Why you shouldn't feel guilty for wanting creative leisure timeSep 12, 2022
I am lucky enough to have a nice family, a stable life, no big financial worries, in fact everything is perfect.
So why, five or so years ago, was I in such a state? I was riddled with anxiety, knowing I had nothing to actually worry about. My dad was really ill at the time, which of course contributed to these feelings, but by all intents and purposes, anyone on the outside would have seen a together, organized, happy woman with a nice house, polite children, a good husband, and therefore not a care in the world.
Not only was anxiety making me feel anxious (d’uh) over nothing – which was truly terrifying – I also felt guilty. What the blazes was I getting in such a state about?
I would look at other people and think, ‘why can’t I just be happy like them?’ Although there is every possibility that those people were silently going through their own hidden struggles too, of course.
Once I had figured out that what I was experiencing was anxiety, I saw a counsellor, and had a good cry every week or so! I began to work through why I was feeling the way I was.
The biggest takeaway from those sessions changed my life, and eventually led me to where I am now with Creativity Found – the podcast and this website and membership.
My counsellor showed me a wheel of life, a little like this one, perhaps with slightly different categories but you get the idea.
What was if that made me burst into tears at the sight of this wheel of life? My inability to find anything I did in life that could be placed in the leisure portion of the wheel. There was nothing I did for me, and just for my own enjoyment. I did things to earn money, I did things for the family, I kept myself relatively fit, although this overlapped into the work category since I teach dance fitness classes, so again I was doing that for other people more than for myself.
There was nothing that didn’t involve me doing the organizing, me serving other people. There was no escapism, no doing something just for the fun of it.
After a few weeks of contemplating this, I started looking for an escapist activity just for me. I’ve always loved dance and performing, so I tried a choir and similar activities, but none of them worked for me.
This is where my quest went a bit awry, because instead of joining an activity that I didn’t have to organize, what I ended up doing was organizing fun drama and singing classes for adults, so that other people could find the escapism I had been looking for! It involved a lot of work on my part – finding teachers and locations, setting budgets, marketing, worrying whether anyone would turn up – but it was a success and I ran those classes until the dreaded Covid hit.
What organizing those classes did do was give me a creative focus that helped me to get through my anxiety. I had the pleasure of taking part in the sessions, so I did get my two hours of escapism each week, and got to try new, exciting, silly creative activities that had me laughing my head off, and that I still use today.
It also got me out and about and meeting new and fabulous people, both in the classes themselves and while promoting them – I hadn’t realized how lonely I actually was.
And meeting those people gave me the idea for Creativity Found, since so many of them had NOT been doing anything creative until then, because work had taken over, because they felt they never had the time, because they were afraid they’d get it ‘wrong’, because they lacked self-confidence – all the reasons we hear from guests on the podcast, and perhaps ones that are holding you back from trying new creative experiences now.
So, I know how it feels to have a hole in your life despite everything looking perfect on the outside. I know it might feel self-indulgent to want to get away from everyday life and do something just for yourself. But if I hadn’t pursued that would I still be feeling dreadful now? I believe I am a happier and kinder wife, mother, daughter and friend because I have given time and importance to the things I WANT to do. I know that I can do more for others because I do things for myself. I am sure I am a nicer person to be around because I feel whole, rather than unfulfilled and angry because of that.
Creativity Found Collective
The Creativity Found Collective is a membership for artists and crafters who share their creative skills with grown-ups through workshops, online courses, products or subscriptions. It is also a membership for business-support enterprises who use their expertise to help those artists and crafters to grow their businesses.
We promote their offerings on the website and connect them with a network of like-minded business owners.
All of this is backed up by the Creativity Found podcast, in which I chat with grown-ups who have found or re-found their creativity later in life.
You can find out more about the Creativity Found Collective membership here.
And don't forget, you can subscribe to the mailing list here.