Over winter break I finally had the chance to get around to the creative endeavors that I put off during the semester. My inner retired grandmother emerged for some scrap-booking, sewing, painting, coloring, and baking. My stress reduced to practically nonexistent levels. I found myself wishing that I would be able to sustain this level of creativity during the semester—it would make me much more relaxed overall.
The problem is that stress tends to kill creativity in the same way that creativity kills stress. While I have all the time to be creative over break, I have low stress levels to begin with-meaning I have the mental space to be creative. During the semester I become so stressed that it becomes difficult for my brain to think creatively, just because there is so much else that is going on. It’s ironic that we are least creative when we are at work or school because these are often the times when we are asked to be creative and when being creative would greatly benefit us.
Creativity positively impacts your life. What can you do to stay creative even during the most stressful times of the year?
Think big and craft small.
Crafting is a fun and easy way to be creative, and it doesn’t need to take up a huge part of your day. Crafting for as little as five to ten minutes a day can be just the creative break that your mind needs to help reduce your stress and spark your creative juices. Now, where to start?
Crafting is supposed to be an enjoyable activity, something that you like to do and that doesn’t make you more stressed out. Your crafting activity could be as simple as coloring or as elaborate as metal work; it all depends on what your interests are and what resources you have. You’re not pigeonholed to one crafting activity, either. You may enjoy doing different crafts at different times of the year.
For example, my father is a full-time teacher. He teaches science to middle and high schoolers in the city of Rochester. However, in his free time, he enjoys crafting with wood and metal. He’s a woodworker and has built most of the shelves, dressers, bookcases, beds, and cabinets in our house, but he also makes chainmail jewelry which is a type of jewelry made from metal rings hooked together in elaborate patterns. Despite working eight to twelve-hour days between his multiple jobs he always finds time to make something. In this way, he manages his stress and keeps his creativity alive.
You don’t need to spend hours a day working on crafts in order to reap the benefits of crafting. Try setting aside five to ten minutes to work on a project every day. Maybe you’ll start crocheting and work a little each day on a scarf or a hat, or perhaps you’ll pick up artistic wood burning and spend a little time each day working on a design.
Crafting teaches you creative lessons such as patience and persistence that are beneficial to your performance as a student or employee. It enriches your life and pays great dividends with even the smallest of investments on your part.