Let's not forget when reading today - I am not an expert... but I am the expert in my own life. Therefore, anything you read here is what I like to call, "subjectively useful information." This same statement holds true for my Instagram. These things I write or share just simply work for me. I hope some of these tricks work for you as well, but they may not; and this is okay.
Human beings are complex and creative. We are not meant to simply survive in our day-to-day lives, although the struggle that is life often does keep us in survival mode - especially when it comes to making ends meet, our time, and ours and our family's physiological needs. Sadly, unless you win the lottery, those stressors are not going anywhere anytime soon. However, this does not mean we have to give up on prioritizing our mental and physical selves amidst our day to day lives.
There are many ways to pursue stress management, some healthy and some not. If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you probably know that my previous stress management tools were unhealthy - this is why I feel justified in sharing some new stress management tools in regard to creative outlets today. Creative outlets as a stress management tool are great for those of us with busy schedules because they can sometimes be squeezed in to short periods of time, and they also help us to get shit done.
As someone who comes from a world of being tied to a desk, creating and looking over spreadsheets, emailing, and taking little to no time for myself, I had a really hard time believing that I was even creative at all. I had no creative outlets. In school, I struggled with art. I did not have that touch when it came to creating. I wrote it off as something that I was not - I was not creative.
This is untrue.
It turns out that I am just terrible at shaping clay. I am not great at drawing anything other than a flower, and I hate working with plaster. I really thought this meant I did not have a creative bone in my body and therefore I should not be creating anything. And not to pop off about the education system here - but why am I being graded as a 15 year old as anything other than pass/fail in art class? But I digress...
We are all creative and we do ourselves a disservice to deny these creative outlets. To double down on that - we sometimes forget what creativity really means to us. This has become a huge part of what I empower clients to identify in themselves when working towards stress management. What do you think of when you hear the word creativity? What are your creative outlets? You don't know? Well then... tell me what gives you that tingly, excited, inspired feeling. Nothing? Even better! Because now we get to figure it out.
Here are some things that give me that tingly, excited, inspired feeling; and they have nothing to do with pottery, plaster, or drawing:
Reorganizing: Physically moving furniture around. Re-purposing décor from one room by moving it to another and making it feel new. Making a visual change to home. My grandma is going to read this and relate.
IKEA: Piggybacking off of that - I love walking through the IKEA showrooms for inspiration. The fact that no IKEA exists within the state of Oklahoma is a valid reason to never live here.
Writing: I write this blog. I brain dump. I make lists. I get excited to physically write things in my "Brainstorm Book." I just love it.
Reading: Specifically fantasy and sci-fi. I forgot how much I loved reading, I have been pampered with tv shows for far too long. Reading outside while listening to nature - *chef's kiss.* All my close friends know how obsessed I have become with the Sarah J. Maas Multiverse since my friend introduced me to A Court of Thorns and Roses - but if I had to recommend anything, please read her Throne of Glass series.
Painting: You may really enjoy just free painting on some canvas, but for me, I really have come to enjoy painting walls. Choosing what color I want knowing it will influence my mood when I walk in the room - then the satisfaction of removing the tape after the painting is done. OMG. My brain loves it. I will say - I have not done a paint and sip class in a minute, but because I get a lot of satisfaction from following directions, I typically really enjoy those too, and I have always left feeling inspired.
Capturing Photos: Taking photos of nature has been such a huge creative outlet for me this year. Nothing fancy, just some water, maybe some flowers here and there; a hummingbird every now and then. I love posting things like this on my Instagram to go back through and admire again. Colorful things always bring me joy.
Cooking: Throwing together some ingredients and winging it. Accepting that it may not always be great but it will, at bare minimum, be edible. This mindset allows me to get creative with different herbs and spices, and the trial and error process really motivates me along the way.
Decorating my fish tank: Somehow, this is just a very exciting thing to do.
Music: Music is creativity. Whether you create it or you listen to it, it speaks to your inner creator in some way. People who read this blog know that I enjoy my film score and video game playlists when I need to get inspiration.
Coloring: Adult coloring books exist for a reason.
When it comes to creative outlets and hobbies, there really are no limits. If what you are doing gives you that energized tingling, and you feel that inspiration stirring - that is your outlet. This feeling I describe inspires motivation, it energizes us to get shit done. It is like recharging your batteries. This is why it is an imperative part of your stress management regime - it contributes to your joy and brings you back to the present moment.
Maybe you enjoy doing something with your hands - like when was the last time you picked up some Play-Doh?! Maybe building with Legos is inspirational for you and taps into your inner child. Maybe you like puzzles, or Zen Gardens. Maybe you are the person who throws darts at paint balloons on the wall like Mia Thermopolis's mom!
Regardless of what it is that you love, one thing is certain - if you do not know what your creative outlets are, figuring them out is so much fun... for me and for you. Tapping into the inner child and just simply playing is so much fun. And if you do know what they are but are not sure how to create more time for them...