In the hustle and bustle of our modern lives, our creative side often takes a back seat. You know that creativity is an essential to your well-being. Finding the right balance between creativity and managing your other responsibilities can be challenging. Wedging moments of creativity between a thousand other things on your metaphorical plate can drain your creative energy and ideas. Drained, you despair of completing your project or of having any creativity at all.(Don’t ask me how I know.) How do you balance it all?
Balance Is a Myth
There is no such thing as work-life balance, at least not on a daily or even monthly scale. The scale of life tips one direction, then slowly shifts and tips the other way. Over time, it might balance out, but most likely, you’ll never achieve what you think is balance.
Work-life balance isn’t a one-to-one situation because life isn’t one thing. Life includes many things including: personal time, family time, spiritual time, time to read, think, and learn, time to take care of your physical self, time to take care of your living space, time for socialization, for entertainment, for hobbies, and for rest.
If you neglect any of those parts of life that have meaning for you, you feel out-of-sorts, depressed, stressed, and deeply dissatisfied. So how does one keep from neglecting those things when you have responsibilities?
Make a List
List all the things you must do, need to do, and want to do. (Note: Do not include things your shaming mind says you should-do.)
What are the areas of your life that feel neglected?
Estimate how much time you think you spend on each of these things.
Rank them by their importance to you and how much time each area requires.
Until you know what you want and how important they are to you, you can’t make decisions that will help you achieve those things. If creativity is more important than anything else, then you can decide to give up some time to one of the less important things. If you decide creativity is third or fourth on your list, that’s okay too. Knowing that helps you decide where to focus your energy.
Once you have your list and your priorities, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Give Yourself Permission To Juggle
Some of you may refer to all the areas of your life as “balls” and you may feel you’re juggling too many “balls.” To juggle more than one part of your life at a time takes practice. Just as it takes practice to become a skillful juggler.
Give Yourself Permission To Ask for Help
Sometimes even the most skillful juggler drops a ball. Give yourself permission to drop a ball or two. The skill is in choosing which one(s) to drop when.
Juggling takes patience and perseverance. Sometimes, it requires help. It’s okay to ask a trusted person for help. Two people can juggle more balls. Give yourself permission to ask for help with some things so you can do the creative thing that gives you joy.
If you’re too busy to do some things you want to this week, give yourself permission to drop one of the less fragile balls you’re managing. The trick is to not drop the same ball every time.
So if you have extra stressful days at work one week, give yourself permission to lighten your load that week. Order a pizza or eat cereal for dinner. Or ask for help with fixing dinner if that’s an option for you. On less stressful days, you can fix a healthy four course meal, spend extra minutes with your child, or have a family movie night.
Satisfy Two or More Roles at Once
Think you can’t be creative because you have little ones that need supervision? Try reserving a special set of toys that the little ones can only play with while you do your thing. Or, if nap time is the best time for you to work creatively, reserve their nap times for creativity at least one day a week.
Need more physical exercise? Blend socializing and physical exercise. Make a date with a friend to play tennis or go to a museum or art gallery together. Take the family to the science museum or to a historical society to blend educational-intellectual and creative growth and family time. The trick here is to choose things that suit everyone.
Break Your Routines
Doing the same things over and over can make you believe that’s the only way you can do things. Break the routine. Do one thing a little differently. See how that works. Once you’re comfortable doing that, do one more thing a little differently. Experiment.
Try something new. Bring the fun back into your life.
Take a break for a day, a week, a month, a season.
Your creative brain cannot work well if you don’t take breaks. Breaks from stress, breaks from routine, even breaks from creativity. It will be okay. You are creative, no matter how or when you choose to express it.
Give Yourself Permission to Have Fun
Don’t know what to do to have fun? What did you have fun doing when you were a kid? What would you do if you had all the time in the world? You don’t have to give up a whole day. Ten minutes once in a while might be enough for you.
It’s okay to have fun being creative. It’s okay to have fun doing something else. Your brain, your creativity, and your emotional health will be better for it.
Give yourself permission to have an unbalanced life. Give yourself permission to have fun. (If you can’t do this, I will for you—You have my permission) Your stress will decrease and possibly vanish. A less stressed you will be, a happier, more creative you. The best part is, your definition of fun or happiness or creativity doesn’t have to match anyone else’s definition. You get to decide what that is for you.
What kind of break or fun did you do last week? What do you have planned for this week?
Image Credit: All images for this post were purchased from DepositPhoto.