When our lives get full and ours heads get fuller, self care can sometimes take a back seat. One of the biggest hurdles for us and our creative mojo is balancing our play time with our work life(as it is for so many others). When we reach that point where there is an imbalance in our lives, the thought of doing something for ourselves can feel overwhelming. It is that feeling of overwhelm however that is our saving grace, it is that that tells us we need to look at what we need to adjust to get out lives back in balance.
In those times, the thought of painting or enjoying a spot of creativity can seem like the last thing we want to do; we have no ideas, no motivation. So how do we overcome that? Here are a few things we do to try to reduce a busy mind, increase our energy and get us one step closer to getting back to painting.
Years ago, we came across the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. In it, she talks of the benefits of writing morning pages. These are pages in which we record all the thoughts that enter our mind on three pages. During this process, there is no judgement of what comes out, no second guessing or over thinking. It is a method of clearing our mind so we can be present for the day ahead.
While Julia Cameron talks of continuous writing, there is no right or wrong way to release your thoughts. You may find that your thoughts take the form of your 'to do' list for the day or memories of last night’s dreams. The important thing is not the content, but the fact that you are releasing these thoughts that are clogging up your mind.
Especially during lockdown when we haven’t been going out so much, being cut off from family and friends has had an impact. When our mood is low, we do something to get our bodies moving. Whether it is biking, walking, yoga or dancing, moving our bodies give us a lift and increase our energy. It doesn’t have to be an hour long workout, just a quick walk can shake up our bodies, mind and mood for the better.
We say ‘just sitting’ but it is so much more than that. Giving ourselves permission to just sit and breathe is a big step when our busy minds want to tell us that we have so many more things we should be doing. When we feel like painting requires too much energy, we make a point of just coming and sitting in our creative space (or any favourite space) to recharge our batteries. Sometimes we may only sit for 5 minutes, sometimes longer, just trying to stay in the moment, maybe spending a bit of time taking in our surroundings or looking out of the window.
Tidying Our Creative Space
We don’t know about you but when we have had a good painting session, our space is no longer as tidy as it was. One thing we enjoy doing when we don’t feel like painting is just enjoying the space and taking care of it. Being in our painting room, tidying it up is a great way to ease our way into our creativity, because as we put away our paints and as we tidy away our projects, ideas may float through our thoughts. We might start picking out the next colours we want to paint with when we are ready or feel motivated when we see progress in the practice sheets we are putting away. Just being surrounded by our creativity and our tools inspires us somehow and gets us one step closer to feeling like we want to create… and when we are ready, there’s a beautiful clean and tidy space ready to welcome us.
"Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity - Ray Bradbury
Sometimes we look at our space and think that the last thing we want to do is create. We feel exhausted, fidgety and unfocused. At times, our mind is clever at keeping us away from the things that will help us to feel better. So sometimes, we make a point of sitting down at our desk and just start painting - even if it is only for a couple of minutes. In those times we find that two minutes turn into ten and ten minutes turn in to an hour, because our mood starts to lift and our mind starts to quieten, we then get ‘in the zone’. When we finish, we realise that painting was just what we needed we were stuck in our negative emotions.
Whether you choose to nurture that creative spark when it feels like its dying out or you take a step away from your creative space completely while your mojo is low, it is ok. There is no right or wrong way to navigate through these quiet periods and you are not alone. We haven’t met anyone yet who is bursting with creative energy and ideas 100% of the time. In those times when we have lost our mojo, we have to take care of ourselves in whatever way feels right and wait patiently. These aren’t magical cures to bring back your spark, but they are a step in the right direction for us, we hope they help and inspire you too.