I’m feeling quite drained at the moment. Work is very busy and when I do have free time I’m trying to fit in my journaling – both written and art journaling.
I’ve been listening to an audio book in my car on the way to work which is fascinating: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. The book gives quite specific details of the daily working/creative rituals of artists, writers, musicians, philosophers and other creatives from all different time periods.
One thing that has stood out to me is how often each of these daily rituals include some form of investment in creative energy.
What I mean is this: when we spend a lot of time working, or creating, or socialising, we are effectively spending our creative energy. These are activities whereby we produce and our energy flows outwards.
If we do too much of these activities, particularly if we are introverted, we can end up feeling a bit drained.
Our society puts a lot of emphasis on being productive and expending energy, but we need to make sure that we are taking the time to renew that creative energy too.
I think it’s really important to balance this with doing restful and rejuvenating things whereby we ‘refill’ our creative energy tanks. These are things where we receive something, rather than produce something. I guess it’s like receiving inspiration, in a way. It’s like a sort of investment in our creative bank account, so that we then have enough to ‘spend’ later.
For me, things where I consider myself to be spending my creative energies are:
- Socialising with groups of people
- Art journaling (certain kinds)
- Doing housework
- Doing things for others (most of my day job is about this)
So I need to remember to balance this with activities that refill my creative tanks and renew my creative energy:
- Listening to inspiring/relaxing music
- Listening to audio books
- Listening to guided meditations
- Journaling (although I technically ‘produce’ something when journaling, the act of deliberately thinking, writing and reflecting fills me up more than it drains me)
- Sitting with a cup of tea/coffee in the morning sun, being still and taking my time
- Long walks
- Spending time with people who get me and inspire me – usually having long and interesting talks
- Cuddles with my partner or puppy
- Watching an interesting documentary or inspiring movie
I’m not suggesting that one list is better or more important than the other. To me, it’s about balance. We need to spend our creative energies, but of course we also need to invest in them.
Take a fresh page in your journal. Create two headings:
- How I spend my creative energy
- How I renew my creative energy
List all the things you can think of under each heading. Your lists may look similar to mine or they may be very different. It all comes down to what works for you.
If you’re not sure which heading to put something under, consider this: does the activity leave you feeling more tired/drained or rejuvenated/refreshed afterwards?
Now, think about whether or not your life has a good balance between the two lists. If not, consider how you can bring in more of the other to create more balance for your creative energy.