Recently, my body and brain and heart have all told me in no uncertain terms that enough is enough.
(This fluffy cat of mine also regularly gets in my way enough to give me a hint that I should be cuddling her, not working…)
They are tired and they need to stop. I wrote about this in more detail over on my personal blog, but suffice to say that seven years of doing something every single day without fail means a huge amount of progress, but also that a temporary break is quite necessary.
But surprisingly hard – habits don’t break easily, and my business habits are well-ingrained. As I said in my last blog newsletter…
Stopping for a while doesn’t mean stopping forever.
*makes mental note to remind self of this*
We are conditioned to be busy, and to glorify busy and tired as proof that we are working hard and doing important things.
Yet sometimes, we spend so much time being tired and busy that we lose sight of what it is we truly want. And stopping temporarily can give us a rare chance to step back and reevaluate our lives, and decide what direction we actually want to move in.
I haven’t quite mastered waving a wand to make things happen but I live in hope…!
My creative well hasn’t quite run dry yet, but I’m very conscious that I’ve been abusing it – drawing and drawing and relying on it to provide what I need without filling it at all. My body and brain, similarly – I have been feeding it junk and denying it sunlight and exercise, and still expecting it to function consistently and at a high level.
And what I need – what we all need in our businesses and our lives, in order to stay sane and fulfilled and happy, and for our businesses not to turn into gilded cages – is time to do the things that light me up personally.
The things that, yes, are related to what I do in my businesses, but the things that I so rarely get to do because there is so much else that my attention & time should be on.
Like going to the beach, sitting in the garden and reading a whole book cover to cover, spending the afternoon at the pub with friends playing board games, concocting new recipes and trying them out, writing for no reason except that I want to, making jewellery for joy and to wear not to sell, and shooting for my own personal portfolio.
I have so much in my imagination that I want to make reality, with costumes and locations and shooting and editing, to try and give life to the visions I have. And those shoots in turn will improve and expand my skill set and the abilities I can bring to client shoots – whether it’s different lighting, new ways of editing or just particularly effective posing. (There’s no better way to learn to pose clients than by posing yourself for self-portraits – but that’s a whole other post of its own).
And there are several weddings this summer which I want to enjoy with my whole heart, as dear friends move into a new phase of their lives.
Our creative selves are nourished by good food, plentiful rest, joyful movement and most of all by doing things that are not directly related to our businesses.
And part of the joy of still having a day job is that you can take a break without feeling guilty, and without worrying about where the next mortgage payment is coming from.
So while I am of course completing my existing bookings with joy, and taking new ones from September onwards, July and August are going to be mainly about refilling that creative well of mine.
What do you do to keep your creativity flowing and your sanity intact?