In the 1920s social psychologist Graham Wallas proposed one of the first models of the creative process: preparation, incubation, illumination, and implementation. In the midst of this season of transition, with temperatures fluctuating daily and a kaleidoscope of leaves changing color all around us, it can be helpful to introduce a creative practice into your routine, which can be paralleled with the “preparation” phase before the hibernation/incubation of winter. This can be daunting for those who struggle with seasonal affective disorders, don’t identify with the Artist title, or perhaps have role fatigue and have gotten stuck in a creativity block. Trish Duggan writes in a recent “Rolling Stones” article, “…the need for art does not always strike at the most convenient times. In fact, the need for art may come when you are feeling the least inspired. But it is at these times when it is critical to be intentional about making space for it. From my perspective, art, creativity and imagination are essential to human mental well-being. If you can’t create a lot, create a little.” Indeed, formal art training with traditional art supplies are not necessary for living creatively. Creative personal expression can look like a 10 minute journal doodle, adding a new spice to an old recipe, arranging fruit in an aesthetically pleasing way on the countertop, making a seasonal playlist for friends, improvising a dance to your latest favorite song, engaging your child in imaginative play to help them finish their vegetables, etc. In my clinical opinion, any and all expressions of personal creativity can be therapeutic, especially if it helps you tap into a playful or mindful state. Creating “art for art’s sake” is an exercise of self-care that can cultivate self-compassion and aid in healing. So, whether you resonate with this season of change, dread it, or somewhere in between, finding small daily outlets for your own personal creativity can help you weather it.
Post by Sharon Itkoff Nacache ATR-BC LCAT PMH-C
Original Photo by Zeynep Sumer