Today I have the pleasure of featuring a post by the lovely Carrie Brummer. She’s a fellow creative and a lovely woman to talk to. Among other things, she hosts free workshops that you really should take part in. There’s more about her at the bottom of the post. Enjoy 🙂
So many obstacles can get in the way of our creativity but having time and making our creativity a priority are the worst offenders. Almost every single person that emails me in my community tells me it is hard to find or make time for their art. And that’s on a “normal” day. But we aren’t talking about a “normal” day in our lives today, we are talking about the holiday season.
Holidays are joyful times filled with family, laughter, activities, gift giving, and good food. They are also stressful times filled with family, expenses, dinners, parties, event planning, gifts, and even less time than we normally have for our day-to-day lives. Sometimes we just barely navigate the holiday season only to return to “normal” with a cold or flu. Sometimes we even feel a bit resentful about the physical and emotional expense of our efforts!
Creating boundaries and setting up expectations for ourselves and our family about our art can help keep the focus on joy, gratitude, and the special qualities of the holiday you celebrate. This means sitting down and taking stock of what you hope to achieve during the holiday season.
What is important for you to prioritize when it comes to family events as well as your own health and happiness? Get out that journal and let’s reflect: how do we make time for ourselves and our art?
Don’t plan any big projects for the end of November and all of December. You have enough cookies to bake and turkey dinners to make. You’ll only set yourself up to feel stressed out and ultimately defeated when you run out of time to meet your goal.
Play small. Do you have a small sketchbook where you could doodle for 15 minutes? (Be sure to set a timer to get in that full 15.) What about a go-to colouring book? Plan an easy and fun creative interest but on an achievable scale.
Include family and the holidays as part of your creativity. Make snowflakes together to decorate your home. Build a gingerbread house. What can you do that’s about making with your loved ones that ties into the specifics of your holiday traditions?
Rather than buying gifts this year, what about making something or doing something together? Go as a family to an art class. Built a giant snow fort in your backyard. Create and decorate handmade cards for exchange. Make ornaments. Decorate a gratitude jar. You are only limited by your imagination.
What is one activity you absolutely love and can’t live without this season? Where can you find 15 minutes to dedicate to that activity?
Be extra kind to yourself. As much as we all can love our family, the visiting, etc. our normal routine is thrown off. Be patient with yourself. Be kind. Be forgiving: if a break from your creativity is a must, it will be there for you when you need it.
We can’t avoid the stress of the holidays, but we can make choices to take care of ourselves during this stressful, busy and joyous time. Making room for our art, even just 15 minutes a day, could be the difference between a holiday where you are present and engaged with your loved ones and a holiday where you are resentful of time lost and feel distant to those you love. If anything, our art is most important when we are too busy and stressed to find time for our creativity.
Give your family this season the gift of a present, mindful, connected you.
When I was 18 and again when I was in my mid-twenties I had some pretty scary health stuff happen. In fact, each time, I was told I could die. Hearing words like that change the way you see the world. And it has impacted every future decision I have made.
One of those decisions is to fully embrace my creative interests. When people read or talk about the regrets of the dying, it’s never to work more… it’s to travel, to write the novel they always wanted to… and a myriad of other “doing” activities. Yet, I have friends who have told me they daydream about walking into oncoming traffic on the way home from their jobs because they are THAT stressed. Our lives are just plain short. We don’t know when our time is up: it’s time to do something about it.
I want to reach as many people as I possibly can with my mission. People shouldn’t wait until bad things happen in their lives to make changes to do the things they love. And I want to stand on soap boxes, send newsletters, host workshops, you name it, to help people access and develop their creative dreams. This is why I’ve created Artist Strong.
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