Finding time to tick one thing off our to-do list each day is tricky enough as a parent, but creating some daily ‘me’ time is more vital than you think.
Busy, stressed, exhausted. Welcome to the life of a parent.
With young children continually needing our attention, guidance and a careful watchful eye, it’s tricky to get a minute to ourselves.
So how do you throw in a new creative hobby, when you barely feel like you can get a load of washing done and have a shower?
Whilst seemingly difficult, creating or trying to fit in ‘me’ time is more important than you might think. In fact, studies have shown that in taking up a creative hobby, there is an increase in emotional wellbeing. There’s a growing recognition in psychology research that “creativity is associated with emotional functioning.” By taking part in more everyday creative activities, an “upward spiral” of wellbeing is achieved.
It’s said that routine can be helpful for small children, and this may be the key to give yourself that time to be a little bit more creative. In those brief, blissful, yet oddly hectic moments whilst they are napping, at nursery, happily gazing at their mobile or feet-deep in a bucket of Duplo, try to steal 15 minutes to focus on something a bit different.
You might not be able to sit in a room undisturbed for hours with your hobbies like you did before parenthood. But short bursts of creativity can still add up. Former Wired founding editor Mark Frauenfelder says he gives himself 15 minutes a day to indulge in a project or hobby, whether that’s roasting his own beans, making sauerkraut or building his daughter a guitar from a lunchbox.
Researchers from the Department of Psychology at New Zealand’s University of Otago identified some of the most beneficial creative hobbies, including creative writing, painting, graphic and visual design, music and drawing.
Recently, the Open College of Art partnered with University for Creative Arts to provide some great online creative courses offering the opportunity to be more creative from your own home, wherever you are in the world.
One way to squeeze a creative hobby into your routine is to choose something that you can do while spending time with the family. Instead of spiriting yourself away to work on your craft, you can learn how to take a good photograph while out in the park or the beach, illustrate your family activities, or make items for the home using fabrics and textiles.
Making the most of the free time you get, or ensuring you fit some creative ‘me’ time in around your child’s routine will benefit your wellbeing in the long run. It might even give you the energy to tackle the rest of your to-do list.
Have you tried learning a new craft or skill after becoming a parent? What approaches have worked for you? Let us know.
Also published on Medium.