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Natural Awakenings Fairfield & Southern Litchfield Counties

Recess for Adults: Making Time for Creativity

Aug 31, 2021 10:00AM ● By Susan Ahlstrom
Those who have ever been lucky enough to spend time on an elementary school playground during recess, know that creative energy is alive and well among the young and free. Children make up all kinds of games with elaborate rules and imaginary settings, and can easily bring the whole world of a video game to life through interactive play. Children never need much prompting to be creative. They just need time and space. Recess offers the best opportunity for this.

Just like recess is a very important part of a child’s mental and emotional well-being, making time and space for creativity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for adults. Exploring ideas and self-expression is a natural part of being human. When our life becomes bound by schedules and routines, task lists and goals, we lose the chance to exercise this aspect of being alive in the world. As a result, our capacity for problem solving and idea exploration is limited. In a sense, we don’t give our minds the time on the playground to experience the freedom for new thoughts and ideas.

 Creativity comes out of a basic desire to understand how the world works and our part in it. Whether filling up a canvas with color or using new ingredients in a recipe, exploring boundaries and trying new things is what makes life rich and rewarding. When we don’t take time, or make time, for simple creative endeavors and live life outside the daily grind, something is lost. All too often, what we lose is our sense of joy and purpose. Being constantly focused on the “to-do” list and getting things done robs us of the use of one of our greatest assets: our creative mind. Our brains are made for wondering and wandering. It’s up to us to give attention to the things that tickle our fancy.

Being intentional about making room for unscheduled, non-“productive” time is the best way to ensure that it happens. This time should be devoted to quiet, reflective activities that allow the mind to wander. Creative endeavors like drawing, painting, writing, dancing, or even building with Legos, helps to exercise the right hemisphere of the brain, or creative brain. These activities open up curiosity, playfulness and solution finding and expand our minds, one of the key benefits of going “off-line” regularly. This is the reason meditation and mindfulness is advocated in these stressful times. Giving the brain a chance to relax in “nonlinear” endeavors is essential for good health. Creative time is also meditative time. Getting lost in ideas or daydreams is healthy exercise for the mind, which ultimately benefits the body.

It used to be that Sundays, or at least Sunday mornings, went “off-line”, where the assumption was that families would rest. The wisdom of this cannot be overstated. Families went to church, took walks in the park, sat around and read the newspaper, took time to “indulge” in the arts, or did nothing at all. There weren’t even any stores open to distract us with shopping on Sundays. Nowadays, families are scheduled into team sports, leftover chores and even receive package deliveries from Amazon and the USPS. Flexible work schedules and constant changes in routines in this uncertain world makes it even more important to literally make space for creativity in our lives.

One way to inspire this action is to put together a “creative corner”, or special place in a room in one’s house or apartment, specifically dedicated to activities that feel creative or playful. Put together a simple tool kit of supplies such as crayons, markers, watercolors and glue, for favorite activities. Find a corner of a room to name as the special Creative Corner and make it easy to have it all ready to go. If space is a consideration, fill a shoebox or bin with supplies and make it easily accessible when the inspiration strikes.

Most importantly, take the time for creativity. Make a commitment to allocating one hour a day or one hour a week to explore the creative self. Schedule it into the calendar. Give it the significance of any other meeting, errand or chore on the weekly task list. If this can be done as a family, even better. Sharing in the creative process with children or loved ones offers endless opportunities for positive interaction and “team” building. What child doesn’t love doing a project or building something with mom or dad?

Making room for creativity is a simple way to enhance our lives and make day-to-day challenges more manageable. Effective problem solving and critical thinking skills don’t develop from sitting in a classroom and completing a worksheet. These important life and workplace skills come from exploring and moving through projects that call on existing knowledge and applying possible solutions—AKA creative ideas.

Taking time on a regular basis to exercise these skills is a simple way to expand our hearts and minds and improve our overall well-being. We can do this for ourselves and for our family—and consider it as fun and important as recess.

Susan Ahlstrom is a Certified Accredited EFT Practitioner, Reiki Master and Life Coach. She is the owner of Lighter & Brighter Wellness and an Expressive Arts Facilitator at Sedona Art, in Ridgefield. Connect at [email protected] and See ad, page 2.

Sedona Art is located at 450 Main St, Ridgefield. Connect at 203-244-5520,
[email protected] and See ads, pages 17 and 32.

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Touch of Sedona - 452 Main Street Ridgefield CT

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