Every woman juggling all the things knows how tempting it is to start the day off scrolling before we’ve even left our beds and our feet have hit the floor. But do we know what that’s doing to our creative spirit? Do we realize how much the constant content consumption is depleting us of our creative juices and replacing our ability to generate authentic ideas with copycat material?
As a creative entrepreneur and homeschooling mom, I’ve come to recognize just how necessary it is to safeguard my brain from consuming too much content if I want to nurture my own creative spirit, inspire my kids, and live a life that feels free of Pinterest-pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest, Instagram, and easy access to family and friends through Facebook, texting, emailing, and every other communication app. But I also know that these tools can add pressure to my day, drown out the needs of the loved ones directly in front of me, and sap my creative energy. The sheer amount of time I spend staring at a screen directly correlates to both my desire and ability to create and inspire.
The sheer amount of time I spend staring at a screen directly correlates to both my desire and ability to create and inspire.
So what does it mean for me to both avoid too much content consumption and actively create things that inspire me and serve others? Well, I’ve developed a two-pronged approach that incorporates both defensive and offensive strategies which I’ll share below.
Defending my brain and body from an overload of consumption includes the following habits I try to maintain:
1) I avoid starting my day off with scrolling, email checks, and text replies.
It’s easiest if my phone is kept in another room instead of by my bedside, but that doesn’t always happen. I’m working on that one! I know that beginning my day with prayer, devotions, a workout, or some tea in a quiet space is far more invigorating than lounging in bed staring at a dark screen. Will and I have started to get up to pray together at 6am every morning before the kids are up/allowed out of their room, and the days when we do this always leave us feeling more alive and excited to start our day…which is saying a lot especially for Will because he is NOT a natural morning person!
2) I respond to emails and messages in bulk and at times that suit me best.
Once I’ve gone through some more natural, organic rhythms to start my day, I’ll usually do a quick check of my emails, texts, and messages at which time I’ll move emails into folders to deal with later and make a list on paper of correspondence to attend to later in the day unless something truly requires my immediate attention. I don’t like messaging in front of my kids if I can help it, and also don’t thrive when there’s a message thread building up all morning while I’m trying to accomplish other tasks. Plus, messaging and emailing tend to require less creative energy than a lot of other things, so I’d rather tackle those during quiet time or after my kids have gone to bed.
3) I’ve turned off notifications on my phone.
I’ve turned off all notifications on my phone so I’m not constantly being made aware of every attempt to reach me. In truth, I generally have my phone on Do Not Disturb, but have enabled specific contacts to reach me even if my phone is on silent. Again, this helps me to stay present, efficient, and protective of my mental space.
Now that those defensive tactics are in play more regularly, I’ve been developing my offensive strategies to find more time to create in ways that are meaningful and fulfilling. This is the fun part!
If you don’t believe you’re the creative type, I encourage you to try experimenting with some new hobbies or potential interests just to see if you can nudge those creative juices into motion! It might be a slow, uphill struggle, but the benefits are beautiful and I can guarantee will absolutely lead to more thriving instead of surviving.
*Disclaimer – If you don’t think of yourself as the creative type, I would challenge you to reexamine that mindset. I believe we all have a creative bent, but for some it’s never been nurtured and for others, it’s been buried so deep for so long that it feels impossible to discover/recover. That’s a different topic for a different post, but if you don’t believe you’re the creative type, I encourage you to try experimenting with some new hobbies or potential interests just to see if you can nudge those creative juices into motion! It might be a slow, uphill struggle, but the benefits are beautiful and I can guarantee will absolutely lead to more thriving instead of surviving.
So here is what I’ve been doing on a regular basis to spark creativity:
1) I find ways to implement creative activity, no matter how simple, into most days.
I thrive on visual creation. Whether that’s arranging a vessel filled with clippings from our garden, or putting together a cute outfit complete with accessories for an event coming up, or laying out props and details for a flat lay shoot I’m assembling, I have lately realized that my best days are ones in which I’ve spent some period of time creating something of beauty that brings inspiration into my home or enlivens my soul. That could be as ordinary as dusting and refreshing a bookshelf, playing with watercolours at the table with my kids, repotting a plant or pruning the roses, or laying out a super simple charcuterie platter for myself at quiet time. I realize that not everybody has an aesthetic bent that needs to be nurtured in order to access their creative side (my husband is certainly not moulded that way) but for me I thrive best when I’m incorporating some element of aesthetic creativity into my day.
2) Creating before consuming has a positive affect on the rest of my day.
Creating before consuming sparks ideas for other aspects of my day. If I spend a little time doing something creative first thing in the morning, be it in my office or at home, I find the rest of my day is inspired. I have more verve and excitement for homeschool lessons and cooking, seek out small ways to make errands and menial tasks more fun, and in general, have a more pleasant outlook on life than when I’m not accessing my creative side. I also tend to be more thoughtful and intentional with my email and text responses, which is never a bad thing!
3) I try to avoid going online for inspiration–at least initially.
If I’m stuck and have no natural inclination to create anything, be it a journal entry or our next meal, I try to avoid going online to look for inspiration. Sometimes just reading a chapter from a book, looking through old photos, taking a walk, eating something refreshing, or honestly, taking a nap (I’m not usually a napper except for when I’m pregnant) can be all I need to jumpstart my creative juices. I usually tend to hop online for further inspiration once I already have an idea in mind and need to flesh out the details, but try to avoid this as my first stop.
Sometimes just reading a chapter from a book, looking through old photos, taking a walk, eating something refreshing, or taking a nap can be all I need to jumpstart my creative juices.
Do any of these seem like options that would prompt a more creative, inspiring lifestyle for you? If you want to be more intentional about finding rhythms that lead to more creativity and inspiration, I would love to be a part of that journey. Just hop over here and subscribe to my newsletter updates where I’ll provide you with fresh ideas and creative prompts on a regular basis. These updates are succinct, yet filled with rich nuggets meant to revitalize your lifestyle and refresh your creative endeavours so you can lead your life with beauty, adventure, and purpose. And really, who doesn’t want that?