Life gets ahead of me sometimes and I’m often so busy that finding time to write my next blog seems more like a chore than a blessing. Even on my job, it seems easier to keep working than to take a break and then have the stress of catching up. So the battle between which would be better for my health and wellbeing goes on in my mind. As I pondered this, I decided to visit the campus coffee shop and actually take a break for a change. Because I was still busy during the normal break time, I didn’t get there until almost everyone had left. There was, however, one young woman waiting for her specialty drink. She sat at one of the tables near the front, so as I walked by I noticed she was happily sketching in her Drawing Journal. Now, how cool is that; she was not only taking a break, she made it a creative one.
When I saw the smile and joy it brought to this woman, I thought of a story I have in my book about the importance of creative breaks. Even though I wrote the book, I still need to be reminded from time to time of the principles, and to do them.
A Creative Break from my book Created to be Creative
A several years ago, Colleen was doing her homework in my study. Distracted by a sudden commotion, I looked up to see her dancing happily around the room. After taking a few minutes to revel in the moment with her, I inquired to whether she had her homework done. It wasn’t, so I jokingly asked, “Did you need a creative break?” Seriously, though, it was then I realized that she did need a break—from long division. Now that I think about it, she often dances with the music or she’ll get out a microphone and sing along with her favorite songs. After a bit, she’ll return to whatever she was doing, refreshed and ready to finish the task at hand.
Do you allow time for creative breaks? Have you ever stopped simply to enjoy the view? Listen to music? Read a poem? Thumb through an art, gardening, or home decorating magazine? It’s amazing how a few minutes of interacting with something creative, or thinking about our next artistic project, revitalizes our mental and emotional energies. These actions actually enable us to return to our responsibilities more focused and with healthier attitudes. If we take this advice seriously, we will find our productivity improving at work or school. Some of us are stay-at-home moms with small children; short breaks increase our patience and can even help us think of innovative ways to involve the children in creative activities.
Refusing to slow down becomes a mental and physical snare. Fatigue sets in, numbs the senses, and causes us to overlook the creative moments that come our way. A world of good comes from taking time to observe, to hear, to feel, to dream, to live. Those who continually push themselves to the limit usually end up exhausted and miserable. Creative breaks—including meditation and worship—help us to keep things in perspective and to stay more in tune with our eternal purpose.
Creativity should be inspired, not forced, something to look forward to, not another obligation added to an already demanding schedule. Think of it as a place where the imagination can soar into a realm of endless possibilities and refreshing fun, a place we try to visit as often as possible.
I like this photo of my grandson playing in the sand; even he is enjoying a creative break.
I’m the author of: Created to be Creative
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