The holidays aren’t easy. They’re expensive and busy and all kinds of hectic, and unfortunately you might find yourself beleaguered with all kinds of stress. And as a creator, that stress can really inhibit the creative process. I know as it’s something that I’ve struggled with in the past. And to be fair, part of it is as simple as giving yourself permission to create. It can be a hard truth to deal with when it feels like there is so much already on your plate (especially during the holidays). But what do you do when you want to get back into writing or playing music or painting and you just feel tired? Out of it? Stuck?
There are a few obvious things you can do post-holiday to help eliminate some of that stress and return your life and mindset to a more ‘normal’ state. The first is to recover from the holidays and that includes:
Getting enough sleep
At least three meals a day – no take out because its fast or skipping meals because you have no time
Clean up – put away decorations, tidy the house, and especially your workspace!
- Getting your bills and expenses in order
But let’s say you did all that. You sit down at your desk with a hearty breakfast in your stomach and 8 hours of sleep behind you but you still don’t feel motivated. How do you refill your creative batteries?
Bring Your Mood Up
Do something you enjoy. Take time for yourself. Maybe you need to refill your creative batteries by consuming some media. Maybe you need a distraction for a while. Do something that brings you joy or triggers a happier, more relaxed mindset. It’s easy to put yourself on the back burner where the holidays are concerned. After all, it’s about spending time with friends and family. A time of giving. What you want is at the bottom of your to-do list, if it’s on the list at all.
If there is anything you’ve been itching to do, go ahead and do it. Spend a little time on you. It’s much easier to work when you’re in a positive mood than it is a negative one. Below I’ve listed a few ideas that might work for you:
- Going for a jog
- Go on a Netflix binge
- Cook something new
- Sketch something
- Paint a still life
- Go see a movie
- Cozy up with tea and a book
- Knit a scarf
- Listen to an audiobook
- Play video games
Now, these are things that make me happy, but hopefully they trigger something for you – something that will make you happy and help you relax.
Pull out a calendar, and set some goals. Clean out your closet. Get rid of old ornaments and decorations. Break in a new planner. Declutter your life. Think about what you want to get done in the new year and how you’re going to do it. Start the year with a strong step forward because let’s be honest, all the steps afterward won’t be near as assured. If you’re anything like me, a cluttered space means a cluttered mind. I can’t focus when my workspace is a mess, at least not as long or as efficiently as I would if it was tidy. If the new year makes you feel fresh and new it’s a good chance to organize your life and your living space.
Do Something Different
Repetition is the creative enemy. Maybe that’s why so many of us feel stymied in rigid schedules and the regular nine-to-five. Take a different route to work. Try something new for breakfast. Do something you’ve never done before to pull you out of the drab repetition now that the adrenaline-fueled panic (or excitement) of the holidays is over. Change up the colour of the font on your computer, use a different paintbrush or pen. These things probably sound a little arbitrary, and perhaps they are, but the hope is that they create some clarity. Pull you out of your stress-induced creative lack and into something new. Sometimes it just takes something small. Something you may not have considered before.
Just Do It
If all else fails to inspire some creative flow, the last thing I can recommend is to just start. Sometimes you just need to push past that block. It happens. And the best thing you can do is work through it rather than leave it alone. I get more stressed when I don’t work, and the more time passes, the more pressure I end up putting on myself. Even if it’s only a small step, start working. Write that paragraph. Sketch that design. Get those fingers moving and eventually the rest will fall into place.
As much as January is a goal-setting whirlwind, it can be hard to really buckle down and get to work. It’s like a lethargy takes over the post-holiday season and it can be hard to motivate yourself. At the same time, it’s a good opportunity to refuel. Re-energize. Re-organize. And kick the new year in the butt!
Have you ever struggled with motivation after the Holidays? What do you do to recharge?