Creativity During Tough Times

There are two types of people in the world: those who channel their stress into creativity during tough times, and those who feel blocked by it.

2020 was a year of tough times, and 2021 seems to be heading in that same direction. (Insert: face-palm.)

If you’re like me, you might find that you need to be creative just to manage all the stress and emotions. I wrote a lot during 2020. I painted. I decorated my house. I baked bread. I needed those creative outlets to just process everything.

Creativity (in ALL its forms) is a way of visually (or auditorily, or tactilely, etc.) working through strong emotions that you might not know what to do with. I have found that I ALWAYS feel better after doing something productive, usually with my hands.

We are creative (and created) beings! Even if you think you’re not a “creative person,” you are. Creativity takes many forms.

Just look at children: I have one child who likes to write comic books, one child who likes to build with LEGOS and one child who plays pretend with her baby doll. Some children build forts, some draw pictures, and some sing into a pretend microphone. All are different expressions of creativity.

Maybe for you it’s playing music, maybe it’s painting or writing. But maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s cooking, or working with your hands, or writing a budget, or baking, or organizing your pantry. It doesn’t matter.

You are a creative person.

But what if, like many people, 2020 (and now 2021) made you feel stuck? The stress and high emotions strangled your creativity, and you weren’t able to do anything? You didn’t write one word, or make anything, or do anything productive.

Maybe you were just trying to survive.

You know what? That’s valid.

And with 2021 starting off just as bad as 2020, it might be another tough year.

The good news is, when you’re ready, you will pursue those things again. Or maybe, your creativity might look different in the coming year. And that’s okay, too.

If you feel blocked or stuck, instead of putting pressure on yourself to “do something creative,” give yourself permission to fill up on other people’s work that inspires you. Listen to music that lifts you up, or read books that you love. View images that inspire you or that you find beautiful. Look up new recipes, just for fun. Whatever fills you up, surround yourself in it.

(And may I suggest you turn off the TV and stop the doom scrolling? That won’t help at all.)

Fill up with good things, so that when you’re ready to get back to writing or working, or whatever, you’re ready.

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