This post forms part of the A-Z of Self-Care for Busy Parents series. If you missed the introductory post you can read it here.
The whole purpose of self-care is making time to take better care of you, but when we have so many plates to juggle, even if you do manage to set aside some time, it can be hard to switch off. That’s where creativity comes in.
When you’re engaged in a creative activity it has a way of consuming your attention and silencing all that constant chatter going on inside your mind.
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso
When I was younger I used to suffer from a lot of stress related illnesses and my doctor at the time recommended I start drawing or write in a journal whenever I started to feel anxious or stressed and it really did help. Through the years though I got caught up in life and it’s advice I forgot all about. It’s only now, as I look back, that I realise how many times in my life I have turned to something creative to help me through, without even realising.
Creating this blog is one such example. I was at an all time low without really knowing why. I had everything I could possibly ask for and yet I felt a part of me was missing, that I needed to do something that was for me and separate from my role as wife and mother. Once I started, the transformation in how I felt about myself was remarkable and I will be forever grateful that I found this crazy thing that I love.
Another example is crochet. I started when I was pregnant with my son because I wanted to create a blanket for him the same way my mother-in-law did for both her children. I’d never crocheted before but I discovered I actually loved it. Once you get absorbed into a project it can be therapeutic in a way. You can get completely lost in it. It’s almost like a form of meditation for me now and I return to it whenever I need to switch my brain off for a while.
Benefits of Engaging In A Creative Activity
Aside from being fun, there a number of great benefits to making extra time to pursue something creative:
- Reduces stress
- Improves your mood
- Creates new connections in your brain and improves brain function
- Can bring new social connections
- Boosts self-esteem
- Brings a sense of accomplishment
- Can improve your focus
Creative Activities You Could Try Today
Many people associate creativity with art and drawing and think they need to have a particular talent for it. But that’s simply not the case. There are loads of different things you can do without any previous experience or talent. Creativity isn’t about producing something amazing, its about the act of doing it, rather than the outcome. It’s about self-expression and just letting go and having fun with it.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Writing – this could be in the form of keeping a daily journal or trying your hand a creative writing. There are a wealth of websites that will give you writing prompts to try out. Maybe you could write a story together with your child.
- Dancing – turn on your favourite music and just dance. You don’t need to be any good at it, just have fun. Whether you do it alone or have a dance party with the kids, not only is it a great mood enhancer, its good exercise too. Read Words to Live By #12: Dance and 10 Feel Good Songs To Get You Dancing.
- Music – If you play an instrument, great, get it out. If you don’t, improvise. Maybe your child has a few instruments? You could spend 10 minutes with them making as much noise as possible; use wooden spoons on pots and pans, put rice in a plastic tub and shake.
- Drawing/painting – if you can’t ‘draw’, doodle. Even taking some of your child’s crayons and scribbling over a pice of paper counts. A couple of years ago I discovered Zentangle doodles and became slightly obsessed. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them which you can check out here. They look complicated but most of the pins have detailed instructions on how to create the pictures. A word of caution though, once you start with entangles they can be quite addictive!
- Colouring – there’s a reason that adult colouring books have become such a big thing. If you don’t want to go out and buy one, steal the kids – my mum used to do this all the time when I was younger! There are also loads of free collaring pages you can print off the internet too.
- Knitting/crochet – this one actually requires you to go out and buy a few supplies but you really don’t need much to get started. There are loads of great tutorials online which will teach you all the stitches you need and I have another Pinterest board loaded with great Crochet patterns. Start small with something like a scarf or a baby blanket and see how you go.
- Sewing – I haven’t tried any myself (maybe one day) but there are so many great projects you can make, from quilted blankets and cushion covers, to clothes and purses.
- Baking/Cooking – I’m not very creative in the kitchen generally, but Keith is and his creations are very much appreciated by the whole family. I do enjoy baking when I’m in the right mood and getting to eat it afterwards is always a bonus. This is another great one to get the kids involved in too.
- Crafting – this one can take so many forms. You could upcycle a few old bits and pieces to create something nice for the home. Sit down with the kids and create a masterpiece with toilet rolls and stickers and glitter. I used to love making (and occasionally selling) cards.
- Singing – while you may need a bit of talent for this one if you’re planning on doing it in public, there’s nothing stopping you belting out a few songs in the car or at home. Like dancing, it’s a great mood booster.
- Play – get down on the floor and play with the kids, whether it’s role-playing with kitchens, cars, dolls or building with lego, it all flees those creative muscles.
- Scrapbooking – make the most of all those photographs and create scrapbooks for special events or memories.
Whatever activity you choose, try and spend 10 minutes today doing something creative and see how it makes you feel, you may just discover a whole new hobby.
Need more tips for self-care? Don’t want to miss the rest of the series? Enter your details in the box below to receive it in your inbox every week. I also have a post with 23 Awesome Creativity Quotes with FREE printable versions of every quote.