A month ago I started a new job here in LA. (applause)
This job is great. The company atmosphere is one of the best that I've ever been a part of, they believe in team work, and taking care of their employees. I am so proud to be counted in their numbers. I still pinch myself sometimes that I found a job like this that also meets my financial needs.
I went from a lot of freelance work that required all of my creative faculties, to a full time job where I use more of my logic and business sense and the change has been both wonderful and dizzying. While it has been very fulfilling and exciting to learn more about a business I love, I would be lying if I didn't address the fact that some days after work and my commute home I feel drained. Days like that, no matter how hard I try, I cannot summon the design mode that could so easily come before. I have felt empty.
I am still learning what works for me as far as protecting my creative self so as time goes on I will certainly add to or take away from this list. I end each blog post asking readers what they think, but I truly do want to hear your input. This is my first grown up job so I'm in uncharted territory for me here!
Feed the beast. This means eat something when or before you start to feel hungry. I find it helps to plan snacks according to your day. This works better for me if I go over in my head what I know the next day will look like before I go to sleep and make a plan for what snacks I want to take with me because Morning Monica does not care about very much about food and Mid-day Monica always hates her for it. Creativity cannot flow if you're in a bad mood, or all you can think about is how hungry you are.
Dress yourself. If you like to feel pretty then it is totally worth finding time in the day to figure out your hair/makeup/outfits because you will carry that good energy with you throughout the day.
Do something boring every day that doesn't take a lot of brain power. For me it's doing the dishes or exercising; it gives my mind time to wander and clears the cobwebs.
Plan time every day or week to do something creative. For me this includes doodling, pattern making, and sewing. It's as simple as doodling on the bus or during lunch breaks and then making time for projects in the evenings or Saturday afternoons. If you don't consciously make a plan to do it, it'll never get done.
Surround yourself with inspiration. This doesn't always have to be idea boards and fabrics. For me this could mean going to a concert or a museum, or thrift shopping. Figure out what works for you and recognize that it doesn't always have to be the same thing time and time again. If it's making you feel something, you're probably headed in the right direction.
Spend time with friends and family who love and support you. This is key for me. I feel rejuvenated after spending time with my husband and close family and friends. It's important to me to be able to talk about deeper or important things. I am then able to carry that with me into the work I do to design and create.
When time is a valuable resource, focus your creative energies. This is a process I am working on refining. When I didn't have steady work I could pick up passion projects like nobody's business. Right now my focus is to work on projects because I want to, not because I can.
Be mindful of where your energy is spent. I know I can feel so drained after working on answering emails at work so I try to do those first thing in the morning, then I follow that up with a break where I get up, walk around, and get a snack. If I try to save that for the end of the day where I'm already tired, I don't have the time to bounce back like I would at the start of the day; I come home exhausted both physically and mentally.