I struggle sometimes with creative self-care. Funny, isn’t it? Here I am, writing a blog about living a lifestyle of creativity, and my greatest struggle is taking of my own creative needs. I create often - blog posts, dance practice, art pieces, the list goes on - but I find myself at a loss when it comes to “taking time out” for my creativity. I know the answer to my own issue: take more Creative Recharges! Make time for your own creativity! Do things that make you feel revived!
Yeah, I’ll get right on that. . .
Creative Recharges and taking time for creativity are great ideas, and it’s good to practice them as much as you can. But what do you do when I can’t take an hour or more out for just me? How do you squeeze creative self-care into a schedule that already feels like it’s bursting at the seams? When it comes to creative self-care, a little can go a long way. Sometimes, just altering small parts of your daily routine in favor of your creativity can do wonders for your well-being. Think of them as micro-recharges for your creativity. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned to add these micro moments to my daily life:
1. Time Units
In the movie About A Boy, Hugh Grant’s character dispenses some wisdom about time management. He says to think of time as “units”, each lasting about 30 minutes. Instead of measuring time in overwhelming hours, little units let you fill up the day without even trying. This is a great way look at creative re-charge moments. Carve out short but meaningful time “units” in which to do something that refreshes your creativity.
Personally, I try to plan my morning routine with about 20 minutes of time to journal and reflect before starting my day. This time focuses my attention on something more meaningful that what I’m going to wear or why my hair is sticking up in a million directions. It helps me get settled, so I start the day in a more balanced, ordered mindset
2. Organize Yourself!
I know the idea of organization flies in the face of most people’s assumptions about artists and creativity, but I promise you that even a little organization will go a long way toward recharging your creativity batteries. Creative recharges work best if you’re relaxed inside, and it hard to be relaxed if you’re in a mad dash because you don’t have what you need. This is especially important if you want to practice the Time Units methodology. Disorganization breeds wasted time, and wasted time is the great nemesis of creative recharges.
Now, organizing doesn’t mean you need to bust out your label maker, or turn into Monica Geller. This can be as simple as picking out your outfit or prepping your lunch the night before, so you’re not rushed while you get ready in the morning (I swear by this method, BTW. It saves many sanity almost daily). Maybe it means making your bed so you that you have a quiet place to retreat to when you want it. Your goal is to create a chaos-free haven that lets your creativity breathe a little freer.
3. Set a Creative Atmosphere
No matter what I’m doing, I like to cultivate a creative atmosphere around me. Obviously, there are a lot of things in my daily atmospheres that I can’t control. For example, I can’t control that I work in a furniture showroom with lots of people moving around me at all times. I can, however, what music I listen to while I work (thank heavens for small favors, right?). So I make a point of playing music that stimulates my creativity whenever possible. My tastes are pretty eclectic, so the soundtrack can range from Vivaldi to Backstreet Boys to Prince Royce. . .in one day.
Of course, you don’t only have to use music. Any sensory element - from color to sound to even scent - can help enhance your creative experience. The key here is that you use whatever piece of your space that you can control to create an atmosphere that stimulates your creativity and shields your senses from the things that would distract or disrupt it.
4. Look for Wonder
This is an important key to Creative Recharges of any length or format. Wonder is elemental to creativity; it’s what makes us say “what if?” and stirs us to imagine things beyond the bounds of our immediate experience. Cultivating a sense of wonder in everyday life helps keep your imagination flexible and ready for use.
Try this wonder exercise: during your daily commute, play a sort of Creative I Spy with yourself. Look around you in search of something grand, something startling, something frisky, or something elegant (or something else, any positive adjective will do). When you find something that strikes your fancy, run with it! Ask yourself, what’s it’s story? Where has it been? What could it become? What would it be like if it were 50 ft tall? The idea is really see the world around you in all it’s mysterious, delightful potential.
Now, here’s the real challenge. Choose one (or more) of these Creative Micro-Recharge options, and try it out this week. Adapt it for your life as needed, but do your best to work it in. Then, comment below - or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram - and tell us what it was like. Did it help? How did it affect your creativity? What other Micro-Recharge ideas can you dream up? I’d love to hear from you!
Sarah is the co-founder of Bright Ideas, a designer by trade, and an artist by passionate choice. She was born and raised in South, and delights in sharing Southern culture with anyone who cares to learn. Sarah collects creative hobbies; when she isn’t making art, you can usually find her on the dance floor. Follow her creative adventures on Instagram and Twitter!