The holidays are stressful; no surprise there. Everyone has a lot going on, and, in general, there are a lot of expectations all around. I try to take James Clear’s advice and think carefully about what it means to say “yes” to something. I am a natural introvert, so I need to build downtime into my schedule. That being said, I’m not much for tv or passive entertainment, so I add in creative activities that I know will make me happy. That and exercise, because moving is the only way I can truly make it through the holidays in one piece!
My creativity isn’t all painting, although my watercolors are always within an arm’s reach. This past weekend I opted to paint instead of tackling my to-do list. Painting was just what I needed. I felt refreshed and enjoyed the rest of my day more thoroughly. Here are some of the other creative activities I’m doing this month to keep my balance as I navigate the holidays.
Making A Video. It is a super-secret project, and I’m excited to do it!
Baking A Cake (or 3) Birthdays and holiday dinners mean baking. I LOVE to bake. Just give me a reason!
Cooking: Soups, Dinners, and more. We eat at home almost all of the time, and we cook everything. We read cookbooks and find new things that we want to try. It’s always an exercise in creativity!
Practicing Hand Lettering. Getting better at lettering is always on my list and in the corners of my sketchbooks. I finally printed out the practice sheets and intend to make the TV hours more productive with actual lettering exercises.
Embroidery. I love it so much! It’s such a satisfying pass time. I almost always do this in the evening when I’m sitting with the kids while they do their homework (I’m there for help but not focused on them. It works!) I have several samplers left to finish, but I’m thinking of transferring one of my drawings to some linen and having my own freestyle fun. No pressure!
What can you build into your schedule that brings you a small amount of joy? Try to sprinkle in an activity every few days. Creativity begets creativity! Going down a rabbit hole can be easy, but try to set a timer or keep a deliberate end time. Sometimes (a lot!) I bring my sketchbook to the car line and draw while waiting for my kids to end the day. (No cell phone reception in my daughter’s car line, and you have to get there early! Forced creativity!) Sometimes I wait for 45 minutes, so drawing is a gift for me, and I look forward to the time. When she arrives, the sketchbook closes, and off we go.
I have had to be deliberate about carving out time for my creativity. While my work is creative, there is so much more to it. Think admin, deadlines, marketing (blog posts!), not to mention the all-important sales. Work doesn’t count. I love it, but I need other outlets to fuel my soul. I wrote about that in my post on Creative Diversions. Check that out too! I think it’s crucial to exercise your creativity during the busy seasons of life. I often get too many ideas and have things I want to try out RIGHT NOW (work on my Airtable bases, revamp my website, you name it). I have a specific place where I keep a list of things best left until January and February, which are typically more quiet months.
What are you going to enjoy this month? I hope you’ll share! It’s worth the time you give yourself to explore creatively. When the dust settles and you crack open your new calendar amidst the January snowfall, you’ll be brimming with creativity instead of trying to figure out where to start. Win!