Stress and the Creative Mind

I think we would all agree that every person handles stress in a different way--if for no other reason than our sources of stress vary. This time of year, we all face similar stresses brought on by the holidays, but as a creative person, I find this time of year unrelenting.

Creative people impose stress on themselves with fun, creative things all year long, but at Christmas time, there are so many opportunities to be creative and share.

The creative stress? An overwhelming desire to create everything around me. My holiday cards, gifts, specialized custom wrapping for gifts, holiday decorations, calendars - you name it! Unless I began in August, there is no way I would be able to do all the things I wish I could! This desire to create, coupled with regular daily stress, is so hard to deal with.

I've tried hard to tell myself, "You don't have to do these things - just let it go and buy some nice cards and gifts." But, I can't do it. Giving myself a "free pass" doesn't make the stress go away, it just makes me more irritated because it's not only that I feel that I must do these things, It's that I want to do them! And that creates a chasm at the core of creativity.

I have found that the only way to calm the creative heart is to make something. This weekend, I finally put aside time to create. At first, I was overwhelmed because I had so many ideas, but I finally chose a nice, simple embroidered Christmas ornament. I couldn't believe how much better I felt after I finally took one of my ideas and made it happen. Actualizing my ideas even calms my stress from other areas of life! The time taken to relax and enjoy a hobby is very rewarding.

Honestly, I don't know that I will ever be able to fill the creative shoes I have invented for myself, but I do know that the only way I can eliminate the burden of my thoughts is to make the time to create. My friend over at Jeopopolis says that he and his wife (who is a writer) have set up "Creative Night" where they both try to set aside time for themselves.

I would love to hear others feelings on this and suggestions for reducing that stressful feeling!