Have a bit of a break between creative projects? Don't have much of a hiatus but really need to relax and recharge?
TINY TIP FOR CREATIVITY #2:
Try doing something that is outside your area of creativity.
Don't get me wrong--I love acting, writing, and anything having to do with theatre or film. Often an idea of a fun night out in the city involves seeing a live performance--how could it not? But I'll be honest: when it comes to really slowing down and getting some crucial rest from a creative project, I have found that I need to seek that rest outside of the theatre. Simply put, the theatre is not always relaxing for me.
Consider the performances of my play BIG WORK earlier this spring--when we finished the run, overjoyed as I was, I was also pretty wiped out. I had wide open evenings and weekends and was looking forward to relaxing again (which I did happily in my bathrobe--see Recharging Isn't Meant To Be Pretty). One of the first evenings, I tried to settle on the couch, ready to relax by reading a new script or doing some journaling about the theatrical process of creating the play. But as I tried to open the book or jot down some thoughts, I had the overwhelming urge to to do something else, anything else to relax.
I ended up doing some coloring in my adult coloring book that I got from a friend earlier this year, binging on some Netflix, doing a lot of cooking, and taking advantage of my desire to get up and get moving. All of these things were incredibly appealing to me, but in the back of my mind I had this nagging feeling of guilt or shame--it was as if I felt like I was betraying my love of theatre by wanting to recharge any other way. Even just typing that sentence makes me realize how ridiculous that is!
I think I often trick myself into believing that if I'm a "real" theatre artist, I have to not only work on creative projects one right after the other (absolutely NOT true), but that my downtime and free moments should be spent enjoying the theatre as well (sometimes it's what I want, other times not at all).
I've been making peace with the fact that everyone recharges in a different way, and lately, recharging and filling my own well has meant taking a true break from the theatre, from rehearsals, from the ever present desire to keep making, making, making things. We all need a break, even from the things we love to do.
The thing I've loved doing most lately? Riding my second hand bicycle. It's finally feeling warmer here in Boston, and there are so many beautiful bike paths both in the city and a bit farther out that just beg to be explored on a day off. My husband is a cyclist, and so getting to enjoy some exercise, Vitamin D, and his company have made for some awesome times.
Not only is bicycling in the sunshine great exercise--not to mention a good antidote to hiding away in a dark theatre for hours on end--it's become such a meditative time for me. The wheels keep spinning, my lungs breathe a little deeper, and my mind unwinds. It's also a perfect way to see the place in which you live through new eyes, noticing things you missed while driving or on the bus: daffodils, happy dogs out for a walk, trees, sky, and water. I'm finding out more and more how restorative it feels to spend time in nature, pedaling my way through.
It's all personal preference, I suppose. If you are a musician and music is your relaxation jam, then by all means, enjoy yourself. If you're a dancer and nothing refills your well more than taking an extra class or two, then have at it! But if you're like me and need a break from your craft now and then, whatever it is, then go ahead: stray from your creative path and try something new, anything that makes you forget your cares and creative projects, and do it guilt free. And who knows? In the end, it's probably beneficial to your creative work to get some renewed peace of mind and a slightly different perspective.
What is your favorite way to recharge?