It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of working, taking care of kids, and keeping a house running smoothly. Unfortunately, when we get caught up in that routine, it leads to a life that tends to be either boring or stressful.
That’s why it’s important that you make time for other things like passion and creativity. It’s important to be aware when things are getting out of balance, and consciously take steps to bring them closer to being balanced. Notice I didn’t say make them balanced? That’s because I know, as you do, that true balance is unlikely. But we can get closer.
So how do you bring more passion and creativity into your life?
Start with boring basics
The first step to more passion and creativity is taking care of the basics. Boring stuff like getting enough sleep, eating healthy and nutritious meals, and getting some physical activity each day will help fuel everything else. If you’re eating crappy food, only getting a few hours or poor quality sleep, and spending most of your day sitting, you’ll find it hard to be inspired.
Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Eat healthy foods as often as possible. If going to the gym just isn’t your thing, take a walk around the block every day or do some yoga in your living room. Taking care of your physical body also helps your mind and soul.
Consider your online activities
Do you go online to read the news first thing in the morning? Spend your free time, all the time, scrolling Facebook or Twitter? Belong to groups or forums where being mean, rude, or insulting is considered normal?
Your online activities can have a huge impact on your passion and creativity.
First, there’s the fact that the time you spend online is time not spent doing other activities. We won’t call it wasted time, because sometimes it’s not. But let’s face it: scrolling Facebook usually doesn’t result in anything productive.
Second, there’s the emotional and mental toll it can take. If you’re scrolling social media and seeing tons of posts from people who seem to have it all, while you’re feeling stressed, unhappy, or wanting more, it’s going to bring you down. The news is rarely good and uplifting these days. And spending time with negative or degrading people or information isn’t going to do you any favors either.
There’s nothing wrong with scrolling social media – as long as you limit the time. Being aware of current events is important, but you don’t need to consume it all the time.
Create blocks of “open” time
What is “open” time? Open time is time where you are open to any ideas, thoughts, or inspirations that come to you. The thing about open time is that you have to put some things down in order to have it.
What do you have to put down? Well, what do you use to distract yourself?
Do you head straight to your Facebook or Twitter feed when you’re bored or having to wait a few minutes? Do you open up a game of Candy Crush or Solitaire to relax before going to sleep?
Look for those things that you do to distract yourself from everyday life, or to fill your free time. Even if you say you only use it when you’ve got five minutes to kill, that could be five minutes of open time instead.
Okay, so you’ve put down your distractions, but now what do you do during open time? You just… be open.
Look for what comes to your mind. Maybe you’ll suddenly think of a cookie recipe you want to make. Or an art medium will spring to mind. Or an idea for a story. Or a knitting project. Or a community service project.
The possibilities are literally endless.
If you feel like just sitting and waiting for inspiration to strike won’t work, is boring, or sounds weird, try meditating. The process of meditation will provide you something to do in the moment while also leaving you very open to whatever might come to mind.
Don’t overanalyze your ideas
Sometimes the real reason we miss out on passion and creativity is that we overanalyze the things that we’re passionate and creative about.
We think the book idea is stupid, the painting isn’t good enough, or the app idea will never work. We think of our passions and creative pursuits not as things for fun and relaxation, but ways to make money, and we convince ourselves since they wouldn’t (it doesn’t even have to be certain, just the idea that they simply might not) generate income, they’re not worth doing.
Stop overthinking. Whatever the idea is, go with it. Give it a chance. Even if you think it’s crazy or no one else will like it or you’ll just end up with 5,000 different versions of it taking up space in your spare bedroom. Just be open and try it.
Passion and creativity isn’t about making money or gaining the approval or admiration of others. Sometimes those things come from it, but you should follow passion and creativity just for the thrill of it. For the pleasure that results from it. It doesn’t matter if the only thing that ever comes from your efforts is that thrill and that pleasure. Even if the world despises your passion and thinks your creativity sucks, as long as it brings you joy and satisfaction, that’s what matters.
Don’t crap all over your ideas.
Find immersion pockets
Immersion pockets are extended periods of time during which you immerse yourself in things related to your passion and creativity.
If yours is travel, for example, your immersion pockets might be spent researching places you want to go, the travel costs, and making plans for what you want to do when you get there.
If you want to write a book, you might spend your pockets writing an outline, creating character profiles, and writing the book.
If you want to create mixed media artwork, you might use your pockets to go shopping for materials, watching YouTube videos on how to put things together, and mentally planning your piece.
The key to immersion pockets, however, is that they’re not just a few minutes here and there. They’re extended periods – an hour or more. They’re lengthy enough for you to really get into what you’re doing, to chase rabbit trails, and make some real and significant progress.
How do you find them? Maybe you use your lunch break to create one. Maybe you record your favorite Tuesday night show to make another. Maybe instead of sleeping in until 9AM on Saturday morning, you get up at 7AM and spend the next two hours on your project. Maybe sometimes you even take a vacation or sick day from work to spend the whole day on it.
You have to work for it
Passion and creativity won’t just magically happen for you. You have to take steps to create a space for them in your life. You have to be willing to devote space, time, and energy to them. As a busy mom, that might sound like a lot of effort, but I promise it’s worth it. The sense of purpose you’ll get from working on your passion project, the satisfaction you’ll get when you see your creative pursuit come to life, will more than make up for the effort you expend. And the passion and creativity you work so hard to create will extend to other areas of your life and make every part of your life better.
You want more passion and creativity? Go out there and grab it for yourself.