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Making Time for Your Creative Self

Your inner self will demand it; will you listen?

By Leona Françoise CaanenPublished 11 months ago 6 min read
Spending time on my creativity. Image credit: Leona Françoise Caanen

Sometimes, when it seems there is no special reason for it, we simply feel off. You've tried to have a decently productive morning, you didn't do anything different from the usual routine, yet you can feel yourself itching in your own skin. You can't concentrate and it feels as if nothing makes sense.

While this specific day indeed doesn't have anything wrong with it, while your work isn't more or less eventful than any other day, the feeling in you does signify something. Your body and your mind seem to be pressing the breaks. The question at hand is why?

Unbalanced & busy

One big reason your body is pressing the breaks can be becuase you're simply overworked. Not in the sense of burn-out per se, but in the sense that you're too busy and not taking enough time to recharge; not making time for the things that feed your soul and make you feel happy and energised.

Day-to-day life can feel quite intense sometimes. There is always something to do, both in personal and professional settings, there is always someone to meet with, the house that needs cleaning, having to pass by the grocery store and the fact that it's probably time to call your parents again. Oh and wasn't there such a thing as the gym and that other thing called "me time"?

The toughest part of being busy, whether you're overwhelmed by it or not, is that I choose it all myself. When I made those plans I didn't keep my overall balance of time in mind. Rather, I looked at my agenda, found the empty gap and fit something in.

When we move through life, without occassionally checking in with ourselves and our needs, it becomes easy to forget that we are a balanced ecosystem. Throw too much of this or that in the mix and it'll shift out of balance, often causing your body, your mind or sometimes even your soul, to sound the alarm bells before we go even further into a dis-balanced spiral. Not that this needs to be an even balance all the time - it's not 20/20/20/20/20; rather, some periods of time you'll spend more energy on work or friends, where other moments you're investing more in yourself or your creativity.

But the balance must be there and must be considered when shaping both your day-to-day and the bigger picture. It is this balance between social and self, work and creative, that gives us the life-energy we need to make most days a good day and to avoid this itchy feeling of restlessness.

One piece where this restlessness easily creeps in is in our personal creations, whether that is your art, your writing, or anything else. This is a beast who's belly needs to be fed if we're going to feel balanced and at ease in our day-to-day. If you leave the creative part of yourself starved, she'll come asking for attention, for energy. Calmly at first, a slight nudge here or there; yet the more you continue to refuse her your attention, the more you'll find all other life forces seem to become unsettled and fall out of balance. The reason? Your creative energy, the one the souls so desperately seeks, is precisely what keeps us energised, happy, feeling whole. We need this in order to make other areas of our life work smoothly.

Balance for the part-time creator

When you work a full- or part-time day job to sustain your creative endeavors on the side, trying to grow them while still being able to afford living, the balance almost always seems to be off. How do we make time for our creative project(s) when we're currently drowning the work that pays the bills. And it's a challenge - you know that it won't be like this the whole time, the busyness of your day job fluctuates, there are stretches where it grants you so much time to spend on your own creative endeavours. Other times it demands you put those on hold for a little while, with the promise that soon it'll calm down again.

Sometimes it doesn't calm down. Even when we thought it would or when we told ourselves we'd take it slower so that we can focus on the work that feeds our soul. Yet the world keeps spinning too fast and we lose track of time, we keep giving our energy away, and by the time that we do have a spare moment at the end of the day, there are no creative juices left in your system.

Yet it is these creative projects that sustain your soul and no matter how crazy the world gets, how busy life gets, we have to remember to make time for them. If we don't we become like a dried up house plant. Remember to water yourself.

Luckily we have our intuition that stimulates and pushes us in this direction. And when we don't respond, when we don't tune in with ourselves, our minds and our bodies will eventually force us there, whether we like it or not.

It is precisely this forced creativity, this demand from the soul to spend time on your own endeavours, that inspired this article. I've been overworking with my day job and my creative project - my next book - has been suffering from it. Here and there I'll be able to spend an hour on it, a moment where there is still some creative juice left. But it's not enough for me. It is not enough to fill up my soul; to feel revived.

As I was working this week, I found myself being unable to concentrate. My mind was racing a mile a minute and every time I'd sit down to do something, to work on a day-job project, I'd feel as if I were crashing after a mere thirty minutes of work. I tried drinking coffee, I tried going for a run, I considered taking a nap. But truthfully, I knew exactly why this lack of focus was happening. Everything inside of me wanted to spend my energy on writing, on being creative, on connecting with that feel-good feeling I get when I'm in the zone and the current Excel sheet I was looking at just wasn't giving me that magic.

After pacing around my apartment for a little while, I decided to sit down, to embrace this intense desire for creativity and to just go for it. I've now been typing away at my keyboard for almost two hours, not even getting up to make more tea (and I love my tea).

I'm sitting here and suddenly I feel energised. I'm still sleepy, my shoulders still ache from hunching over my laptop, and at this point I definitely need to pee, but I feel energised in my soul. I decided to listen to what my whole being was telling me and actually make some time for my creativity.

The thing is, when we refuse to make time for our passion, whether that is writing, painting, dancing, or anything else, our body, our mind, or both will force us to. Whether this happens through burnout, through the inability to focus and get things done, or whatever other way your inner self is forcing you to step away from that which doesn't feed your soul the way your passion does. The brakes will be stepped on, even if we don't feel like it, yet for this we must be thankful. We must rejoice at the fact that our inner self signals that there is a need for our creative self to be recharged. And while it can be hard to make the time, to step away from something that is so demanding in regards to our time and energy - being able to do so, to recharge yourself with your passions, will only allow you to do more and go further in the long run, on all fronts.

self help

About the Creator

Leona Françoise Caanen

2x published author. World-traveller. 24 year-old, living in Amsterdam. Love connecting with new people & sharing stories about life.

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