Simple Ways To Practice Creative Self-Care
Certified Creativity Coach Jill Allison Bryan has spent the last decade helping people learn and practice simple ways to improve their lives by spending more time enjoying their creative projects, passions and pursuits. The founder of Creative Oasis Coaching, Bryan has experienced firsthand the positive benefits of embracing her own creative life and witnessed positive transformations in the lives of her clients.
“We live in stressful times,” says Bryan. “We’re constantly connected to our phones, tablets and computers. We’re barraged with an onslaught of breaking news and information nearly 24 hours a day. We’re made to feel that we should be available in an instant to almost everyone we know. Between all of this and the daily responsibilities of our families, jobs and homes, it’s easy to let ‘me’ time slip to the bottom of our never ending to-do lists, and that’s a big mistake.”
She notes, “Engaging in creative endeavors that deliver us into that wonderful feeling of being in the fl ow offer a multitude of benefits for our emotional and physical health. It can quiet the mind and bring us a sense of peace. Alternately it can energize and enliven us. It can help us to develop new neural pathways and even lower our blood pressure. Last but not least, nurturing our creative spirit brings more joy and satisfaction to our lives.”
Five Simple Ways to Practice Creative Self-Care
Creative Self-Care 1. Make a creative wish list: Start by making a list of all the creative experiences that sound appealing. These could be activities you’ve enjoyed in the past and would like to revisit, or something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t yet.
Enjoying a creative experience doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to “make” or “produce” something. In addition to typically creative pursuits such as writing, painting, taking photographs or making music, we can also choose to simply enjoy the creativity of others. Visiting a museum or art gallery, listening to live music, attending a play or even reading a book are all wonderful ways to nurture our creative spirit.
2. Lower expectations: Perfectionism often holds us back from trying our hand at creative endeavors. When we worry about whether or not we have a certain talent or skill, we may not give ourselves the chance to even try new experiences.
One fun way to move past perfectionism is to set the bar so low that it becomes easily doable, if not laughably doable. For example: I get to write the world’s worst poem. I get to paint a picture on the level of a kindergartner. I get to whip up a just so-so soufflé.
By lowering our expectations, we also lower the worry that we’re “doing it wrong” and give ourselves the opportunity to try things just for the fun of it.
3. Allow permission to play: Children don’t question their talent or ability to create. They simply play and have fun. From finger-painting to making up songs and dances or putting on shows for an audience of stuffed animals, children dive into creative expression in a beautiful, lighthearted way.
As adults, when we allow ourselves to tap into the free spirit of our inner child, creative blocks melt and allow pure expressive joy and delight. Think back to something you loved to do as a child then ask yourself how you might experience it (or its essence) today.
4. Take small steps: Feeling overwhelmed can also stop us from pursuing our creative projects. By breaking things down into super-small, doable steps, we make it easier to get started and keep going.
By writing for just 15 minutes three or four times a week, we could easily write more than 300 pages in a year. That’s enough to complete an entire fi rst draft. Small steps are powerful and productive because 15-minute chunks of time several times a week are much easier to get to on a consistent basis than one or two hours every single day. In the end, much greater progress and creative satisfaction can be enjoyed using small steps.
5. Follow your curiosity: Even if you don’t believe you have a great creative talent or passion, you can always follow your curiosity. Plan a fi eld trip to the arboretum or the plant sheds at the farmers’ market. Join a class on flower arranging. Take photos of flowers during your morning walk. Play with doodling flowers or in a coloring book filled with flower designs. List as many ideas as you can think of that would be fun to try inspired by your love of flowers and then follow your creative curiosity to see where it leads.
When we start to see that we can manifest creative expression in all areas of our life, creative self-care becomes second nature and the benefits multiply quickly.
For more information about Bryan and local Creative Oasis workshops, coloring parties and coaching, visit CreativeOasisCoaching.com.