Rest and Revive Your Creativity
By Cindy K. Sproles
“I’m tired.” These words eased from the lips of an
author who sometimes publishes five books yearly. She was tired. It wasn’t like
she should be. She’s successfully published – for over eighteen years. Multiply
that by four or five books a year, and suddenly you can see why.
I get it. When you do something you dearly love for so many years and are successful, the demands to produce just keep coming. I’ve written five novels, and I’m already tired. I can’t imagine what she feels.
The fact is, none of us are immune from burnout. Whether it be a hobby, a work we do as a volunteer, our job, or our writing, none of us can continue at breakneck speeds. There is a breaking point, and when that moment arrives, it’s imperative we pay attention.
Let’s take Hollywood, for example. We make our jaunts to the movies for years at a time, watching our favorite stars perform. Oh, how we love them, and then one day, they aren’t making movies anymore. WHAT? Why?
Though they’re paid handsomely for their work, stars get tired and walk away. Some for a year or two, others permanently. Without some sort of self-care, these folks would crumble.
We wear out in a world that constantly pushes us to rush, produce, and compete. These days we hear “mental well-being” and “self-care” a lot. Almost to the point where we think it sounds like an excuse. Perhaps some people use this as an excuse to avoid work, but the fact remains that as creatives, we must learn to squeeze rest into our daily lives.
Creatives thrive on clarity and attention to things around them. They draw from everything they see and hear. When the waters muddy, when they are tired, creativity shuts down.
A lot of writers are introverts. Not all, but a good majority. Most are content to sit quietly in their writing space and pound out stories with all those characters that live in their heads. I’m an introvert. However, I have learned to step outside of that trait when I attend conferences and move into work mode. By the time I make it back to my room in the evenings, I am drained. I can’t remember details. Sleep, though longed for, eludes me, and I must continually refer to my written schedule to be sure I don’t miss anything. All this to say, when you are a creative, rest is vital.
When we rest, our body revives, the mind clears, and we are rejuvenated. It’s something we need to do daily. I have a writer friend who takes a one-hour nap every afternoon. He does this because he’s poured everything into his writing work by afternoon. He needs to rest. This short nap revives him. He’s rested, his mood is good, his mind is cleared, and he greets his wife with a great attitude when she comes home from work.
Follow these steps to help keep your mind and body on track. When you do, your creativity will shine.
- Set a schedule of work hours and stick to it.
- Incorporate exercise.
- Eat healthy. Don’t skip meals. Keep hydrated.
- Participate in outside activities with family and friends.
- Take short breaks through the day and walk away from the desk. Allow your body to move.
- Stretch. It increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, clearing your thoughts and helping you relax.
- Learn to prioritize tasks.
- Learn to say “No” on occasion.
- Finally, rest.
Our creativity is only as strong as our bodies and minds. Just as you make time to write, make time to rest. You will reap the rewards of good health, and your creativity will soar.
(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)
K. Sproles is proud of her Appalachian Mountain heritage and loves to share it
with others. She is an author, speaker, and conference teacher, teaching
across the country. Cindy is the co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries,
and she has served as a managing editor for two publishing houses. Cindy is the
director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference, held each February at
the Cove, Asheville, NC. She is married and has four adult sons and two grands.