Indulging my Creative Spirit when I’m Too Tired to Move

Some of my favorite tub time books
Some of my favorite tub time books

It was one of those weekends. I had a lovely vista of two full days without commitments, and a list of bright ideas for how to spend my time. The problem? Not enough energy to follow through.

In the last ten years, I’ve had more than my share of days where I was too tired to have any fun. It happens less frequently now, but it still happens. When I wake up exhausted, I know I will have to re-think my day. I’m lucky to get basic chores done, will probably need a nap, and have to postpone most of the stuff on my list to that magical time know as “later”.

The only problem with this is I have an Inner Child who gets extremely pissed whenever it happens. All work and no play makes her shop for an Uzi. She throws a tantrum, gripes endlessly, and will hold a sit-down strike in which nothing at all gets done because no fun is on the shortened list.

I can explain all I want. “We’re too tired to do much, honey, and this other stuff has to come first.”

When she cries enough, I think about going into the studio anyway. I know from experience just how bad the sewing mistakes can be if I try to quilt when I am too tired. I spend more time ripping out seams than sewing them, and that’s frustrating beyond belief, as well as hard on the fabric

When I’m exhausted, the decision-making that goes with art-making is usually beyond me. I can’t decide what project to work on let alone what to do to it.

She doesn’t care. She wants to play, even though we are practically in a coma.

Fortunately, I have found a way to rest my body and have some fun, too. When the chores are done, I draw a hot bath and pick out an art and craft book to read. Anything works, as long as it is about something I would love to do if only I had the energy. I especially like books about artist journals and sketchbooks, which are full of pictures as well as interesting stories the artists tell with their collages or drawings. It’s not the same as actually making things with my own hands, and I don’t get the healing that comes from goofing around with paint and paper, thread and fabric. But it does feed the part of my soul that’s in danger of wasting away.

When I’m feeling particularly defeated, I read books about nurturing my creative self. Julia Cameron’s book Finding Water is all about perseverance, and I need to hear the stories she tells when I’m back in the “I’ll never have the energy to do this” pit. Spending time reading about other people’s struggles with their creative paths reassures me that I will not always be like this, that there will be days when I do get to play and create, something that cranky Child inside me needs to hear as well.

It’s easy to beat myself up when I have one of these days, but I think it’s better to be kind to myself and indulge in a little vicarious living. Enjoying things I am interested in even though I am not able to participate at that moment myself is a step in the right direction.

Do you ever get too tired to play? How do you live vicariously?

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