Do you feel too overworked and overstressed to possibly take time for art? I’ve been there — and more recently than you think!
The Path is Not a Straight Line
I’m always encouraging others to live a more creative life. You might think that I’ve got it all figured out — but you’d be wrong. The truth is, I’m still on my own journey that is nowhere near concluding. I mess up, and I have to take time to acknowledge that fact.
With the turning of a new year, I have the opportunity to self-reflect and adjust my patterns to aim for a better 2023. Whether you are a college student, creative professional, overworked parent, or any other person who feels overwhelmed by life’s pressures and responsibilities – this post is for you.
All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Hot Mess
It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of work and forget about taking time for art. I especially have this problem because I’m in a unique position where my hobbies and work overlap, leaving me unsure where the line between the two lies.
On top of that, we wrapped up our first year of Foxsy. This led to many stressful deadlines and tasks in the last few months of 2022. That meant lots of late nights, pushing my limits, and little to no social time outside of work. It’s no surprise that I limped into the holidays exhausted and depleted. As I took my first breath during the holiday break in what felt like months, I knew that this pace could not continue.
My Need for Control
There were two main reasons why I experienced this struggle these past few months: a need for control and a lack of smart priorities.
I was constantly stretched thin and struggling with my to-do list because I hoarded tasks to myself instead of relying on my team. We have a team of four, and I found that I avoided sharing tasks with others because I was afraid to let go of control.
In addition to that, I was focusing a lot of time on the wrong things — once I had a moment to step back and look at the bigger picture, I realized I was working harder, not smarter. This holiday break was the perfect opportunity for me to reset and recalibrate to figure out a more sustainable path forward.
Free Play Fridays
There are lots of changes I’m making to my life to give myself some space to breathe, including doing more fun dates with Jon, planning some trips in the coming months, and generally easing up on the high expectations for myself. But one major change that I’m trying out for a few months is a new Friday routine for myself — I’m finally taking the time for art!
For January and February, I’m blocking out Fridays to be a day of lighthearted, creative play. These days will be free of computer work, writing, or any of the heavy tasks that cause stress. Instead, I’ll be free to chase butterflies and explore new ideas without the pressure of time eating at me. I’ll be able to try new mediums, play with new subjects, or sketch to my heart’s content.
The Benefits of Taking Time for Art
A part of me feels guilty for taking such a luxury. I’ve always had a hard time enjoying my art without some pangs of guilt — but one thing I do to help with that nagging feeling is by remembering all the incredible ways art benefits me.
- Making art does wonders for my stress relief and significantly helps my mood. Having this tool in my pocket is especially important since I was diagnosed with depression in 2022.
- Taking time to relax and work on creativity lets my mind slip into problem-solving mode. I’ve had so many eureka moments while I’m making art because I let my mind take a break.
- If I plan on keeping my existing skills sharp or learning anything new, I have to devote time to it — just like everyone else. And I’m a professional artist, for Pete’s sake! I need to be taking time for art if I want to be a good business person, anyway.
Moving Forward in 2023
I’m still trying to figure out the right balance between being an artist, business owner, and hobbyist. Maybe this isn’t the right way forward. All I know is that I can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results.
If you’ve gotten this far, then I bet you can relate to the struggle of taking time for art. When you find yourself in the same predicament and suffering from a lack of creativity, then it’s time to reassess. Where are you pouring your time and energy, and how much value are you getting from those efforts? How could you potentially carve out some time for yourself?
Perhaps you won’t have a full day each week to give to creative time, and that’s okay! I recognize that not everyone will have this luxury. However, see if you can give yourself an evening each week for creative work. Maybe just a few hours will scratch the itch and help you feel more well-rounded. Maybe a class each month on Foxsy is the right amount for you.
No matter how you approach it, remember that your creativity is worth the effort. I’m refocusing my efforts and making 2023 my year of creativity, and I want you to join me! Pursuing your creative interests is always a good investment of your time and money, so don’t deny yourself any longer. Today’s the day you make a change for yourself.