fitness · holiday fitness · holidays · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 15

This is another of those weird posts where we consider the idea of ADDING something to your day to create more space.

Martha’s 2020 post for December 15 was about doodling and I am HERE for it. I love drawing patterns and shapes in my notebooks and I often create doodle art. I find it relaxing and fun, and when I doodle during meetings, seminars, and events, it helps me concentrate.

Doodling and other creative practices are excellent ways to make some space for yourself in your day.

Sure, on the one hand, it feels like ONE MORE THING but when you consider how relaxing and restorative creativity can be , adding something extra actually means taking away some stress and frustration.

You don’t need to add a huge create practice to every day, you can just add a little doodle time, a little writing time, a little singing time, a little knitting time, or whatever practice feels easy and accessible for you.

Remember, the goal here is for you to make space for yourself in your day so whether you do that with these videos, with a creative practice, or in any other way that serves you well. I wish you ease.

(The chatty part of today’s post is below.)

This workout from the City of Coquitlam YouTube channel is entitled “Five-Minute Seated Cardio and Core Workout with Raquel” and the still image has a teal background with a photo of the instructor’s smiling face in the upper right corner, the title of the video in the centre and text reading ‘Coquitlam Spirit’ and a heart at the top of the image.

This is a different sort of meditation – a visual one. The point here is to watch the brush strokes and the colours while listening to the gentle music and letting yourself just relax into the images. If you aren’t able to see the video, or if visual meditation isn’t your thing, I’ll include an additional meditation below.

A visual meditation video from the Creativebug Studios YouTube channel entitled “5 minute relaxing meditation for creativity: Episode 2” The still image shows swirls and splatters of watercolor paint against a white background.
A”5 minute guided creativity meditation” from the Karen Sepluveda – Guided Meditations YouTube Channel. The still image. Shows. But looks like outer space. Mostly purple but with some blue at the edges with bright lights (stars?) scattered throughout.

The Chatty Part

Creativity is not just beneficial for its mindful aspects. Creativity also helps you to be a more effective problem solver, to approach challenges from a new perspective, and it gives you a touchstone of enjoyment in your life – something you can return to to feel joyful and more grounded.

Whether you are naturally creatively-inclined or if it hasn’t really occurred to you to seek a creative outlet before, creativity takes practice – especially if you want it to be part of your day-to-day life. You may have to remind yourself to doodle or to try new dance moves.

The fact that your mind is not constantly bubbling over with new ideas or new ways to express yourself doesn’t mean that you aren’t creative, it just means that you aren’t in the habit of being creative at the moment.

You can form that habit the same way you form any habit – by consciously choosing to return to it on a regular basis, by giving yourself time to figure it out, and by starting over whenever you get out of practice.

If you’d like to seek out the fun and relaxation benefits of creativity, here are some resources:

Last year, for World Creativity and Innovation Day in April, I did a post about exercise and creativity that includes links to useful articles and a few workouts for creative people.

And if you’d like to try some small creative exercises, feel free to download and print this creative prompt zine I made (it’s stored on my Google drive so it should be easy to access.) Each prompt will take just a few minutes and you might just find it fun. (If you need zine folding instructions, here are some good ones. )

If you want to use creativity to loosen up your brain so you can focus at work, these creativity exercises might help.

My first forays into drawing as an adult were with meditative pattern drawing like the ones in this Craftwhack post. I especially liked that, if you make a mistake, you cover it up rather than erasing it.

If you want to get creative but none of these ideas are sparking your interest, google ‘creative prompts’, ‘easy creative exercises’, or ‘drawing prompts’ and I am sure you will find something that works for you.

Whether you choose to get creative today, or you choose to stick with the tried-and-true but with a little extra peace of mind or if you try out the videos that I’ve shared, I wish you a restful rest-of-day.

Please be kind to yourself out there.

About Making Space 2022

About Making Space 2022

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.

mindfulness · motivation

Exercise & Creativity

Tomorrow, April 21, is the UN’s World Creativity and Innovation Day – a celebration of the role that creativity plays in problem solving.

Creativity is beneficial for its own sake, of course. Not only is creativity enjoyable, but the mindfulness and presence required helps us to relax and to focus. It feels good to get in a creative ‘zone.’

And since the abilities that we hone in creative practice are helpful for solving problems, our creativity is also good for the world.

A photo of a tree and a path in the foreground and a vista of water, hills and trees in the background. Overlaid text reads 'We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.  - Albert Einstein'
I quote this at least once a week to someone. It’s an excellent argument practicing creative thinking. Image description: A photo of a tree and a path in the foreground and a panoramic of water, hills and trees in the background. Overlaid text reads ‘We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein’

Since exercise can improve our concentration immediately after a workout and it increase our capacity for creative thinking, exercising can directly contribute to your ability to think creatively and solve problems.

And now that you know that Wednesday is World Creativity and Innovation Day, you can also think of your workout tomorrow as a warm-up for any creativity activity or problem solving you have to do. (And, as Sam reminds us, warm-ups are very important.)

Lots of people swear that going for a walk helps them to be more creative and think of new solutions to the challenges that they face.

But, if walking isn’t your thing, any sort of moderate exercise seems to help so choosing your favourite exercise can help you prepare to be part of creative problem solving tomorrow.

Adriene even has a practice that may help you:

Have you found a connection between your exercise plan and your creativity and problem solving abilities?

Tell us about it in the comments!

PS – If you ALREADY have a creative practice in place, here are a few stretching programs I found that can help keep you feeling good physically while you think creatively.

Here’s a Dr. Jo video showing some hand, wrist, neck & shoulder exercises for artists.
And here’s a video showing some specific hand exercises for artists and animators.
And this is one of my favourite Yoga with Adriene videos – Yoga for Writers