fun, and can sustain you during difficult times. Best of luck!
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