Oh. My. God. December is just NUTS, isn’t it?
In my Creative Ignition Club call today, one of my Igniters acknowledged that, what with 15 more hours a week at work to deal with end-of-year stuff, visiting house guests, getting ready for holiday events and whatnot, it just didn’t make sense to expect herself to maintain the same 20-minutes-a-day Creative Sandbox schedule she managed last month.
Plus there’s the fact that the projects she really wants to work on take up space, which is currently being used by house guests.
So they will have to wait. (Her projects, that is. Not the house guests.)
What’s keeping her sane in the meantime is incorporating her creative expression into daily life. Turning cookie decorating into an art project. Doing origami while watching TV with her family.
It isn’t sating her creative hunger 100%, but it’s enough that she doesn’t feel completely bereft. It’s a “band-aid” solution, and she knows it.
How to work that Band-Aid
We all have to make do with “band-aid” solutions sometimes. If that’s your situation right now, here are my suggestions for optimal happiness until you can get back to “normal.”
1) Keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel
“Band-aid” solutions can get you by temporarily, but unless you know it’s really only temporary, it’s all too easy to get worn down. If you know that in X days or weeks you’ll be able to indulge your creative spirit to the max again, your temporary band-aid won’t feel as frustrating. Keep reminding yourself that your crazy-ass situation is not permanent.
2) Make a hard date with yourself to get back on track
The biggest problem with “falling off the wagon” is not the falling; it’s the difficulty of getting back on.
When we’re in the habit of keeping a commitment — creative or otherwise — it has a certain momentum. All of that goes away when you fall off, and inertia is a formidable foe. It’s all too easy to let a couple of weeks slide into a couple of months, and even years. Put the odds in your favor by making a hard date to start back on your commitment.
3) Get help wherever you can
Count down to your start-back-up day (you might want to make a chart to hang on your wall, or cross off days on a calendar), and improve your chances of following through in whatever ways you can. Here are some suggestions:
- Enlist an accountability partner to check in with you before, on and after your start-back-up date.
- Share your commitment in a public forum, where you know other people will be holding you accountable.
- Determine whom among your friends and family is truly supportive of you pursuing your creative passions (NOT the ones who pay lip service while rolling their eyes — you know who they are) and let them know you could use some encouragement to get back on track.
- Book a session with a good coach around your target start-up date.
4) Eliminate the hoops
The more hoops you have to jump through, the less likely you’ll be to do the thing you really want, no matter how much you want it. Resistance is that powerful! Start preparing for your start-back-up date now by removing as many hoops as you possibly can.
I read about a guy who wanted to establish a daily running practice, but just couldn’t keep it up. Then one night he put his running shoes by his bed and went to sleep in his workout clothes. The next morning he was up and out on a run first thing. From that day on he slept in his workout clothes, and his running practice locked into place like magic.
Figure out what hoops are in your way, and do whatever you can to eliminate them. Clear off that desk or work table and pull out your supplies where they’re easy to access (just as soon as all the guests clear out, or beforehand if you can!) Set up your environment to invite you in. Keep an eye on your calendar and mark off sacred space for YOU, then make sure not to schedule ANY appointments during those times.
5) Grab “You” time whenever you can
There’s a reason I recommend a 15-minutes a day standard, even for Creatives who can frequently manage much more than that. 15 minutes is actually enough to get into that magical state of “flow,” when time stops, you lose your ego, and live wholly in the moment. And it’s a small enough chunk that it’s almost ridiculous to say you can’t make it happen.
But if you really can’t get in 15 minutes, aim for 10. Or 5. Or one. Doodle, for god’s sake. Do something to remind your creative spirit that you haven’t forgotten about her or him. And like my Igniter above, look for ways to feed your creative hunger throughout the day.
We all have extra-ridiculously-insane-crazy-ass periods. Sometimes, making do with a “band-aid” solution for a bit is the wisest, most self-compassionate thing we can do. When those times descend, though, treat yourself with maximum love and self-care by preparing to get back on track as quickly as possible, and do whatever you can to keep yourself nourished in the meantime.
What tips do you have for staying sane and creatively nourished when things get crazy? Share them in the comments below!
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!