The approach to Halloween is, in my world, the signal of a roller coaster ride ahead.
Climb aboard the car and strap yourself in. Hear the gears crank as you’re pulled up the steep hill of track. Feel yourself teetering, weightless, at the top for a moment… then, “Waaaaaahhhhh!!!!”
The car races down the hill, jerks past Halloween on October 31, then a quick turn to my birthday on November 5. A series of crazy curves into Thanksgiving, three weeks later — on the second night of Chanukah this year, which carries our car into the first week of December.
Take a breath, and the car picks up speed and careens into my dad’s birthday on December 15, quickly veers into my sister-in-law’s birthday on December 17, and then the loopdeloop home stretch into Christmas and New Year’s, with the added excitement this year of MB’s and my wedding in between (and of course, our anniversary on following years).
It’s crazy. And all too easy to feel the way the gremlin in that picture above looks.
But even if you don’t have birthday and wedding celebrations peppering the fourth quarter of your year, it’s still a fair bet that time seems especially crunched for you during this season. It just always feels like there’s so much more to get done… even if there really isn’t.
Busy-ness is in the air.
How We Usually Respond
I don’t know about you, but when I’m overwhelmed by busy-ness, unless I’m really vigilant about it, my self-care goes right out the window, starting with Creative Sandbox time.
I know from experience that when I let my Creative Sandbox time lapse, even for just a few days, I invariably suffer.
- My mood darkens.
- I get cranky and irritable.
- I have WAY less patience and tolerance.
- I am a lot less fun to be around.
- Life starts to really suck.
It doesn’t take long before I start feeling like a dried-out husk, an automaton, just going through the motions of my life. Pretty soon I find myself wanting to chuck everything and move to Tahiti.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
And the good news is, the solution is a helluva lot easier than quitting your job, dispensing with all your worldly possessions and moving to Tahiti.
A Better Way
All it takes, truly, is just a few minutes a day of creative play.
A three-minute doodle. A five-minute “FlashWrite.” Ten minutes playing with paint, or experimenting on my ukulele.
When I give myself that small gift every day, I can take on the world!
It’s like my secret weapon.
It seems so counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Everything around us is screaming, “Go! Go! Go! No time! Can’t stop!” But putting on the brakes and feeding your creative hungers for just two, or five, or ten minutes is exactly the medicine that will enable you to keep going.
Imagine you needed to climb a mountain. You’d have to eat, otherwise you’d collapse before you could even get close to the summit.
Food is to your body as creative play is to your mind and will. Just as your body needs nourishment in order to function, your mind and will need nourishment, too.
Proven by Science!
Don’t take my word for it, though. Scientific studies have proven that patience, tolerance, self-control, and willpower, are easily depleted, and that one of the best ways to replenish your energy in those areas is by doing something that engages your interest — ideally something that gets you into that wonderful state of flow, when time seems to stand still, and you lose track of your ego.
Guess what: all those fun activities we think of as “self-indulgent”? They’re not self-indulgent, they’re self-restoring! They restore your energy.
Regardless of what your mom or anyone else told you, it is never self-indulgent to do what restores your energy.
This is why I’ve made it a priority to get a little bit of creative time in every day.
And why I want to help YOU do the same, especially during the craziness of holiday season, when it feels sometimes like the whole world is conspiring to pull us off track.
This is the time of year when it’s easiest to derail, and then to just stay derailed. After all, we can always get a fresh start on January 1, right?
But why wait? What makes January 1 a magic time to take a fresh start?
Remember: the most important practice is just getting back on the wagon.
Remember, too: you always get to take a fresh start — you don’t have to wait until New Year’s Day! In fact, the best time to to take a fresh start is right now.
Why suffer through another end-of-year as a cranky, zoned-out-zombie? Why not make this year the one where the last two months don’t suck you dry?
I invite and encourage you to try jumping in the Creative Sandbox every day this month, even for just a few minutes. Consider it my challenge of love to you.
Pssst! Want Some Help?
I know it’s super-hard to make a change like this all by yourself, which is why I’ve brewed up a special treat for you — a November treat, in honor of my birthday. Something to spark you up, and get you on a roll that will help ease you through the holidays with a genuine smile on your face.
Stay tuned… (And be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get first dibs.)
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!