This past week was Mental Health Awareness Day on October 10th. It is a day for mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigmas. It is a day to help you learn how to recognize when a friend or family member may need help. This awareness day could not have come at a better time this year for me. Like millions of others, I find myself in a slump. One day it could be depression, another day it could be having to deal with anxiety issues, other days it could be lack of motivation to do anything. What really bothers me is the loss of my creativity. That hurts when you are trying to build something creative.
How many of you have had a time where you find yourself in a creative slump? How do you come out of it? Since I can’t just do nothing, I went and looked for ways to climb out of my creative dark hole. Here are a 12 tips that I have used over the years as well as some new ones I hadn’t thought of before.
- Look through the Stampin’ Up Annual Catalog – I look through my catalog to maybe find some inspiration in the beautiful cards within it’s glossy pages. What is lovely about this, is that flipping through a real-life catalog get’s your hands moving. I think that the actual movement helps to spark those creative juices. It is so much more satisfying to flip through the pages than to scroll on my tablet or laptop. If you need a catalog, send an email to email@example.com
- Once I’ve chiseled the ice off the creative juices, I then scroll through Pinterest, blogs, or my Facebook groups for inspiration. I might zone in on the stamp sets I already own. This keeps me from impulse buying. Do not get me wrong, sometimes buying a new stamp or stamp set helps spark the imagination.
- I pick a project and CASE (Copy And Share Everything) it as closely as possible. This takes the design stress out of the equation and it gets you motivated to expand on the CASE next time. Next time maybe change a color, embellishment, ribbon, etc. Just make sure that if you post it on social media, you give credit to the person you CASEd it from.
- I walk through the aisles of my favorite craft store. Sometimes just the simple act of walking helps get you out of the slump. Right now, with COVID-19 I don’t do this as often as I like.
- Speaking of exercising, I started walking every morning on the treadmill to help keep me from sinking lower into the abyss. It really has helped even though every morning when I wake up, I have to talk myself into it by reminding myself that when I am done, I feel accomplished. On the days my breathing is bad (I have allergy induced asthma), I take the time to do yoga instead. I take my time, so I don’t aggravate my lungs more than necessary. This daily routine has helped me feel ready to create.
- There are days when even after exercising, flipping through catalogs, looking for inspiration online, or walking through the store, I still cannot create. This week I fell into that hole. Finally frustrated beyond belief, I pulled out some Distress Oxide ink and started getting messy. My fingers typically turn colors when I stamp, but this week I was rainbow colored! I used my fingers, sponges, daubers, brushes, and tissues to blend colors on precut card faces. I have no idea what to do with them when I’m done, but I save them in case inspiration hits to use them on a card.
- Make tags – I find that smaller projects like gift tags help as well. A simple circle with a die cut snowflake on it are actually very pretty. Or a tag with a die cut pine tree and glitter snow works too. I have plenty of dies to cut out shapes to adhere to tags to help get the juices flowing.
- Make an ugly card. Sometimes just putting stuff on a card front help as well. I have a lot of “ugly” cards in my stash. I keep them because there might be a technique in there that I need to practice on more. The really ugly ones I toss, but I keep a plastic container just for those ugly attempts. In the photo below you can see where they got better as the juices started flowing, LOL.
- I have also tried coming to my desk and not looking at the computer or tablet before diving in. Sometimes those images of perfect cards just make me feel intimidated. I go back to my catalog and look for the “Step It Up” cards or flip through the “Beginner Brochure”. I will make a basic beginner card first. This is kind of the same as #3 above. However, in the catalog you can see the different things they’ve changed to step up your card from beginner to expert.
- Look for creative challenges. There are many blogs, websites, and Facebook groups that hold weekly challenges. These challenges can include, but not limited to, ways to use products differently, new techniques, using negative space, color challenges, sketch challenges, themed challenges, using different media, using photos for inspiration challenges, CASE challenges, or Alphabet challenges.
- Attend virtual crops or classes. There are a ton of Facebook Lives on how to make cards. You can also go to YouTube to learn a new technique or fun fold. I like the Facebook Lives and Zoom, because you get to interact with other people in real time. This used to be foreign to a lot of crafters, but this is one of the few good things that has come out of COVID-19.
- One last thing I do is send out cards I have previously made (before my slump hit). I have always found that if I share a smile, I tend to receive one in return. Sometimes I wish the return smiles were in the form of happy mail, but I understand that not everyone has the time to do so. I am still happy that they return smiles in the form of texts. My mailman has even made sure lately that any happy mail I receive is first in the pile. He was one of the first people who received a “smile” from me when I had to quit my grown up job due to asthma and COVID and I am very grateful that I finally got the chance to meet him. It is also a great way to get in touch with those that mean a lot to you, but have not had the time to catch up with during the crazy thing we call life.
I hope that my tips have helped a little if you find yourself in a creative slump. The longer I stay at home, then worse it seems to get sometimes. Now that it is fall in Northern Illinois I am sure the gloomy weather will take it’s tole. Luckily it is also the season of greetings, so I better stock up on stamps, so I can send out much needed smiles to my favorite peeps!
Let It Snow Stamping – Making Smiles One Card at a Time