I try to be as honest and authentic as I can be here. Just enough, but not too much to be a totally downer all the time. Really, most of the time I love life and really am enjoying this season. But, it’s really far from perfect. I know I post pretty pictures of yummy drinks, flowers, and a clean house – but, that’s not always the case. I just don’t think folks want to see pictures of my cluttered bathroom counters and my unmade bed today. There’s nothing inspiring about that. Believe me, it sucks all the creativity out of me.
So, without sounding like someone who wants sympathy or attention, I just wanted to say that the last couple of weeks have been hard. I’ve felt drained, anxious, unmotivated and just blahhh about my job life in general. I share this here so that hopefully someone else doesn’t feel alone.
When you feel like this, creativity is GONE. I don’t know where it goes. I think I’m an idea person, I usually have a few good ideas brewing at anytime. But, lately I’m totally tapped out. I’m not one to wait for something to happen or change in my life. I’m a door knocker, I’m knocking on all the doors and hoping someone answers and says yes. Over the last couple of weeks, I’m trying a bunch of things to try to kick start my creative juices. So, I thought I’d share with you what is working. I’m not a self-help guru and definitely don’t have everything figured out. But, maybe some of these ideas will resonate with you and maybe help you out of a creative slump.
- Rest – this probably seems obvious. But, if you are a do-er and go-er like I am, rest can feel like a waste of valuable time. Listening to your body and taking a nap can actually be a good place to start. For me, I had no choice, I stopped for about 10 mins a Sunday afternoon a couple weeks ago and fell sound asleep for 4 hours. For someone who naps about once a year, this is a big deal. Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been conscience to go to bed at a reasonable time and try to give my body what it needs.
- Make Healthy Eating Choices – I consider myself a pretty healthy eater. We cook most of our meals at home and yes, I do bake treats, but actually I rarely eat any of it. But, when I feel burnt out though, I let me guard down and I don’t pay attention to the things I’m putting into my body. So, I’ve cut back the amount of coffee I drink and I’m trying to pack as many fruits and veggies into my meals as possible. Thinking about food more as fuel always helps me. Right now I’m in the middle of a Juice Cleanse. It may feel a little drastic, but I felt like I needed to hit restart and flush my body of toxins. Whether it’s taking a simple step like making an effort to drink more water or taking on something more intense like a Juice Cleanse, a change in nutrition can help boost creativity.
- Hunt for Inspiration – sometimes you have to seek out a creative spark. My spark was definitely gone, like a bucket of water had been dumped on it. I’m trying to make time to do the things I love, like walk through an antique mall or actually flip through the beautiful design magazines that sit on my coffee table but I never have time to read. I also have a trip to downtown LA in my sites. I need a little time in a big city from time to time. The energy of a city, the hustle and bustle, the people, the traffic, the food, the art, the mess – all help my mood. Sometimes life feelings to hectic or busy to make time for just being inspired. It can seem a frivolous, but usually stepping away can be really helpful.
- Clean and De-clutter – clean out your purse, your car, your closet. I always feel like my home is a refection of my state of mind and schedule. If it’s messy and cluttered, usually my life is too hectic and I’m feeling stressed out. So, this week I took a whole day to just clean and put away all the junk that collects around a house with 3 busy kids. Honestly, seeing a clean space can instantly give my mind room for creativity. The mess definitely hinders me taking on a new project or idea.
- Get Dressed – well, I do wear clothes everyday, but some days it’s just a tank top and some yoga pants. Getting dresses in something that makes you feel confident and pretty in can really change the way your day starts. For me, putting on mascara and some big earrings can boost my moral. Maybe a hair cut or getting your nails done can be a breath of fresh air.
- Exercise – This might be the most important one for me. I need to burn off all those endorphins. Ya, I’d like to be a little skinnier, but mostly I exercise for my mental health. For the last couple of months, I have been swimming laps at my local pool. An hour of swimming back and forth gives me a lot of time to think and process my day. I’ve rediscovered how much I love swimming. Being weightless and submerged in water has a restorative power. I’ve also been riding my bike a lot. I never regret a bike ride. A bike ride always takes me back to my childhood and simpler times.
- Make Something – even though your creativity might feel totally tapped out, sometimes the act of starting a project can spur on something new and interesting. For me taking my camera for a walk around my neighborhood can help. I use my camera almost daily for my job, but taking pictures of flowers that are in full bloom and just taking pictures for no purpose at all is fun. I also picked up my water color paints this last week and painted for 3 hours straight. And yesterday I decided I’d finally make the swings that I wanted on our porch. So, I headed to the hardware store with absolutely no plan at all. It was fun to make something with a little trial and error, not know if the outcome would be good or not.
- A Change of Scenery – today I’m writing this post from my favorite coffee shop. but, I also editing a big batch of pictures from my front porch this week as well. Often I get stuck at my kitchen table trying to work. But, from my kitchen table, I can see my basement, which is where my laundry room is, I can also see my kitchen sink and all the dishes that need to be done or the dinner that needs to be started. Finding a new location to work can really help eliminate distractions and give you fresh eyes for the task ahead.
- Do Something New – for me, this kind of long, wordy post is not my usual type of blog post. I tend to rely on pretty images for the foundation of my posts. So, I type this post with a little bit of fear of failure. But, it also feels good to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes you discover something that you are good at, sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that writing is something I’m good at, but a little exploration of something different can be refreshing.
- Get Outside – I’m an outdoors kind of girl, but I do believe there is some power in being in nature for everyone. If I can’t make it to the desert, beach or the mountains, a little time weeding in my yard can be really helpful. I walk is also always a good idea. Right now our river has a lot of water (which hasn’t had any water for 7 years), so even though it’s still in the middle of the city, it’s good to walk along the water and listen to birds and crickets. As a christian, nothing makes me feel more connected to my Creator then being in his handy work. It always brings me so much peace.
I hope this is helpful to someone out there. Obviously there are no perfect formulas or answers for getting out of a rut. But, my thought is that change isn’t going to happen unless you take the first step. So, I’m taking all kinds of steps forward and hoping that something works. Here’s to finding my creativity again.