Thirty years of expectations, stress, worries, heartaches + headaches, had wound this thread up so tight it became simply a knot in my stomach that I ignored. But the wheels of change were set in motion the moment I met my newborn son. I was joyful + relaxed, and through bonding with him, I reconnected with myself.
Yes, motherhood prompted me to reevaluate everything, like it does for so many of us. The break in my career, combined with the beautiful shock of bringing a new soul into the world; the inevitable unravelling of life as it was, as I disappeared into the hours of feeding + soothing at all times of the day and night… it most definitely creates a weird kind of chaos + quiet. So much is unknown + so much is out of our control – which was extremely daunting for Ms Organised over here!
I suddenly found the rare moments I had to myself were spent writing + reading + being creative, and this newfound outlet unexpectedly gave me a sense of peace + clarity.
It makes sense, right? Particularly in the first few months of newborn life, I was a slave to the feeding + sleeping routine which left me and bubs mostly house bound; my husband was back at work (as were most of my childless friends), which left little ol’ me with a baby for company who – while extremely cuddly + swoon-worthy – was not a great conversationalist! So I turned to my old friend pen + paper for company, and that friendship blossomed into a love for all things creative.
It seems I wasn’t so alone after all. From blogging to break-dancing, screen printing to sewing – everywhere I look there women are reconnecting with their creative side + making their hearts and the world a better place. My sister had a career in the beauty industry + is now creating custom-made shoes and children’s clothing (+ I didn’t even know she could sew!). A close friend of mine is now selling her truly amazing artwork while juggling a fulltime publicity job + two preschoolers. Another who worked in finance has opened her own music + dance class for toddlers. The one problem we all share is we’re struggling to find the time we so desperately crave for indulging our creative selves.
How can I find time to be creative when I can barely find time to have a shower?! Turns out, pretty easily.
I seemingly had no trouble finding time to flick through the hangers in my wardrobe aimlessly, analysing what I might wear that wasn’t white + did fit. I somehow found time to flick through old photos on my phone, reminiscing about past holidays or dinners out or shoes I spotted + wanted, or a combination of all three. I even found time to watch Dr Phil every now and again. So when I actually stopped for a moment + thought about the unproductive time I was wasting each day, I realised I did have time to be creative + that it would be time very well spent.
Taking time to be creative is my way of holding onto who I am, so that I can put the rest of my heart + soul into my beautiful family. And I want this for you too.
I believe this creative resurgence we’re seeing in women around the globe stems from a desire to better express ourselves + to find an identity outside of simply “mum”. My head was telling me what my heart already knew – creative expression would help me to be me, would clarify my thought processes + energise my mood, while giving me a sense of balance in my life. Which is all important stuff, right? So I made an investment in myself by deciding to spend 10 minutes every day to nurture my creative self, and you should too. To some of you, 10 minutes to yourself might be the stuff of fairytales. You are considering tapping out of this post already, because the whole premise is unattainable. You start the day in a panic, end the day in your PJs, and certainly have no room to breathe let alone create. If this is what you’re thinking, do not go anywhere! I will find you 10 minutes, I promise..
Why should you keep reading? Making 10 minutes for your creative pursuits, will be life changing – that’s why.
While I can be a combination of sinking, swimming, laughing + crying at any given second, I know that the days I feel the absolute best are the days when I find time for a little bit of creativity. However small this window of time is, it brightens me instantly and feels nurturing + worthwhile + purposeful. For me, this is the one teeny tiny aspect of the day that’s mine + I never feel guilty about it.
If you’re actually thinking that 10 minutes doesn’t sound like much time to get anywhere with anything, I beg to differ. It absolutely is. I read this blog post a while back about how 10 minutes can change your life. The call to action is to identify your biggest [in this case – creative] goal (like, “I’m going to learn how to knit a scarf” or “I’m going to redecorate our living space”). You then tell everyone about it + subsequently commit to spending 10 minutes a day enjoying it and working on it. Some days you’ll find more time and some days will be a write off, but the point is to get into the habit of making your creativity a priority.
In fact, Flicker & Flock was created in just 10 minutes a day, as I explained in this post about how I achieved my New Years resolution in just 10 minutes. So I know that 10 minutes can do a lot!
Trust me when I say that 10 minutes to yourself will be enlightening, refreshing + most probably more than you have enjoyed for a while (which you totally deserve + should never feel guilty about). Who knows – this could be the start of a new business venture or uncover a talent you never knew you had or be the first time you’ve truly felt inner contentment. This is your time to shine brighter than you ever have before. You have nothing to lose… go for it!
