Does your day-to-day life make you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Do you have the desire to try something different but don’t want to change your whole life? Does the idea of learning something new fire you up?
Maybe a creativity infusion is what you need. Spending some time doing something creative is excellent emotional self care!
Why creativity is emotional self care
Many people think of creativity as child’s play. It’s something we did when we were younger, but now that we’re adults we don’t have time for such trivial activity. What we don’t realize is that there are a lot of benefits that we can reap if we stop being so serious and start having some fun.
Creative acts have benefits that are good for brain health and physical health. Creativity also helps us connect with who we are on a deeper level. Of course we can’t underestimate the value of doing something that is just plain fun! Even the New York Times sees the benefit of play for adults. In our busy lives, creativity and play brings balance we so desperately need.
Who among us doesn’t need more stress-busting, brain-boosting, physical-dexterity forming activity?
Getting started with creative self care
Increasing the amount of creative activity in your life often involves some creative thinking. Real factors like time and money are often what keep people from exercising their creative muscles.
But with a little self-assessment and a bit of planning, you can get your creative on like crazy!
There are three main questions to ask yourself as you start to think about your options:
- How much time do you have?
- How much money can you invest in your creative endeavors?
- What roadblocks are in your way?
Understanding what your limitations are from the start is important. It lets you know that you’ll be able to keep up with whatever creative endeavor you undertake.
Being realistic from the outset will increase your chances of following through. And it will keep it from being disappointed, too, if you try (and fail) at something that was never well-matched for you.
Give yourself a little time and space to reflect on what you really need and want from your emotional self care practice. Don’t choose something just because your best friend loves it. This time and activity is just for you! The Cleveland Clinic writes that self care isn’t selfish…but choosing how you nurture yourself should absolutely be up to you.
Choosing acts of creativity as self-care
As for WHAT creative endeavor to try, start with thinking about things you liked to do as a child. Maybe you could always be found with a pile of colored pencils around, drawing your world as you saw it. Or perhaps you were known as a fantastic storyteller, weaving tales to entertain friends and family. Or maybe you were the girl who loved pretend play.
(I was the latter. My whole childhood was made up of me being the teacher and my friends, brother, or stuffed animals being my students. Sometimes creativity and reality are tightly intertwined!)
You can also explore creative outlets that you wanted to do as a child but never could. Perhaps you dreamed of learning a musical instrument or taking dance lessons, but your family couldn’t afford it. Take a look at your budget and see if you can invest in yourself and learn something new.
Or maybe you grew up in a home that didn’t tolerate mess making. If you’re idea of getting creative involves lots of materials and a messy process, enjoy being in charge of your fate now! What would it feel like to have a rainbow of paint options and a blank canvas in front of you?
(Hot tip for you busy moms: Small canvases are perfect for naptime projects!)
Want to go big? Commit yourself to a monthly creative self care date with a subscription to Adults & Crafts. This curated monthly subscription box lets you spend a few hours working on fun craft projects– without the headache of finding all the materials yourself. It’s all the fun, delivered to your doorstep.
The Adults & Crafts Crate
There are so many great arts & crafts subscription boxes that will help you scratch your creative itch. Finding one just right for you will be half the fun.
Feel stressed for time? Good news!! Creative self care can be as simple as one-time acts that take mere seconds. Can you spread a little joy into the world (and fill your own heart at the same time) with what you see on your morning walk?
Can Self Care be Productive?
Are you the kind of person who is motivated by being productive? Do you feel like this idea of creativity as self care is just wasting time?
No judgement from me. I was right there with you, Sister!
When my kids were preschool-aged, I needed to feel like I was doing something productive. I had no way to prove that the minutes in my life were being spent doing meaningful things, as I didn’t have anything I could point to.
And that’s when I took up sewing. With a simple sewing machine and a basic serger, I taught myself how to sew. I lost myself in the joy of tracing patterns, choosing fabrics, and making my boys clothes that were infused with love. It was a creative outlet for me for sure, but I was thrilled with its practicality.
So if your emotional cup is best filled by feeling productive, there are plenty of ways to do that creatively. Maybe it’s printing out that photo book you’ve been meaning to do since last summer’s vacation. Or plan and plant a garden of cutting flowers you can arrange when they’re blooming and beautiful.
How creativity bolsters brain power
Especially for women in perimenopause and beyond, engaging in creative activities fires up the brain centers to keep memory fog at bay. Keeping your brain active and the passageways clear is essential for maintaining quality of life.
For most people, undertaking creative action– whether its writing or knitting or dancing– uses parts of the brain you don’t use in the rest of your daily life. By learning new things and asking your brain to work in unusual-to-you ways, you’re exercising your brain. Laying down new neural pathways is excellent preventative healthcare for your brain.
There’s also just plain JOY in escaping into creative action.
The joy that comes from creativity also reduces your stress levels. Lower stress has a cascade of positive benefits.
For the brain, lower stress means less risk of dementia. For the body, lower stress means less risk of high blood pressure, weight gain, and heart disease. Reducing stress is a great way to flatten out the peaks and valleys of the blood sugar rollercoaster that can alter your moods and energy levels.
Creativity as self care is a can’t-lose experience!
The Well Balanced Women blog is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please discuss your health issues with a licensed medical practitioner.