We live in a productivity-obsessed society. People are pushed to ‘Just Do It’ and ‘Chase the Dream’ – even ‘Change the World’. If you have a chronic condition (or kids, a demanding job, someone to care for, limited funds…) it can be hard to find the time to change your clothes, let alone be creative and change the world. However, making things can be a wonderful boost for mental health. There’s lots of new research about the benefits of the arts – and it’s fun.
Don’t feel as if you need to set aside being creative because you don’t have enough time. Allow yourself to create at a steadier pace: little and often works. It can also be a great way to track the passage of time.
Slowly creating something is pleasurable – and finishing feels so much better when you’ve taken your time. Here are a few slow creative projects to try.
Write a Book
At 200 words per day, you’ll have a novel in just over a year (400 days). Allow yourself to write more if the words are flowing and it could be done in a year.
Non-fiction can be shorter. My book, Go Wild: Over 200 Ways to Connect with Nature is around 20,000 words. Learn how to create a Kindle book using free software on the Amazon site. Don’t rush yourself – but do remember to get a good editor.
Poetry can be short and sweet too – and can form a book capturing many moods and moments, given time.
Cutting out pictures from magazines and sticking them onto boxes, frames or furniture is a lovely way to slowly create a piece of art. I cut pictures out when I’m feeling able then paste and stick when I have less energy. It’s cheap – all you need is white glue and recycled magazines/boxes. Better yet, it can be done in bed.
One row at a time eventually adds up to a hat, scarf or cuddly toy. In enough time it could even be a blanket. If you miss a stitch, it can easily be stitched in or hidden with a button. I find knitting soothing and great to do in bed or while watching TV.
Making Mini Gardens
A mini garden takes less time to maintain than a full size one. Use air plants. Plant cress or herbs to see how they grow – in their own good time. Or plant bulbs to see spring colour emerge and add colour to your life next year.