I had one of those moments the other day – when you see the leaves falling from the trees or hear a child giggle – and it sparks a distinct memory from your past.
I remembered 3 years ago this month…I was going through one of the more stressful weeks in my life.
The project I had been hired on to design and build for 30,000 customers in my corporate job was one week away from launching. I wasn’t sleeping very well, waking up several times a night from anxiety dreams about things going wrong. Tim was also under a lot of stress at work – coming home exhausted and irritable. It took all I could muster to heat up leftover pizza and slap it on a plate for us to scarf down before face planting into bed each night.
During that same time, I was also running this site on the side and I had committed to myself to post 2 dabbles every week.
I am so glad I made that commitment, because it is ultimately what got me through that stressful time and transformed it into one of the most exciting times instead.
After a week of the pizza face plant routine, I dug in and re-committed to my practice of dabbling and posting them on my blog. I allocated a few hours in the evenings and weekends to play and see where my curiosity took me. And within a matter of days, where I once had tunnel vision morphed into 360 degree High Definition.
My morning headaches were gone.
My sleep improved.
My anxious, shallow breathing slowed and dropped back into my belly.
My chatter brain calmed and I was able to see the beauty of the present moment again.
My creative juices really started flowing again.
I was taking on more work, but at the same time getting more done. On top of that, what normally took me hours to complete was now only taking one-third of the time.
Life was still full, but I felt like I could manage it and was inspired to be more efficient and innovative.
I find it fascinating (and a little bit frustrating) that we, as ambitious women who are on a mission to have and do it all, forget how our own creative genius requires creative space in order to flourish. Combine that with our natural desire to give and nurture others, and our ability to manage our stress by giving ourselves space to be creative is all but lost.
Here’s the truth:
When you get back to creating with your hands, you can’t help but remember that you are a creative being – a creator. And that’s what helps you get out of your crazy, overwhelmed and anxious headspace and back into the wisdom of your body. You feel more empowered to take on life. You remember who you are and what your purpose is.
Creative space makes room for inspiration and productivity. A lesson I keep learning over and over again in this life.
So take those 10 minutes to lovingly arrange the fresh flowers you snagged at the farmer’s market. Pause for 5 minutes to bust out your meditative coloring book and colored pencils and get lost in the movement of your hands.
When you dabble in your own creative curiosity, you can more clearly see what really matters in this world. Things like drinking more water, connecting with girlfriends, getting good sleep, and logging off facebook to move your body more.
You come back into balance with what you need in order to better show up in the world. And when you have a clearer, holistic view of your life, the daily tasks and to-dos become much more manageable.
Are you feeling the stress and overwhelm of everything you need to accomplish right now?
Take a moment and schedule a Make Break into your calendar. A Make Break is simply sneaking in bite-sized creative dabbles into your day that add up to major transformation so you find clarity and inspiration in your life again (so much more effective than a coffee or smoke break, don’t you think?).
Start by scheduling just 15 minutes and do something small – take a walk around the block with the intention of seeing beauty, gather herbs to make a bath bouquet, lay on a patch of grass and look up at the sky in wonder, or craft up a cinnamon rose sugar body scrub (it’s amaze).
I talk more about the magic of the make break in this video.
A few minutes of indulging your creative curiosity is the secret standing between a total overwhelm meltdown and blissful deep breaths while you’re getting shit done.
Thanks for reading! This is the first post in a 4-part blog series on how creativity heals and inspires us busy, ambitious women.
You can read the second post here: The Reciprocity of Sisterhood & Creativity
You can read the third post here: The Secret to Feeling More Connected with Loved Ones
You can read the fourth post here: Making Peace with Enough