Saturday January 31 , 2015




how to unwind and recharge - creatively

We have all heard about how important it is for our physical and mental health to take time to recharge and unwind to reduce stress.   I state clearly that Hamilton Hall is  a very good venue where you can do just that - in the comfort of a lovely venue and with friendly people,  yet some  really do not understand the concept and need a little help.  Some are so stressed that they cannot see the ' wood for the trees'  and feel trapped within their own mind-set of stress.  Especially these days with the current credit crisis causing huge amounts of financial and job insecurity,  gas and electric prices going up just at the time of year when 'apocalyptic bad weather' ( Daily Express October 21st 2013 )  was predicted ( yet never materialised - and these headlines are just designed to keep you stressed and living in fear )  and all this adds opressure on your relationships, which in turn adds stress and anxiety - panic attacks and a general feeling of emotional upset.

We  hear how important it is to level ourselves and de-stress and it is easy when in a workshop setting here and with a facilitator and instruction,  but not so easy when at home and alone.  It is not so easy to set that time apart to do something that will help and we tend to think nothing will help,  but you'd be wrong.

 In order to stay fresh and generate new ideas, it is vitally important to recharge. With that in mind, here are some more creative or unusual ways to get your creative juices flowing again.  You see, it is not all about  finding ' your inner peace'  through some kind of transendental meditation,  ( which while is brilliant,  is not for everyone )  and some simple and constructive things that can help are things we have all done in the past and maybe forgotten about and need to do again -  and while you can find something f your own,  here are a few suggestions.


While this might sound obvious, most of us often need a reminder to actually do something that taps into our creativity and expressiveness. Sing, paint, dance, take photos, learn a new instrument, learn to sculpt, or learn to design landscape.  Buy a home baking oven and get into baking your own bread.  Set yourself a re decoration challenge to re-do your bedroom or bathroom - and take your time and do it well.   Do anything that takes you out of your familiar zone and into a new one. If you don’t know where to start on your own, sign up for a class.

Over the years I have personally taken  Chinese Cookery / Photography / Shiatsu /  Numerous spiritual workshops and trainings / Paint effects ( how to paint a wall to look like marble )  and all sorts of things. 



Much has been written about how daydreaming is essential for writers and artists because some of their best ideas come that way.   But, it’s also essential for anyone who wants to de-stress and re-charge themselves and their creativity. Famous daydreamers including Newton, 
Einstein, and Edison came up with their greatest ideas via daydreams.  Tons of famous musical scores and film themes have come through this way and very often, late at night as you get in bed and start to drift off, an idea will often pop into your head and this is the time - with pen and paper beside the bed, to write these ideas down - as all too often, these will be the anbswers you have bene looking for.

Do something fun.

When we are having fun the best parts of ourselves come out. When we are having fun we don’t feel stress, and release the stress that we started with. So go ahead — jump on the bed, dance at a concert, visit a museum, put on your favourite Kylie CD or watch Yentle for the 200th time - draw with crayons, call a friend,  visit the park and take your dog for a long walk somewhere that brings you joy.
( I recently found a new walk with the most stunning views back over Christchurch and I absolutely love it. There is a field full of horses that sometimes come to the gate and I pat them and take apples for,  and the river and boats and the ancient church in the background always brings me joy )  
There is no “right or wrong” way to do this  -  do what YOU think is fun.

Join a dance class 

Or some other type of energetic class.  It gives you something to look forward to, you meet new people and you use up some energy that then helps you sleep better.  Physical activity is very good at clearing out some of the cobwebs in your mind as well as being good for your body.

Write a list

Start by writing two lists on seperate pads and take your time, you may even add things over the period of a few days or even weeks as you think of them.  One list - THINGS THAT GIVE ME JOY - MAKES ME SMILE AND LAUGH - and another list  THINGS THAT STRESS ME AND MAKE ME SAD.

Some ideas to get you started: write down all of the things you are happy about or are grateful for, list your dreams, your fun to-do list, all the things you have dreamt of doing but haven’t.  Youy may even lost things like Marmite ( love it ) - Wine Gums - Wanking - Star Trek and Sci Fi - Walking on the beach - Friends and lovers etc.

Or in reverse it could also be Marmite ( hate it ) Friends who let you down - Your job - Bad Relationships etc.

Take your time with this and see how many things are actually on both lists.  How many of these things are major - big time important issues that do cause anxiety,  and how many - in fact - can be put on the ' back burner ' as they are less significant than you thought and if you are going to be stressed,  concentrate on the big things and let the small things go,  as too much just causes confusion and the feelings of despair not knowing what to do as there is just too much going on.

Grab a piece of paper and pen, and start writing. Free writes can tap into ideas we didn't realize we had.

Stop doing too many things at the same time:

Put those electronic devices down, stop checking those texts and emails, and just pick one creative thing and focus on it.

I find that when I do my e mails - just after breakfast, I always get disturbed at least a dozen times by guests, phone calls, computer problems,  the dog and a million other things and I cannot just sit and get through them all in one sitting.  I am up and down - in and out - and this stresses me as I have so much to do and I just want to get the e mails done so I can get on. So - I have started to close my office door.  DO NOT ENTER.  I AM BUSY.

You see, when you run your own business many assume you can take any time off you like,  when the truth is very different and you do need structure in your daily life in order to get the work facilitated.  If you are trying to balance too many things at the same time,  stress will follow.  Limit how many things you are willing to do in any period of the day and simply do not allow yourself to get dragged into doing more than you know is right for you.

A friend of mine seems to always know when I have  a very busy day ahead and asks a favour of me dropping him to a job - or taking him quickly to B&Q - or something else, and I have now started to say no,  as I have my own work yet to do and I will not allow him to do this to me any more and he has learned that my work is not a joke and that I will not accommodate him every time he asks - and this is for my own benefit.  I was stressing myself out right on a day when I had tons to do, and  this was not doing me any good at all.

SAY NO - it is as easy as that and you DO NOT NEED GIVE A REASON.  NO SHOULD BE ENOUGH. If they ask - ' Why not ?' - you just answer that you don't want to. Period.

So these are just a few ideas to help get you started.  And remember - ALWAYS TAKE LOTS OF NICE, SLOW, DEEP BREATHS - FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES STANDING STILL, EYES SHUT, HOLDING A CHAIR OR DOOR, AND JUST BREATH DEEPLY AND FILL THE LUNGS EACH TIME,  and see how much better you feel after just a few short minutes.



What are your processes for recharging and awakening the creative side?







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