Get Creative and Reduce Stress: My 12-Month Plan for Renewing My Creativity

Recent research shows that being creative is an easy way to reduce stress. Cortisol levels in adults were measurably lower after a 45-minute art session. As a homeschooling mom, I have no problem finding creative outlets for my kids, but I often neglect myself. It’s hard to make the time to paint a picture or knit a scarf when I feel responsible for raising the next Steve Jobs.

But like most homeschooling (and non-homeschooling) moms, I feel completely burnt out most of the time. It’s pretty sad that sitting on the toilet is the biggest break I get all day. Then it occurred to me, I can probably do a much better job at this homeschooling and parenting thing if I didn’t feel like ripping my hair out all of the time. So I am going to attempt to renew my creativity.

Once upon a time, during my youth when I was carefree and without stress (yeah right), I used to draw and paint a lot. I also loved to write and make music. Naturally, these things have been pushed down to the bottom of my list of priorities. So, in an effort to foster my own creativity, I have decided to explore a new creative outlet each month. Maybe if  I try something new on a regular basis, I will remain motivated. Or I will discover that one thing that I love. And in the process, I hope to inspire my children to continue to pursue their creative interests and to learn new ones.

Speaking of the kids, a great tool for motivating your children to try new creative activities is diy.org. This website and app help your kids discover new passions and share the results of their creative and artistic endeavors. They even have online courses for kids and offer the ability to earn patches, scout-style. My son is obsessed with the DIY app.

Below is my list of 12 planned creative pursuits. I’ve kicked off this mission with a new devotion to writing blog posts on both TheNatureofHomeschooling.com and OnePartSunshine.com. I would love to hear about what activities you might have planned!

Month 1: Draw and paint objects from nature. I love looking through beautifully illustrated nature guides, so I want to create my own illustrations of objects from nature that are found in my area.

Month 2: Learn to play the ukulele. I heard about a family ukulele class and loved the idea. So I am communicating with a local music studio to set one up in my area.

Month 3: Write a children’s book. This is one of those things that I have been talking about for forever. I even have several ideas in the works. This month will be the time when I actually finish one of those books.

Month 4: Knit something for myself. I love knitting, especially with a nice cup of tea in front of me. I usually knit presents for everyone else, so this will be the month that I knit something for myself.

Month 5: Take an online Adobe Photoshop class. Digital art and photo manipulation mystifies me because I was in school during a time when that was just getting started. I would love to learn more and then teach it to my son.

Month 6: Take a pottery class. When I was pregnant eleven years ago, I took a wheel throwing pottery class and loved it. This is the time to give it another try.

Month 7: Learn html and make a fun website. I have used WordPress and themes for making my websites. I would love to learn to make a website from scratch.

Month 8: Embroider a pillow. I have saved tons of pins on Pinterest of intricately embroidered birds. This is the month that I create my own (Pin-worthy?) embroidered masterpiece.

Month 9: Sew a dress for my daughter. I have a beautiful piece of fabric that has been sitting on my sewing table for two years waiting to be made into a dress for my daughter. This is the time that I will learn to make a dress and actually do it.

Month 10: Write poetry and songs. I stink at writing poetry. But I’m going to give it a shot anyway.

Month 11: Make an outdoor table. I asked my husband to make an outdoor table for me years ago. He kept saying yes and now he’s saying no. I figure there is no reason that I can’t learn to use a saw and make it myself. Going to Ana-White.com for inspiration.

Month 12: Learn to whittle. I admire those determined old men at the bluegrass and heritage festivals who create tiny creatures from a simple block of wood. I’m going to start with a bar of soap and a plastic knife so I don’t lose a finger.

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