I saw a commercial recently for an anti-depressant drug supplement to take with the antidepressants we’re already taking. Depression is of course a real condition, but I wonder if it’s so rampant because we aren’t doing anything creative for ourselves?
Creative projects not only entertain but produce joy within an individual. We have God given talents but we hide them by filling up our days up with things to do for other people. Here are a few ways toclear the fog:
1. Make a list of what brought you joy as a child. My senior year in high school was the year I did exactly what I wanted to do. I was editor of the school newspaper, co-captain of the pom pon squad, sang in the choir, acted in plays and won awards for my art.
We need to go back to the place that thrilled us. Love the smell of clay in the art studio in college? Thrilled to see the shiny clean floor in the gym and hear the echoes of a basketball and the squeaks from your sneakers? Take a moment and drink it in.
2. Start small and cheaply. More into doodling than taking notes? Then grab a cheap notebook and doodle away. Visit your store’s Crayola section and find the new stuff they put out since we were kids. There’s more than just those boxes of 64 colors like periwinkle and thistle with the sharpener in the back.
Don’t know what to draw? Draw what’s on TV. Make your child joy list colorful. Don’t worry about showing it to anybody.
3. Visit the children’s library. When we’re short on knowledge, we have to become like children learning for the first time. Because that’s when learning was new and exciting.
4. Tour stores like Michael’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics. Invest in some starter kits like scarf crocheting or needlepoint. There are also kits to build model cars and airplanes. And latch hooking is not just for girls. My husband says he loved to hook rugs as a kid. These are perfect for keeping hands busy while listening to podcasts or watching TV.
5. Found a niche? Take some classes. My daughter recently discovered she loves sewing which she learned at school. She started with a pattern and then branched out on her own. She’s already made stuffed animals and a small pillow that’s behind my neck now as I write this. It’s the best birthday present I ever received.
Michael’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics also offer classes for kids and adults at all learning levels. If you’re a little skittish about shelling out for a class, look to the library again. Notice I say the library and not the internet. True, you can find a lot on the web but there’s nothing like the peace and silence the library offers us to focus on our tasks.
6. Pick up a schedule of recreational activities at your local community center. Our passion might lie in performing arts. Community centers might offer classes for beginners. Anyone who honed a talent had to start somewhere. And don’t compete. We don’t have to better than everyone else in the class.
Some people push away creativity because if they don’t get it right then why bother? Talent is a journey of progressions. We have gifts but we have to unwrap to use them.
7. Try out online courses. I still study writing through Gotham Writers Workshop in NYC. I may have graduated with a BA in English but it doesn’t mean I learned everything I need to know about writing.
Online courses, like college, don’t come cheap so make sure you have a budget for education. We don’t need to go into debt over our creative journeys. Debts only bring unnecessary burdens to succeed. When we don’t succeed we give up.
Creativity improves our mood and ability to focus. Without it, we get so lost in the details of life that we forget what makes us happy. Just like those days after the rain clears and the sun finally comes out, our attitude changes. We treat ourselves and other people with respect.
Have fun on your journey.