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Creativity: An Antidote in Uncertain Times
On coming back to bursts of creativity when life gets weird.
My creativity has always been there for me during times of transition.
If ever I'm up against a new set of circumstances – be they positive or puzzling – my creative side is always there to smooth over the shifts in my day-to-day experience.
Finding myself in another life-change-induced creative surge has me reflecting on past examples and looking for the patterns:
After I finished grad school and moved from New York to Chicago, I went on a crafting spree. I filled my time trying textile arts, doing home DIYs, and teaching art workshops.
During the pandemic, I immersed myself in the world of fine jewelry, launching a brand and designing a collection of my own.
Buying a house led to a whirlwind of painting and decorating adventures. Once those wrapped up, I spent a couple of months in creative hibernation before reemerging to take a slew of abstract painting and ceramics classes.
These days, I'm savoring the first weeks of motherhood and maternity leave away from work. Once again, I find myself in a time of adjustment, reaching for creative comforts. This time, I'm art journaling and sewing animal dolls for my daughter (but really for myself).
Even though I jump from one type of project to another, there are definitely common themes. Mostly related to why it helps to lean into my creativity when things are in transition.
Here’s what makes creativity the perfect antidote during those times:
People sometimes ask me how I find the time and energy for big creative projects when the rest of my life seems filled to the brim with other to-dos.
A creative practice isn't just another energy-draining to-do, though. It's a source of energy!
It's nourishing and grounding – like a lovely warm meal followed by a good long nap under a cozy blanket. It's just what I need when life feels hectic or unfamiliar.
It's identity affirming
Some life transitions naturally spark mini identity crises: Graduating. Leaving one job for another. Finishing a major project. Moving. Entering parenthood.
Closing one chapter without knowing what to do next – or starting an exciting new phase with a little healthy uncertainty – can be a bit unsettling.
But re-engaging with my creative side that’s always been there reminds me that I’m still me, no matter what I’m up to or how things pan out.
It makes the world disappear for a while
I know I’m not the only one who falls into overthinking or over-Googling when faced with new circumstances and the learning curves and questions that come with them.
Getting into flow state is a sure way to forget about all of that. When I’m creating something, I’m only in the present, focusing on process and tactile pleasures. It’s calming and meditative. The rest just melts away.
It creates a sense of accomplishment
As much as I’d love to answer all the big life questions before teatime, these things take some trial and error.
Making progress on a creative project makes it feel like I have a little mastery of something. I can celebrate the small wins and take a break from the serious stuff.
Do you need a dose of creativity?
Whenever the ground shifts and I feel a little lost, getting lost in handmade work helps me find my way again. If you're in a changing season, too, it might help to get back in touch with your creative side.
And it doesn't really matter what type of project you choose. Revisiting an old favorite or picking up something new can provide the right amount of calm and comfort just when you need it.