Since we came home from our big trip I’ve struggled a bit to get back into my usual creative rhythm. It’s easy to let these things slip too, the things that energise you and help you stay connected to yourself. For me, these things are gardening, drawing and painting, cooking and cyber-stalking celebrities. Yep, I love me some trashy internet gossip. I’d like to play it cool and pretend I don’t, but I do. Their ridiculous, superficial lives fascinate me in ways I wish weren’t possible.
Anyway, I got so used to being out of my rhythm that I forgot how great these things were. Not particularly the trashy gossip, that needs to be cut down, but the other stuff. That’s the important stuff.
When you get busy these are the first things to go. As your job gets busier at home and work and you feel the pressure, the things you tend to cut out are the things that make you feel good. You stop having your cup of tea in the morning before work, going for an afternoon stroll to de-stress, taking the time to read your book every evening or carving out time to try a new recipe in the kitchen. We simplify and keep only the things that are stressing us out. We hold onto deadlines, work commitments, catch-ups with friends and so on. We neglect ourselves and prioritise other things.
For me, this causes a lot of tension. I’ve had a feeling of impatience and stress around me, wanting to get back to my normal routine but, for some reason, not. I think a small part of it is having Matt at home working with me all day. I feel a bit guilty stopping work and picking up my paints and a piece of paper because it feels like I’m slacking off and I don’t want him to think I’m not working hard enough.
But the thing is, I do my best work when I’m putting more of my favourite hobbies into my life too. If I take a few hours out to paint or draw, I’m able to sit down at the computer and really easily and clearly write something that resonates with people. If I don’t, my mind forces out words and I create something that isn’t as powerful or well put together.
Also, Matt doesn’t care what I do, so the idea of him thinking I’m slacking off is one I’ve created in my head. I have a problem with people slacking off and would hate to be seen that way, so my mind works overtime to make sure I’m not seen that way. Meanwhile, Matt’s over his side of the desk in our house, working away without even noticing what I’m doing. I could be watching YouTube all day and he wouldn’t know.
The creative process is an important one and unique to each person. For some people it’s watching movies, looking at books or paintings, hearing a song or taking inspiration from the people, sounds and imagery all around them. For others it’s painting, drawing, reading, talking to friends or cooking that gets them started. These are all the things you need to surround yourself with and not cut out when things get busy. They help connect you to your intuition and your soul self, allowing what’s inside to come out easily. Even if they’re just dreams and desires.
I say it a lot, but if you’re ever feeling ‘off’ or ‘mucky’ just take a few minutes to stop and chill out. Think about why you feel so off and work out what you can change to feel better. There’s never any situation where you need to feel uncomfortable. Every situation is changeable and can be adapted to suit what you want.
On Sunday I carved out some time to do some painting with watercolours. I completely lost track of time and had so much fun doing it. It felt great to let out another piece of my creativity, rather than just focusing on Little Grey Box and writing all the time. It felt nice to create for myself with nobody else in mind. I wasn’t wondering if people would appreciate what I was creating, I just created it. A hard thing to do when you’re a creative-type because usually all you do is judge what you make.
Funnily enough, for all my worrying about looking like a slacker, it was Matt who told me today that I need to take more time out to be creative. He brought all of this to my attention, helping me to see why I’ve felt a bit frustrated and out of sorts lately. He encouraged me to spend more time reading, cooking, gardening, drawing and painting. It’s nice to have someone who knows you so well help you gain perspective.
On Friday we are going to Marysville in the Yarra Valley for two nights and then Melbourne for two nights. We’re taking this amazing trip thanks to the team at TFE Hotels, who manage groups like Vibe Hotels, Hotel rendezvous, Adara and so on. My goal for the weekend is to have fun. To really relax and enjoy everything we do, to slow down and be present and find the fun in the creative process. While we’re there we’ll be taking video and photographs and experiencing things to share with you here, I really want to sink into it and have fun with that creative process. Sometimes I get a bit too hard on myself and see it with a critical work eye, but this time I want to enjoy the crap out of every moment. Especially because the more fun I have, the better content I get to share with you guys.
I’m really looking forward to the weekend, especially because we haven’t been to the Yarra Valley before and also because it’s really cool to get opportunities like these. It’s surreal and wonderful.
Watch the video from our trip to Marysville here!
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.