My word for 2022 is creativity.
On New Year’s Day, I led my family through an intention-setting practice for the New Year. Through the exercises, I discovered I am craving creativity. It was divine timing when Eve Rodsky’s follow-up to Fair Play, Find Your Unicorn Space, arrived at my doorstep around this time.
As I read through Unicorn Space, I learned from Rodsky all the benefits of creativity. I discovered having creative pursuits is likely the antidote to the extreme burnout we have all been battling.
The book explains creative outlets that align with your values contribute to an upward spiral of positive emotions, psychological well-being, and feelings of flourishing in life.
Creativity is not optional or nice to have; it is essential and fundamental to your physical, emotional, and mental health as a whole person. Especially in these “unprecedented” times, having an outlet that is not work, caretaking, or the grind of adulting can be the key to becoming more engaged in your own life beyond who you are as a professional, parent, or partner.
Let me give you some examples of what creative time is not:
Watching Netflix while also scrolling mindlessly through your phone (that’s decompressing)
Having dinner with friends (that’s intimate relationships)
Taking a relaxing bubble bath (that’s self-care)
These are all important, but they are not creative time.
Making Time for Creativity
One of the most challenging aspects of bringing more creativity into your life is making the time. This is where people get stuck because they are already overwhelmed with everything they have going on in their lives. Adding one more thing seems daunting.
Time excuses take over: “I have less time than I’ve ever had, I can’t possibly make more time for something like this,” “I always get interrupted and then there’s no time left,” or “It doesn’t make me money, so why make the time?”
Time is valuable, so why not preserve some for yourself. Permitting yourself to be “unavailable” for a little while and doing something you love feeds your soul.
The Creativity Quest
As Chief Culture Officer for Luxury Living Chicago Realty, I asked the team to join me in my year-long journey to discovering and creating space for creativity. Every Tuesday, we have an All Hands Meeting where I share practices and ideas to inspire and activate them.
I have been in awe of what has already unfolded in 30 days as we became more intentional in our quest for creativity. Team members have opened up and shared knitting projects, cooking and baking endeavors, art, and passion projects. I’m hopeful this movement will continue to grow and spread throughout the organization and result in a happier and more engaged workforce.
What is My Creative Thing?
What about when you don’t know your “creative thing”? Maybe you’ve been so caught up in working and life you honestly don’t even know what you do with the time you have made free to be creative.
I admit I’m pretty good about setting and keeping boundaries. I desired more creativity. However, when I started thinking about my creativity, I felt blank.
After finishing Unicorn space, I picked up Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (she also wrote Eat, Pray, Love). In Big Magic, Gilbert shares her process and wisdom for bringing more creativity into your life. She tells a story about a friend who used to be an ice skater when she was younger but quit. Then around her 40th birthday, she wanted to bring more fun and joy into her life and took up ice skating again.
This story unlocked something in me.
I loved ice skating as a kid but never thought to go by myself as an adult. I decided to go and told everyone in my family to keep me accountable. After a quick internet search, I found open skate hours at my local rink.
On the day of my skating adventure, I started telling myself all the reasons I shouldn’t go. On my way, I was thinking about all the things that could go wrong. But I kept moving forward.
I arrived at the rink. I got out of the car. I walked into the rink. I rented a pair of skates. I put on the skates. And so on until the next thing I knew, I was on the ice. Forty-five minutes later, I had a little sweat going, a big smile on my face, and I felt things I had been trying to figure out become unstuck and start to flow.
I had one of the best days mentally I’ve had in a long time because I had given myself the gift of creative space.
If you are like me and feel the call for more creativity, I invite you to start small by scheduling 30-minutes of uninterrupted time and space just for you to pursue creativity.
If you would like more support and accountability, please book a free consultation to explore working with me as a coach.