As we move into the busy holiday season, we’re pushed into probably the most creative time of the year. And yet, this is also the time when people are the least creative. We become overwhelmed, running from task to task and taking care of parties and presents. Making something seems as if it will take too much time out of our schedule; it is so much easier to simply buy it. Better yet if the mall or store will wrap the present for us.
Now I’m not saying we all need to bake cookies, have homemade gifts for everyone and still find time to knit holiday ornaments on our way to the stores. Taking anything to the extreme can lead to even more overwhelm—something we definitely do not want to have.
So how can someone bring more creativity into his or her life, not just during this holiday season, but every day of the year?
First, know what creativity is for you. Creativity doesn’t have to happen in grand displays with everything homemade and nothing store bought ever. Some people might display their creativity that way, but for the most of us, we’re working to bring just a little creativity into our lives. We need to know what creativity is for us. Enjoying cooking might mean trying new recipies or perhaps even going without one, putting together ingredients and seeing what comes. A parent might ditch the book for a bedtime story and simply tell his or her child a story from the heart. Making holiday decorations, even a simple paper chain, can be meditative and joyful work.
For those who don’t know what creativity is for them, clarity is in order. Sit down with a piece of paper or a computer file and make a list of the things you enjoy. From walking in the woods to cooking a gourmet meal, anything which brings you enjoyment has the opportunity for creativity. Even something as standard as taking a walk can use creativity in planning the route.
The next step is to find small ways to add creativity to your life. Sit down with a map and choose a route for your morning exercise you haven’t used before. Try a new recipe. Knit or crochet a gift this season. Create a “mix in a jar” such as brownies or bread. Something as small as doodling on a notepad while making the grocery list is creative.
Make it a habit to add creativity. With the proliferation of television channels for cooking, home renovations, or home decorating, there is no shortage of ideas. In a struggling print media market, magazines for these same topics are doing well. Even those who need special menus, such as diabetics, have their own magazines (My mother loves her subscription to diabetic living), and coming up with new recipes can reinvigorate what can be a boring process—cooking dinner.
The habit of creativity can be slow to build. Yet, it can build. Sometimes all it takes is opening your mind to new possibilities, different ways of doing things. Something as mundane as taking out the cat litter sparks a creative thought process about how to compost it and green the kitty’s footprint. You never know what will start the creative juices flowing and allow you to uniquely add more creativity to your life.
So make creativity a habit. Learn not to dismiss ideas because they are “too time consuming” or “too difficult” There may be things that you can’t do for whatever reason. Learning to say “no” is just as much an art as adding creativity to your life. That being said, the joy you find in, for example, baking cookies rather than buying some from the store, cannot be purchased and is a moment to be savored along with memories to be made.
Finally, be enthusiastic about creativity. This shouldn’t be a chore. If you have to be creative, then it will cease being fun. Find interesting ways. If you have children, this might come easier, given the plethora of school projects and homework. However, those with grown children or only fur-kids can find themselves becoming enthusiastic about creativity. There are many ways to bring the power of creativity into your life and the more you bring in those in your family or household, the more fun you’ll find.
Being enthusiastic about creativity means finding joy in it. Maybe your creativity manifests itself by building things for your pets. Creating “kitty shelves” or “cat trees” brings them joy as much as it does you. Cooking food for homebound family members or people who are ill is a warmth that is shared in the heart, as well as the stomach. Of all the steps to bringing creativity into your life, the most important one is to enjoy what you are doing. After all, if you don’t enjoy it, then how is it going to help you?
The four steps—finding, starting small, making a habit, and enjoying—serve to bring us closer to our creative source. Through our creativity, we can find ourselves with a renewed joy for life, growing closer to our source, and creating greater depth and meaning to what we do on a daily basis.