Let’s Relax!

Today is National Relaxation Day in the USA.  To celebrate, I thought I’d share some creative ways you can relax and enjoy life more.

Take a vacation: No, you don’t have to go all the way to a far off land or tropical island to have a vacation, a vacation could just be an afternoon at your local coffee shop with a novel or drawing pad.  It could also be a night at the hotel nearby for just you and your partner, rather than being at home or planning a big, expensive vacation.

Make the moments count: it’s hard to relax with all the stressors we have around us.  On those rare moments that you do have to relax and enjoy yourself, go all out.  Instead of just taking a bath, take a bubble bath with eye mask, a little bubbly and DVD/movie on your computer.  Don’t just have a beer in front of the TV after work, get outside, lay in the hammock, and enjoy your beer with a snack.

Plan creativity into your life: it may sound silly that you have to plan for creativity, being a creative individual, but sometimes the best way you can relax is by working on a personal creativity project or different project than you have to work on for your clients.  Always have some projects in the works that you can work on bits and pieces in break time you have.  Also having some projects that aren’t related to your typical area of creativity that you can relax and take a break with are great, like jewelry if you’re a photographer, painting if you’re a gardener, or scrapbooking if you’re a sculptor.

What are your creative suggestions for relaxing?

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Inspirational Spirituals

“Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan, and I what did I see
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home

If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I coming too
Coming for to carry me home

I’m sometimes up, I’m sometimes down
Coming for to carry me home
But still my soul feels heavenly bound
Coming for to carry me home”

I grew up hearing this and some of the other famous spirituals, both those from the slave years and the years of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Each time I hear this song, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, or another like it, I’m reminded of the past, both mine and that of African Americans.  This month as we’re celebrating Black History, I wanted to take a moment to honor the creative souls who came up with these songs.

This song reveals a lot about creativity, both in words and in creation.  Let’s see how creativity unites us all:

First, the only colors creativity sees are the ones used in words or artistry. It isn’t a “picker” of persons, and anyone can be creative, no matter what you look like or who you are.

Second, much of creativity does have to do with that “something bigger” many of us feel in life.  Whether you call it God, Being, Abba, or something else, creativity often is used to both display and understand what we’re all doing here, and who we are.

Third, creativity connects people.  It doesn’t matter if you were alive when David was carved, the Pyramids were built, rock music was born or tapestries were woven, just by witnessing these things you too can connect with the artist.

Finally, love what you do regardless of the recognition.  Those who sang the spirituals initially weren’t recognized as master singers or writers in their day, and many artists are never truly recognized for their potential.  That doesn’t make what you’re creating any less important.

If you’re a creative person, keep creating, the world is just waiting for your work.  If you’re less artistically talented, don’t let that worry you, you can do your part to spread the beauty of creativity too.  Tell a friend about something creative or thank an artist today!

Creating Random Acts of Kindness

This week we have the Random Acts of Kindness week, the week devoted to promoting and encouraging random acts of kindness.  If you’ve been following along on any of my blogs for a while you should have figured out that I love random acts of kindness.  I think it’s super important as a society to be considerate of and investing in the lives of others.  As I was perusing the RAK website, I ran across this article which talks about 10 things that science says will make you happy. The list includes things like

Savor Everyday Moments
Avoid Comparisons
Make Friends, Treasure Family
Smile Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
Give It Away, Give It Away Now!

Each person you meet is a waiting adventure in a random act of kindness.  You have the creative ability to inspire hope and share kindness in every life.

Some really simple ways to do RAK’s are:

-retweet tweets on twitter/like posts on facebook and reply to both too!

-smile!

-include a special note with each item you sell.  It could be a “form” postcard that you just stick in the package each time, but letting your clients know that you appreciate the purchase and their choice to invest with you

-choose to fight and argue less, and communicate more (communication takes lots of creativity!).

-create!  Yes, making what you make can make someone’s day.

What intentional (or random) kind things will you do this week?

Creating for Health

January is “stay healthy month” and I believe that creativity is intertwined with health and that it’s impossible to be healthy without a good dose of creativity.  So let’s talk about what it means to be creatively healthy.

Physically:
You don’t have to like yoga, you might prefer biking or pole dancing.  The important thing is that you find what works for you and you’re excited to do at least one day a week.  Food is one of my favorite ways to be creative (as you can tell from my blog posts), and its one of the things that Americans need to work on: creating food that’s good for the body as well as appetizing.  Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new foods and recipes!

