So how are you feeling during these cold, dark and dismal months of winter? I've definitely been having a bad case of the winter blues and it's been affecting my creativity because I don't want to make beads - can you believe that?
According to the NHS (UK National Health Service) the winter blues or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) to give it it's official title could be related to the way in which our body responds to daylight:
“With SAD, one theory is that light entering the eye causes changes in hormone levels in the body. In our bodies, light functions to stop the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making us wake up..“It’s thought that SAD sufferers are affected by shorter daylight hours in the winter. They produce higher melatonin, causing lethargy and symptoms of depression.” If you’re going through a bout of winter blues, lack of daylight is probably playing a part.
Well lethargic is a perfect description of the way I've been feeling and it's curious that the sleepy suns in the image above feature among the very few beads I have been able to make.
I do try and go for a 30 minute walk every day but rather than sit on my butt and wait for Spring I'm also aiming to take myself off to some of my favourite places a couple of times a week for some extra light exposure...
Granted it doesn't look like this right now (picture taken in late spring) but it's still lovely and it leads to a beautiful beach which always calms my soul...
Of course there are lots of other things that can affect the creative flow from illness or anxiety about situations that threaten our emotional or physical well being to the everyday stresses and strains of living in a world that seems to run at an ever faster pace. Coincidentally I spotted this in a magazine at my hairdressers (also a quick, short term fix for the winter blues) yesterday...
And of course, what you've been doing creatively can also lead to a freeze from time to time. If you're having to be creative in your day job or you've recently completed a huge creative project maybe you're just a little burnt out. Like everyone I was manically busy with work in the run up to Christmas as well as completing an overhaul of my house and as soon as I got back in the new year, I had to dive headlong into preparing for a project with a tight deadline that had me working solidly for several weeks with very little time for anything else. As soon as that was done I had to sort out all my paper work and complete my annual income tax return and that in itself is enough to bring anyone down! Add to that that the studio looked like the aftermath of a Tsunami and I guess it's no surprise that it just seemed easier to walk away and settle in front of the TV for the day with a tube of Pringles.
But what if none of these things apply and you still don't feel like doing the thing you love the most...? Well that's quite a scary feeling and one that can create its own stress that feeds back into the cycle. I turned to my own therapy group ( The AJE team are a fantastic support network) and they've all experienced this at some point and where unanimous in the belief that exposure to other forms of creativity is a good cure for creative block. Doing something that is not your life's work or passion but interests you without feeling you have to excel can be a real boost.
I've always wanted to try my hand at painting but have never really known what or where to start, not wanting to go down any intensive learning route. My AJE team mate Jenny showed me some of her art journals when I stayed with her last year and I really liked the quick informal style. On her recommendation I've recently started an online water colour sketching class with Jane LaFazio and what do you know - I love it! I spent a couple of hours on my first lesson this last weekend and completely lost myself in it just enjoying the experience and feeling of being able to create with no pressure.
I've always been a firm believer that different creative activities cross pollinate and influence the different areas of my work and I'm sure signs of this class will come through too. I've never really been one for sketching bead and jewellery designs but after a chat with the team about an upcoming challenge that's exactly what I did last night and came up with lots of ideas so, maybe the funk is clearing...three cheers for that.
If you have any ideas or techniques for dealing with this kind of situation do let us know...we're all for sharing anything that can help our community stay motivated and inspired. Not long now until spring...
Water colour sketch by Jane LaFazio