Making Time for Creativity During a Busy Semester

This semester turned out to be a lot busier than I anticipated. Of course, most of that is my fault. I’m the type of person who looks at my schedule and fills every gap with something before thinking, “Hey, this might be a bit much…”

During the first few weeks of the semester I felt myself going a little crazy - forgetting things I normally wouldn’t and double booking myself to the point where I felt like I didn’t even have time to breathe. As a dancer and a writer, I was feeling too worn out to come up with my best ideas.

 

I’ve realized that what I was missing was the quiet moments. What I mean is those rare, magical moments where my mind stops whirling at 90 miles an hour and inspiration actually has a chance to get through. By forcing myself to be “on” 24/7, I was denying myself of the quiet moments that I needed to come up with my best ideas and solutions.

  

Even though I loved everything I was doing, I had to cut back on a few things to save my sanity. Prioritizing things in my life was the first step to figuring out what could go and what needed to stay. Even though I was sad to leave the things that I chose to leave, I felt instantly relieved after making the decision to simplify my life (even if it only helped a little bit).

I’ve learned an important lesson this semester: leaving time for silly things and little things that improve my life is crucial to my mental health. Here are some things that I’m trying to make time for that help me come up with my best ideas and/or keep me sane (and might help you, too):

 

Reading Books/Watching Your Favorite Shows

The best way to get out of your head is to get into someone else’s. Escaping into a different world via novel, TV show, or movie is probably the easiest way to turn off your brain for a while.

 

 

Working Out/Eating Right/Actually Sleeping at Night

These are probably the hardest things to continuously do. It’s so easy to just eat whatever is easy and to think that you ‘just don’t have time’ to workout. However, even though they’re a pain to start doing, they make a huge difference in your day-to-day energy levels. Actually going to sleep at a decent hour also helps. This might seem obvious, but I’m honestly still having to remind myself that coffee isn’t a substitute for sleep.

 

Aimless Drives with Loud Music

If I’m ever feeling like I just can’t get out of my head, I get in my car, put on my favorite music, and drive around just for the hell of it.  Being forced to focus on driving rather than my own thoughts usually helps me calm my mind down.

 

Random Adventures with Friends/Days of Complete Laziness

Taking a day off to have random adventures with friends and/or to sit around and do absolutely nothing productive can actually help you be more productive. Giving myself an entire day off to do whatever I want usually makes me work twice as hard the rest of the week, at least for me.

 

Cleaning/Organizing Your Living Space

There’s just something about my bed being made that makes me feel like I have my crap together. My life could be a complete mess, but if my apartment is clean, my bed is made, and I have a couple candles burning, I somehow feel like I’m an actual adult. I’m not sure why this is, but giving myself enough time to clean my living space and organize my life makes a huge difference in my stress levels and could for you too.

 

 

Self-Care

Self-Care is incredibly important. Whatever it is that you do to make yourself feel nice - painting your nails, putting on a facemask, getting a massage, dying your hair, sculpting the perfect eyebrows (I know nothing about that though) - do it. Don’t kill your wallet, but try to take time to do the little things that make you feel more confident. In the words of Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford from ‘Parks and Rec’, “Treat yo self!”

 

 

It can be hard not to get caught up in the whirlwind that is college life. Just make sure to leave yourself enough time to do the things that keep you grounded and spark your creativity.

 

 

                                                                               Photo by Daina Phillips for Her Campus at SFA