Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been writing about blocks to creativity that stampers experience most often. I’ve gathered comments from blog and facebook followers, customers and friends. Last week I wrote about the blocks most people mentioned first—lack of confidence and comparing oneself to others. You can read that post HERE.
The next most-often cited obstacle is lack of time. Our lives are complicated, with more people and activities vying for our precious time and attention than we can possibly respond to. The to-do list never ends, the in-box is never empty, the needs we are expected to respond to never get permanently appeased. Don’t get me wrong, we take on all these projects as we strive to live according to our values, to do our best in raising children, nurturing loving relationships with friends and family, pursuing hobbies and healthy, active lifestyles, participating in our communities, and striving to reach goals we have set. It is a long list, and no wonder we feel like we can't do it all!
The thing we are most apt to short-change is ourselves—our self-care, our spritiual development, our creative expression, our time to sit and do nothing or watch the clouds float across the sky. Not because we don’t value these things, but because they end up down low on the list of our priorities.
So how can we make sure we find time to stamp? Here’s the secret—we can’t find it, we have to make it! We have to put it higher on the list of priorities, and we have to be willing to do this because creativity nurtures us in a way that nothing else does!
When I start with a blank piece of card stock, for example, and let my imagination convert it into a work of art, this feeds my soul! I have joined in something larger than myself. I allow all the uplifting and beautiful things I have experienced influence the transformation of that card stock into a gift from my heart.
Lofty words, but how can you make time to feed your soul through stamping? Here are some strategies that work for some people, myself included!
- Make a date with yourself. Block off some time in your calendar, just like you do for taking kids to their activites and going to the dentist. You have to admit, stamping is much more fun than the dentist! My calendar has Saturday afternoons saved for stamping while I listen to Prairie Home Companion on the radio.
- Use paper crafting as stress relief. Turn off the tv and sit down and play with stamps, paper, and ink. Sometimes all I need is 20 minutes of stamping to get unwound in the midst of one of those crazy, nothing-is-going-right kind of days!
- Combine crafting with time with friends, kids and other family members. As someone who runs two businesses, my time for friends and family is quite limited. I make it a point to invite friends to come play with me in the studio at least once every week or two. I do the same with my sister when she is able to travel to Albuquerque for a visit. And children usually love an opportunity to share crafting time with a parent or other adult.
- Use stamping as a reward for getting unpleasant tasks done. With busy lives, there are always things that need to be done that we would rather avoid! I have learned to put in an hour or two on taxes, for example, then treat myself to a bit of cardmaking. That's better for me than a hot fudge sundae, and there's no sugar hangover afterward!
- Learn to use your stamping time efficiently! Do it in short blocks of time and leave your work out so you can come back to it later and do another step. Learn the techniques that make every step as easy as possible and help you prevent mistakes.
Speaking of using your stamping time effectively, I have a series of free videos on just that! If you haven't seen them yet, CLICK HERE to view the first video.
Meanwhile, go practice some stress-release: GET STAMPING!
Nurturing Creativity, One Stamp at a Time!
aka The Mad Stamper
Socialize With Me!