Stress…. Probably one of the world’s biggest enemies these days and definitely one of mine. When I started this blog I promised myself it would be 100% fun. However, like any project you decide to take seriously and put all your energy into, there has been times when it has not been easy to keep that promise. Everybody gets stressed from time to time and learning to deal with your stress is an important lesson to learn. Some of us figure it out pretty quickly, some of us learn the hard way. If you need a good reason to get your head around it, hear this : YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE AS CREATIVE AS YOU COULD BE IF YOU’RE TOO STRESSED.
Have you ever felt like you used to be creative but just don’t seem to be able to come up with good ideas any more ? Have you ever been unable to think up a nice personal gift or quirky card whereas you used to be so good at it ? Have you ever wondered where your passion for painting, drawing, sewing or cooking has gone ? If so, I bet you have a lot of other things on your mind.
ROUND 1 : CREATIVITY NEEDS SPACE TO GROW
Creativity can be needy. If you’re ready to give it full attention, you’ll get on fine. When you’re in good terms with your creative side, you may even perceive the world around you in a more arty way and are probably more open to new ideas. Those ideas will pop up day and night and you’ll be on a crafty role ! I find I’m more creative at the beginning of the week than at the end, for instance, probably because I’ve just had a relaxing week-end and am raring to go. I also find that when I go on holiday, I tend to switch off for the first few days and then all of a sudden, towards the end, I need to get writing all my new projects down because there are too many to remember ! When you’re in a relaxed state of mind, creativity can express itself fully and interact with you instead of feeling you’re too busy to pay any attention to it. However, if other feelings start to take over your brain power and you leave creativity to one side, it’s is not going to like it…
ROUND 2 : STRESS ATTACKS CREATIVITY, CREATIVITY GOES ON STRIKE
If your mind is full of other things – and remember they say that excitement and “good stress” is as bad as the rest – then you probably won’t be able to get the most out of yourself on the creative front. I have found my best ideas come about when I feel cool and confident. Other times when I’m feeling rushed or down, the ideas I come up with just don’t turn out as well. Maybe the idea isn’t that great in the first place or maybe I can’t carry it out as well as I could if was in a better place.
It can be difficult to avoid other things in your life which are taking up space in your head and stealing the lime light from more creative activities. Call it what you will : duty, responsibility, EVERYDAY LIFE – not to mention worry if you have more serious things on your plate. Even those of you who are talented enough to make a living from your creativity, I’m sure there are days you feel too preoccupied by other things to come up with new ideas or keep that project looking good. And it’s not just the fact you have other things on your mind. It’s the NEGATIVITY these other things are spreading inside your body and mind. When you get into a downwards spiral of vulnerability, you end up using the word CAN’T (and its friends) way too often… “Can’t do this”, “can’t do that”, “doesn’t look good”, “won’t look good” etc. Nothing’s going to turn out right if you don’t give it a chance ! And if you don’t sort out the real problem, no amount of begging is going to help : Inspiration disappears the more you go looking for it, like a distant dream you can’t quite grasp…
If however you recognize the stress that’s causing you to lose your inspiration, or USE that stress AS inspiration, you’ll find it a lot easier to help yourself.
ROUND 3 : CREATIVITY’S REVENGE
Getting rid of stress can be like untangling headphones… You can go for weeks on end without sorting it out because it seems like such a mess ! But when it’s done you feel so much better and inevitably think “it wasn’t that hard after all”. Sometimes all it needs is a pull on one end of the string and the knot’s undone.
So where to start ? Remember inspiration hits you when you least expect it (just like love!). So go out, see places, meet people. I know all this sounds typical but it works for me every time. I post quite a few creative projects each week on Clones ‘n’ Clowns so I’ve had to find ways to stop that “writer’s block”. If something’s in the way of creativity, I can’t just hang around until it decides to sort itself out. I have to sort myself out, let go of the negative energy and stimulate creativity. And I usually have to do all that in a couple of hours ^^ So I’ve found out what works for me, ways to destress and stimulate positive thoughts. And if you have problems getting ideas to flow, this is probably what you need to work at too.
In fact, one of the ways you might learn to release stress is BY BEING CREATIVE. A lot of artists work by series and a collection of projects may reflet a particular time in the artists life. This is probably because at that time in life they were FEELING a particular way and this feeling inspired their art. I recently witnessed a very talented friend paint a “break-up” painting. That girl was deeply upset and yet she didn’t stop creating. In fact she USED her upset TO CREATE. The painting may well have been pretty gloomy, but it was full of emotion and even helped her feel better. This is where creativity gets its own back on stress. So… if you find you’re not in the right state of mind to do something you had in mind or follow a project you planned, don’t sweat it ! Just try something else ! If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, you’re probably going to be better at baking the most chocolately cake in the world that painting pretty flowers ! Explore the millions of means creativity has to offer, but never let it get away. You can get crafty in so many ways, you can learn to express yourself whatever you’re going through. And you’ll soon find getting it out helps you move on, too.
CREATIVITY ALWAYS WINS.
Don’t you think ? Let me know your point of view… This is an open debate, we all go through different things, see things in a different light and sort ourselves out in our own ways – I’d love to hear about your experience and take on the subject of stress VS creativity.
Meanwhile, take care <3