Go with the energy you have; it may just surprise you…

Hi everyone,

If you’re reading this before 1.30pm today (Monday), then I’ll be gearing up with my first Instagram Live for @psychologiesmagazine, the first one in a series to help you ‘Gain Creative Confidence’. I’ll be chatting ‘Live’ about all the things I talk about on here, plus adding in a small creative task each week, as a little prompt to encourage people to have a go.

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If you are a new reader that’s come from watching today, then welcome!

Each week I dig into an area of creativity, ranging from procrastination to refining your style, from seasonal prompts to interviewing local creatives. Creativity is a complex subject that still fascinates me 68 blog posts in and I hope it will you too…now on to today’s topic!

Where’s your energy at?

Today’s thoughts, as often is the case, came from one of my photos that I took at the reservoir out with the dog. It’s been a while since I’ve been to this particular one and when this happens, I notice so much more how things have changed since I was last there. All the grasses had grown tall, taking over the path and flowering.

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I took this photo, in the breeze and so it captured some movement and some stillness, against the backdrop of a blue sky, reflected in the water.

For some reason I couldn’t get this image out of my head all week and found myself in periods of intense movement, creatively, followed by some stillness in the very hot weather – it was just too hot to do anything!

Now, normally this would really frustrate me and I’d lapse into feeling agitated, feeling like I should be doing something, I should be getting on with things, I have an ever expanding list with lots to do and be ticked off on it. But for once, I actually wrote this in my planner:

Go with the flow today’ and it was a good reminder. It’s very easy to get hung up on that ‘list’ when you have lots going on, but I recognised a few things have changed for me lately, and maybe it was starting to pay off? This is what I’ve changed:

As someone who is NOT a morning person, I’ve added a gentle routine to ease me into the day. I’ve always appreciated that first morning cuppa, along with being pounced on by the dog, but now I’ve added in 2 writing practices inspired Nicola Rae Wickham of @alifemoreinspired and the Dream and Do podcast who advises Create before you consume, first thing in the morning.

So now in the morning I do:

  • The morning pages, inspired by the fab Julia Cameron, author of The Artists, downloading any random or purposeful thoughts, writing in a Gratitude list for the previous day and my intentions for that day also.
  • ‘5 minutes in the morning’ focus journal, which gives particular prompts each day for you to write about such as goal setting, fears, abundance and problem solving
  • And then I quickly tidy up the bombsite of a kitchen (thanks kids) and get to work…

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And in the evening, a routine also seems to be coming together…

  • I take a walk up the lane when it’s nearing the golden hour or sunset to take photos for my @soothedbynature Instagram account. In just 20 minutes I’m likely to see the lambs, calves, horses and alpacas from the farm, kestrels diving or buzzards circling, swifts or swallows dipping in the fields, and even 2 big hares in a particular field at the top. Add into this the light skimming the grasses and flowers and of course the amazing sunsets we are so lucky to have around here and it’s a great way to slow down your day, soothe the senses and just take it all in.
  • If I don’t go on a walk, I might pop on the exercise bike we’ve recently got and listen to an inspiring / funny podcast (see here for a link to my favourites!) and this is all to get out of my head and just reconnect with my body and use some physical energy, not just mental.
  • Next, when I head to bed, I now have a new essential oils, oiling up regime thanks to the lovely Tamara of @missbeatyscupboard! This is all to help me post chemo with some of the rubbish side effects to help me sleep, and support my hair growing back! It does literally smell like a massage parlour in the bedroom now though!
  • And finally, this is nothing new but essential to my routine! I read on my kindle, it’s the only thing that completely switches me off, a really good absorbing story.

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My new essential oils helping me on my night time routine

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This week I met this bull and his Mrs up the lane!

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I love going out in the ‘golden hour’ 

The surprising thing that I noticed, was that just by taking the pressure off myself, slowing down and sticking to the above, I was still as productive, just in a less harried, more effective way which I’ve heard spoken about by experts like Dr Chaterjee on the ‘Feel better live more’ podcast but if I’m honest I never actually believed could be true! Shows what I know!

I felt much calmer and recognised that perhaps it was these regular self-care practices that were now working as they become more habitual. By creating the mental space, it gave me clarity on priorities and my direction, and I gained more joy and satisfaction from the ‘work’ (although to me it never is that!).

On the days were I felt less energy, I allowed myself to catch up with friends in the sunshine, do some gardening and sketching but I’ve also had some insightful conversations and planning sessions that I know will have a big impact in taking The Curious Creative Club forward.

It’s made me realise how much I love the planning stage too, working it all out, finding those nuggets that you have an instinct about, that could really work, it’s an exciting time!

And so, the ‘swaying grasses’ photo is becoming one of my favourites, as recognition to go with that breeze of energy and I’m going to use it for my next adventure into exciting territory – Curious Coaching.

I know too that those grasses will inspire me in other ways, I picked a bunch for a vase for example in my kitchen and I know I’ll have a go at drawing them soon, they remind me of @hannahnunnstudio beautiful designs.

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If you think this could work for you then ask yourself the following questions, recognising that ebb and flow is actually so important in the creative process and sometimes we have to be more mindful and consciously tap into this.

  • It’s a simple question but upon waking just ask yourself, how do you feel today?
  • Then think about the types of work on your list, what is your gut instinct telling you to do today rather than what you think you should be doing today?

For example, there could be some short admin tasks that don’t take up a lot of energy but would feel good to get done, or you may be feeling energised with lots of creative ideas – time to use that energy burst and get that story down or paint that commission you’ve been holding back from attempting

  • Build in some self-care activities to your day, to break up periods of intense concentration and move your body. Yes, creative work is gratifying and interesting, but our minds can only deal with intense attention for so long, we need to take breaks too to avoid creative burn-out
  • Reward yourself, note in your planner what you’ve got done, feel proud of what you’ve achieved and then stop, grab that cuppa and head outside for some fresh air
  • Avoid listing any more than 3 main tasks a day, which is incredibly hard sometimes, but you’ll feel far better achieving those 3 and doing them well, than ticking off 3 out of 10 and feeling disappointed
  • If you feel ‘stuck’ with your regular work, instead use this time to plan again and dream big, it re-invokes the excitement in your work and helps you to future-think and keep moving forwards.
  • And have regular check-ins on your achievements throughout the year, have a celebration meeting with yourself, as I suggested last week on my blog post here
  • Finally, notice what changes work and consider building a habitual routine in the morning, evening or both, starting off and ending your day positively and with intention has such an impact on your confidence and well-being.

For more on this and some great self-care 5 minute activities, check out Dr Chatterjee’s Book – ‘Feel Better in 5’.

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I hope this helps you to tune into your energy as you move through the week and remove the guilt from what you think you ‘should’ be doing, and for those eternal ‘should-ers’ replace it with the word ‘could’,  I promise it makes all the difference!

Do let me know how you get on; I’d love to know!

Until next time, keep being safe as we head into restrictions being lifted!

Juliet, the curious creative x

Ps for those wanting to watch the Live from @psychologiesmagazine today just click the link after 2pm.

I’ll also always add the task to Psychologies Connected Community Facebook group, so please have a look if you fancy joining in.

4 Comments on “Go with the energy you have; it may just surprise you…

  1. So excited for you today Juliet. I will be tuning in…. of course! Your post has energised me too! 2/3 ticks off the list so far and it’s only midday. Xx xx

    Like

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