After a long, stressful week, what is the thing you look forward to most?
We all need our outlets - whether it's the gym, having a night out with friends, or even just coming home and being able to relax on the couch and watch our favorite show.
While these all work, I'd like to take some time to discuss the importance of having a creative outlet and why it is notably beneficial for us to have one. Let me first define what I mean by a creative outlet: any hobby or practice that allows you to express yourself freely and for tangible things to be developed from your imagination. Normally, we think of things like drawing or painting but I would even extend it far beyond that. In climbing, soccer, skateboarding, and just about any other sport, there is a creative piece where you can create tricks or moves if you have an open mind as you are doing it.
What is it about creative outlets that makes them special? Whether we're introverts or extroverts, there is something about them that the gym, social media, or being at a loud bar can't seem to accomplish.
Once we leave high school, it appears most of our lives get much more complex and so, out of necessity, they also become far more structured. Eventually, this is what our schedules look like:
6:00am - Wake up
8:00am - Start work
5:00pm - Leave work
6:00pm - Eat dinner
7:00pm - Decompress
Cycle that on repeat, Monday through Friday. And this is if we are blessed enough to have a career where we work 40 hours a week, we can live off of the work we do there, and our life doesn't include children and/or other daily responsibilities.
The point I am getting at is there is a negative side to so much structure: there is a sense of freedom lost and the occasional feeling that you're programmed to do the same motions on repeat. From my earlier definition, a creative outlet is the exact opposite. It is something where you don't know the results until it's done and it's a unique experience every time.
A creative outlet should be something that you consistently get better at as you overcome challenges and obviously that you enjoy. Also, preferably you'd have access to this hobby/practice no matter where you are. You only benefit yourself more by having that pen & paper, book, soccer ball, climbing wall, or whatever your outlet is accessible to you as much as possible.
You can easily have more than one creative outlet and it's great to have a bit of variety. Maybe you enjoy spending time drawing, playing on your guitar, and also producing your own music altogether - these are all powerful creative outlets that could complement each other very well while testing your limits in different ways. For me, writing, reading, and producing content have been outlets that work together very nicely and allow me the freedom that I need away from my work as an Engineer/Construction Manager.
No one can specify the creative outlet that's best for you. Not everyone enjoys journaling and not everyone enjoys making music. It's completely up to you to experiment for yourself. If we look back at our childhoods, it's likely that most of us have found at least one or two outlets that we love but maybe we lost sight of them as our lives got more complex.
This is definitely something worth considering when thinking of new goals/resolutions to pursue.
What are your creative outlets? Have you lost sight of them? If so, you wouldn't believe the new appreciation for life you'd feel by picking up that guitar, pen, or camera once a day. Whether you want to find a new outlet or cultivate an old one, you can't go wrong.
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Maybe share what creative outlets you enjoy most, why they're so important to you, and/or how you make time in your busy life for these activities.
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