Life throws us loops all the time that tip us off balance. You may think you have our day planned out, but then the unexpected happens. A last minute school event is either planned or cancelled. Dinner isn’t going to happen because the fish you took out turns out to be freezer burned. Someone called and suddenly your dogs grooming appointment is a now or not for another two weeks kind of emergency. Things happen. Life happens. Schedules are upended and you’re left with either no time or extra time. The question becomes how to deal with it. Usually we decide to fill it with more have to’s. But what if we opted for some soul care? Do you consider that a need to? Here are some ideas for how you can practice creative self care.
How do you choose to use your time?
My son has tennis lessons several days a week in the summer. He enjoys it, and I love that he’s outside participating in something active. But the reason I REALLY love it is that it gives me a little free time. It’s a pocket of time that isn’t long enough for me to run home and do something. The courts are right off a bike trail that winds along a lake and leads right into the cutest little town. So often I’ll hop on my bike as soon as my son runs off towards the courts. A mom friend does the same and she and I ride the trail together.
This week her son couldn’t make it on Tuesday and I didn’t have my bike, so I had an unexpected pocket of time. It would have been an opportunity to get groceries, but instead I chose to go into town and draw by the water. I know that creating fills my soul and it makes me feel content, and rested. But usually I would have still chosen the errands. Too often I place more value on checking off my to-do boxes then I do on self care.
Unexpected Opportunities to Create.
Maybe you feel the same. If you had the same pocket of unexpected time, what would you do? Would you look at your watch and mentally assess how long it would take to get groceries and get back? When my son started school for the first time I remember being a little in awe of that 3 hour window of time I now had. The possibilities seemed endless. But the reality was anything but. At drop off the other moms and I would break like a set of billiards balls on a pool table. Each rushing to their own cars so we could get x, y, z done before pick up time.
In my post, 3 Tips for Help You Be Creative Every Day I spoke about using the margins in our day to create. If we wait for large blocks of free time to create in then we too often don’t create at all. Finding small pockets of time, choosing to step away from the to-do list, and using them to create is key. But with all the pressure we experience it’s far from an easy choice.
How to Practice Creative Self Care.
Last week I wrote about JOMO in my newsletter, and it’s still a little on my mind. JOMO stands for the Joy Of Missing Out. And according to an article I read by Jess Cordin in Forbes, JOMO may be the new “self-care”. It’s all about making intentional choices to say “no” to some things so you can say “yes” to something else more meaningful. Like saying “no” to a night out with friends, so that you can say “yes” to a night in crafting a poem.
Choose with Intention.
The benefits to intentionally making a choice like this is that you aren’t just rushing to get one more thing checked off your list, you are purposefully weighing both the opportunity costs and the potential gain. But you still need to consciously put value on the time you spend resting, relaxing, or recharging. Spending time creating can simultaneously calm us while it charges us. It’s time wisely spent.
As I was sitting by the water’s edge drawing this week, listening to the water lap against the shore, I looked at all the people around me who had been drawn to that same place. One man was taking a business call while standing under a tree. There was an empty stroller near the picnic table I sat at, with a small family playing frisbee near by. A group that looked like office friends on lunch break were meandering down the shore with ice cream cones. We were all drawn to the park near the water. It rests us. And a verse from Psalms 23 came to mind. “He leads me besides still waters, he restores my soul.” Self care should be soul care.
Self Care as Soul Care.
Where could you go this week that would restore your soul? Would you place value on that time and try a little JOMO if necessary? As a reminder (and a free gift!) I have an SVG and PDF file of that verse in my Creativity Resource Library. I’ll also post a free downloadable link to the drawing I did as I sat by the water’s edge. It’s “just a sketch” and a little hard for me to put it out there, but I promised I would give whatever I could to encourage and inspire you. So you can find that under the downloadable art section.
Preparing Yourself Mentally.
Preparing for the unexpected, even if it’s just an unexpected pocket of time is key. If you find your mindset needs a perspective shift then there are a few things you proactively choose to do. Writing down your intentions, finding an accountability partner who can remind you of your priorities, or lifting it for prayerful surrender, are all things that can help you shift your perspective on what’s a valuable use of your time. Be clear with yourself about the benefits you feel when you take some time to create with. For a visual reminder you can also print out and tape up the freebies from this post, or make a wallpaper for your phone out of the sketch I did down by the lake.
For more inspiration…
Need a little more inspiration for some creative self care? Why not check out my Bible Art Journaling series as well. Creating in your Bible is a great restorative mindfulness activity that helps you to sit and be till while you meditate on scripture.