Updated: Feb 23
I was sitting on the ground, completely engulfed in the dance before my eyes. An invisible paintbrush lit up the screen with strokes of vibrant color that transformed into beautiful works of art. It was as if I was watching Van Gogh himself paint his original masterpieces. I was AWESTRUCK by the symphony of color, light, movement, and sound —it was magical!
I had experienced something wonderful—a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
Can you remember the last time you saw something that took your breath away or had you stand in awe?
We don't often think about finding moments like these as "important" or even necessary, perhaps, but according to Dr. Saundra, it is essential to finding Creative Rest.
WHAT IS CREATIVE REST?
Creative rest is allowing "white space" in your life and giving room for your creativity to show up.
I thought finding creative rest meant pursuing ways to be creative and devoting time to "make it happen."
Instead, I learned that our creativity shows up when we "unplug" our brain from any planning, organizing, producing, or problem-solving and soak up the wonder and awe around us.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
When we don't allow ourselves to experience wonder or awe, it starts showing up in startling ways.
Have you ever finished a long day of work and wondered if anybody noticed? Do you ever close your kids' bedroom door at night and feel unappreciated, undervalued, or unimportant? Do you feel selfish when you decide to do something for yourself?
All of these are signs of a Creative Rest Deficit. Here are a few more to consider:
You always focus on the needs of others and don't consider your needs a priority.
You talk yourself out of self-care as if you don't deserve being cared for.
You do self-destructive things or make choices that sabotage your happiness.
You find it difficult to enjoy things in nature or in their natural state.
It was eye-opening to discover that Creative Rest Deficit affects not only my overall sense of "rest," but it impacts how I feel about myself and contributes to low self-worth. That deserves our attention.
WAYS TO FIND CREATIVE REST
Once I understood the importance of creative rest, I made a plan and found a few ways to incorporate it into my already busy life. Here are some suggestions for you to consider:
We find Creative Rest in all things beautiful—anything that inspires us ignites our imagination or fills us with gratitude.
I love walking in nature; whether strolling through a local park or walking barefoot on the beach, I derive such pleasure from being outdoors. In an article entitled "Nurtured by Nature" by the APA, findings show that 'exposure to nature is linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders, and even an increase in empathy and cooperation.'
Whether you have access to a hiking trail, live by the ocean, near the mountains, or simply have time to walk in your neighborhood, getting outside is the key. Being in nature provides "white space" for our brain to absorb the beauty around us and find creative rest.
What things in nature fill you with awe and wonder?
Art in any form is an expression or application of human creativity, skill, and imagination that is beautiful and expresses important ideas or feelings. These are the seven main types of art.
I don't have an ounce of artistic talent in my blood, so I find all forms of art amazing. I marvel at how others can create inspiring pieces through various means and bring beauty to life. I especially enjoy paintings, sculptures, cinema, and music. Although we can't always go to the theatre, a museum, or attend a concert, there are simple ways to enjoy the arts.
One way, of course, is to have art pieces in your home. I have a few works of art that bring me tremendous joy. Some pieces remind me of places I've traveled to, some reflect my heritage, some are landscapes, and some are hand-made drawings or crafts my children have made. They all bring a smile to my face and help me "escape" into awe and wonder, even if only for a moment.
Another way to enjoy the arts is by listening to MUSIC! Luckily, music is a form of art readily available to us. When I am tired, frustrated, or in a funk, nothing shifts my mood more quickly or easily than music—which I love. But there is something altogether different about just listening to music for pure enjoyment, like when I'm in the car or getting ready in the morning, making dinner, or getting ready for bed. I become entirely absorbed by the sound, the rhythm, and the melody—it's awesome!
As places start to open back up, I look forward to attending concerts, visiting museums, and going to the theatre again!
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
A fascinating insight from Dr. Saundra Smith is that our creativity can flow more easily when we listen to our body rhythms.
When we pay attention to our circadian rhythms, the natural cycle that lets us know when to go to sleep and wake up, we'll experience less frustration and more productivity. To do so means using key times during the day to do different types of work.
For example, the mornings are ideal for mentally taxing work because it is when our brains are most focused and refreshed.
In contrast, in the afternoon, usually between 1 p.m.—4 p.m., our brains become more easily distracted and have a more challenging time doing the "heavy lifting." This is a great time to take a walk, make, and return calls.
Then in the evenings, our creative brain "turns on" again. One of the challenges with this is not getting carried away or "hyperfocused" as to stay up too late and mess with our sleep cycle.
When I work with my body's internal clock, I am more efficient, more productive, and expend less energy which, of course, makes me happy.
Another way to listen to my body is by following my daytime rhythms.
Most of us are familiar with sleep cycles but did you know that we have a natural daytime rhythm too! Our bodies are so impressive; we have flow cycles roughly 90 minutes to 2-hours long. We can take advantage of this and optimize our performance by breaking our activities into 90-minute flows and taking a 20 break between each cycle to rest.
One of the best ways to do this is by using a calendar to time-block your day into 90 minutes sections allowing for breaks between tasks. Give it a go! — we would love to hear what you discover, share it with us in the comments below.
REKINDLE OLD HOBBIES
Think about what you loved to do in the past (pre-children). Did you love photography, painting, scrapbooking, card making, horseback riding, or bike riding? Maybe you loved taking classes, camping, or baking. Rediscover what you loved and ignite an old passion that brings you joy.
What old hobby will you rekindle?
Reading about creative rest made me think about how much being a mom requires creative work!! We are constantly thinking of creative ways to solve daily challenges. All the more reason, we need to step away from the mental "heavy lifting" of our daily tasks and immerse ourselves in awe and wonder.
We will return refreshed, relaxed, and better problem-solvers. We will discover newfound creativity that FLOWS!
What is ONE thing you will do to find Creative Rest?
Coco & Vicky
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