I believe that creativity is an essential ingredient to any happiness recipe. When we are being creative we are expressing our unique inner self. The more we allow ourselves to be exactly who we are in any given moment the happier we will be. As we grow up we often learn to be what is expected of us rather than the person we really are. Creative pursuits can free us to express our inner self and can be a lot of fun!
When our energetic lives are stolen away from us, we can often feel as though we’ve lost contact with our inner sparkle, or lost our fizz. We can’t express ourselves in any of the ways we used to. Not being able to be the ‘me’ that we used to be can leave us feeling flat and lifeless. Introducing a little creativity into your daily (or at least weekly) routine can really help you feel as though you are still you despite this illness.
Creativity doesn’t have to take up much energy, if it takes effort it’s probably not a creative expression of the true you. Being truly creative is a process that flows with ease. In fact the danger is that is can be too easy, we can get immersed, lose track of time and find that we’ve been sitting in one position for far too long, our neck has seized up or a muscle in our arm etc. My tip to avoid this is to set an alarm for 10-30 minutes after you start any creative pursuit to make sure you have a break, move different muscles or rest.
If you’re really out of touch with your creative self and don’t know how to start, think back to the activities you enjoyed as a child. Did you love making models? Jump at any opportunity to bake a cake? Did you beg your parents for your first camera at an early age? Did you love to take things apart to find out how they worked? Did you love to write stories? Did you lose yourself when playing music? Colouring in? Painting? Can you remember the sort of things that would make you lose all track of time? How can you reintroduce these back into your life now? Remember any big task can be broken down into little stages and done little by little.
I was lucky enough to enjoy many creative pursuits as a child, story writing, model making, sewing, baking, photography. And all of these things are a part of my life today too. I usually write something every day, for either my book or this blog. Creative cooking has to be a part of my day with all my food intolerances but I’m lucky that I enjoy it as a channel for my creativity. Often when I go for a walk I take my camera. Looking for beautiful images to try and capture helps me keep focused in enjoying the here and now. It also helps keep my pace slow, you don’t see anything if you march (a good thing to remember on a good day when the urge to stride out can be very strong). At the moment my pet creative project is making felt purses for my female friend’s birthdays. I also love to make cards for any occasion. When making something it always involves several sittings, and I have help with cooking.
This week I had lots of fun at a friend’s house when we baked a (gluten free, sugar free) cake together. It involved me sitting at the kitchen table reading out the recipe, and doing small preparatory tasks with all the materials brought to me, and my friend doing all the physical stuff. Creativity can even be sociable!