Mentally:
There are tons of things coming at us from all directions that aim to “break us” mentally, and many of those things (like hurtful words) do a good job getting in.  You have to know what’s right for you, and who should or shouldn’t be in your life.  You don’t have to be with people who make it their life mission to tear you up, there are tons of great people in the world.

Spiritually:
Personally I think that life is so much fuller when you’re living and working for a bigger purpose.  Just like with creativity, spirituality is something that is lived on both an individual and a group level.  I don’t grow spiritually the same way you do, nor should I; just like we don’t both create in the exact same way.

Emotionally:
I believe that creativity and doing creative things is essential to having good emotional (and mental) health.  Creativity has this magic way of opening us up to receive new things and gives us an opportunity to be free in ways that we usually can’t express ourselves.

It all comes down to one thing: find what works for you!  Maybe you were lucky and your first creation turned into a best (multimillion dollar) seller, but that’s not how it worked for most of us.  Just as you put energy and time into your creating, I encourage you to put some energy and time into making healthy choices that fit you and your life this year.

What one area do you need to work on most?

Creative Lessons of Summer

It seems like summer just arrived yesterday and now it’s practically gone.  I’m going to miss the sunny days and warm weather of summer, and since I’m not quite ready for September, fall and all the talk of back to school, let’s talk about what we’ve learned this summer.

-Do something creative every day.  If I don’t, I get frustrated, overwhelmed and start feeling uninspired in many areas of my life.

-Creativity is around every corner. Maybe there will be a humming bird, maybe a creatively grown flower, maybe a bench that has seen the passing of time, I’m always looking for that little gift.

-Following your dreams is essential, especially when it comes to being creative.

-Food is essential for creativity, events and summer fun.

-Every vacation spot has it’s own creative opportunities.

-Even if you’re focused on being creative, you’ve still got to be smart about how you run the business aspect of your creative gifts.

-Every good creative soul needs a day off here and there.

-The best thing about meeting new people is discovering what their creative and life passions are.

That’s just some of what I’ve learned this summer.  And I’m so thankful for each of these lessons.  What about you?  What have you learned this summer?  I’d love to learn from your lessons, share your comments below.

Life Lessons from Creativity

One of the things I love most about creativity is how it brings things together.  Think about cooking for example, you put at least a couple of ingredients together to make something, even if it’s just 1 type of food and some spices.

I love the magic that happens when that seemingly bland paint in the container hits the canvas and makes something special.  I love what happens when you take a simple bead and thread some wire through it and a couple other beads and make a beautiful earring.  I love what happens when the tools touch the rock and out emerges a beautiful carving.  I love what happens when you take a boring block of clay and turn it into a beautiful vase.  I love how you can take a piece of paper and make it into a paper crane or flower.

I love how no matter what language you speak, place you live in or style of life you lead, when things get creative everyone gets involved.  Creativity doesn’t see class lines, physical handicaps, age, job status, or happiness.  It sees a friend who will help share the magic with someone else.

What about you?  What has creativity taught you?  I’d love to hear your insights.

Creating for Mental Health

How are you feeling today?  I hope you’re feeling great, enjoying a nice day, warm beverage and great company.  Every day isn’t a great day for most people though, and that reason often stems from their mental health state.  May is Mental Health Month so today we’re talking about using creativity as a way to improve your mental health.

I’ve spoken with countless creative individuals who have said that doing creative things such as painting, dance, jewelry making and sculpture have not only gotten them through mental challenges like depression, stress, bullying, PTSD and others.  While I’m not a doctor, I’ve personally found that creativity is a great tool for healing and strengthening your mind.

If you’re struggling with a mental issue, don’t be afraid to get help.  There are tons of resources and online support groups that you can connect with. Don’t forget about Twitter and Facebook too, there are tons of creative individuals there that you can connect with and encourage each other too. Second, do something good for yourself!  Pick up a creative activity like drawing, clothes designing, singing or cooking.  With each creative expression you’ll feel more like yourself, your mind will relax and you’ll regain some of the confidence you’ve lost through your struggle with mental health.

If you’re not dealing with a health issue, creativity is still a great way to express yourself and help your mind stay healthy.  What creative activity has helped you most in life?  Share your stories and ideas below.