I have to say, taking some time off was just what I needed. The past few weeks I have spread out over family time, home projects and art projects. It felt pretty nice to take a break and rethink everything I’m doing.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned switching Firestarter Fridays to once a month instead of trying to crank out content for every single Friday. Today is the perfect opportunity to start that. Since the topic is fresh in my mind, I wanted to talk about the importance of taking breaks in your creative processes. Over the past week and a half, I did creative things, but I wasn’t operating on any sort of time frame. Doing that was a good change of pace because instead of being under the pressure of deadlines, I was creating just because I could. Don’t misunderstand – deadlines can be a good thing. But the release from pressure can be a good think as well.
If, like me, you have a hard time slowing down, start small. You don’t have to take a month off, or even go on a real vacation to get some valuable relaxation in. Do something as simple as ignoring chores for a day so you go for a walk. If you work and stay home a lot, see if you can’t take an afternoon off to take a new class at your community center.
Don’t beat yourself up and think that you’re being lazy or selfish. Many adults are really good at tricking themselves into thinking that every single thing they take care of every day is “essential”. This is especially true when it comes to creative pursuits and so many outside influences tell us our hobbies aren’t productive or important. But they are. As long as you are taking care of the true needs in your life and the lives of those you are responsible for, taking some time to breathe and reassess is just as important as taking the trash out. You won’t die wishing you did more dishes, but you may be asking for one more hour to do what you love.
This morning I woke up to one of the heaviest fogs I have ever seen. I didn’t have to go to work until later than my usual time, so I was able to drive around and take a few pictures. Parking the car to wander and listen to the river made for a great start to the day. Managing to eat a real breakfast and get some painting done before heading to the office probably helped as well.
In October, I will also be trying something new. The local community education office is offering a class in floor cloth painting. I went back and forth about signing up, but I finally went for it. Now I am really excited for it, especially since acrylic paints went on sale at Michaels. Now I just need to wait…and sketch out ideas.
Take a break and think of what you value in creating. Do you love cooking good food and sharing with friends? Do you love making jewelry and seeing others wear it? Whatever you love, taking breaks to think helps you maintain focus on your goals. So while energy and focus on your goals is a great thing, don’t forget to breathe.