Anyway, I have rambled on enough! So here is my tried + true + completely unscientific Top 10 Tricks to finding at least 10 minutes in your day to be creative – even if you do have toddlers nipping at your heels or teenagers pestering you about dinner…
- Make a commitment. Decide right now that you are going to do this, and those precious 10 minutes will magically appear. We can do whatever we commit our minds to ladies!
- Take 10 in the AM. By this I mean, take your 10 minutes of creativity at the first possible opportunity. Before you do the washing, before you check your emails, before you make the beds, before you browse Pinterest, or before you do anything else that’s non-essential. It’s just 10 minutes – the same amount of time you spend talking to a friend who rings unexpectedly or the time it takes you to find your car keys that have been conveniently misplaced by your toddler – you DO have the time, trust me. Just sit down + have your fun creative time before you get swept up in the day. The world won’t end, I promise you.
- Get into the right headspace. Not the mind-numbing zone we often find ourselves in on the hamster wheel of life, but the more productive and creative kind that comes with having a clear head. It’s amazing how beneficial mindfulness meditation or gentle yoga or 20 proper deep breaths can be at restoring your drive for everything – including your creativity. I find that if I start the day in this way, my whole day goes more smoothly + I easily find 10 minutes of peace to be creative.
- Outsource your life. Can you get a cleaner in so you can spend what was once your toilet scrubbing time on your artwork instead? Can your kids carpool to school one morning a week with a friend so that you can save travel time + practise your calligraphy? Talk to your friends and family about who can help you out – you might be surprised what you’re able to outsource.
- Embrace technology. They don’t call it a smartphone for nothing; there’s so much they can do for you, creativity included! You could listen to inspiring podcasts whenever you find yourself with a spare few minutes. Download creative apps + eBooks that interest you, so you can pull them out the next time you find yourself waiting in a queue at the post office or on hold with your electricity provider. I got through so many novels on my iPhone during the hours and hours of breastfeeding – it kept me awake + made that time even more productive. Win win.
- Weave creativity into your everyday. Sometimes you don’t need to find an extra 10, you just need to do what you’re doing every day with more creativity. If you’re making the kids lunches – cut the sandwiches in an interesting shape + try to arrange the fruit to make a smiley face. When you’re getting dressed, switch up your outfit + experiment with more colour or accessories (bright nail polish is my go-to). If there’s a friend’s birthday coming up – make them a card instead of buying one. If your living room needs a refresh – make your own artwork to hang. The possibilities to be an “artiste” in your everyday is endless.
- Start a “pick up put down” creative project. By this I mean something that you can easily come back to and pick up where you left off, because doing a little bit by bit will eventually turn into a lot. Learning the trombone might be tricky when you’re time poor + have a sleeping baby upstairs. Cross stitch, mindfulness colouring and upcycling a coffee table are all much smarter “pick up put down” projects.
- Take a creative course. Take the plunge + learn something new from an expert. Whether it’s via an online course or in your local community centre, there are so many wonderful people out there willing to share their expertise + tips + how-to steps about anything you can possibly imagine. I find that if you have to be in class at a certain time, or log into a webinar, or complete your course materials, then you’re far more likely to take the time to do it.
- If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Some days my preschoolers are my little shadows. They follow me wherever I go, they do what I do, they eat what I eat, they sneeze when I sneeze. On these days filled with extra-clinginess (+ bonus cuddles) I know it’s better to get them involved in my creative time too. Sometimes I will set up some crafts or paints for them to play around with themselves, and sometimes I get them to help me if I have a project on the go that’s kid-friendly. My only rule is that I spend at least 10 minutes on my own creative project if I can, before I collaborate with them with their collage or painting or pipe cleaner necklaces.
- Don’t give up! If you simply can’t manage to find the time for yourself on any given day, don’t give up! Brush yourself off + start the next day afresh. There are always going to be days when life gets in the way – our kids are unwell, our boss is being particularly demanding, the traffic jam adds an extra hour’s commute. Just remember that your creative time is a choice not a chore, and is there for you to enjoy.
There’s one last thing you need to know about me – I’m not particularly amazing at any one creative thing nor would I describe myself as a creative person, but I love to dabble in it all + truly gain so much joy from it. Probably just like you. So I really hope that the above ideas + suggestions do help you to find time to be creative – I would love to know! Tell me too, do you have any other tips or ideas on how I can make even more time for creativity in my day? x