Tips for creating a micro creative retreat
I’ve been working really hard on my business, listening to lots of advice, researching, gathering, reading and planning. Last week I recognised that I’ve not been taking good care of myself and my own creative practice and I have been heading along my old familiar road to burnout.
I get really excited about new creative projects. I gather information like a sponge sometimes I overdo this and can feel overwhelmed with ideas. Other times I get caught in a groove of producing creative work until I feel depleted of energy.
A creative retreat is a supportive time for filtering out noise and distractions and digesting and exploring ideas. It’s a way to provide some physical, head and heart space for new possibilities. It isn’t all about resting and nor is it about forcing output — it is about finding a nourishing balance between both – letting new information land, weave and express into new creative offerings and then trying out new ways of expressing.
In the past, I have taken full weeks for creative retreats to deep-dive into creative projects with wild abandon. But a full week is not always feasible so I have been curious about how to create a micro creative retreat week (a week peppered with supportive practices) as a way of fostering self-care and balancing information input and creative output.
If you are interested in creating your own micro retreat below I have listed some of the things that can be supportive:
Gathering your creative materials
Get a notebook and pen, and art materials e.g. pencils, post-its, sheets of paper, paints, old magazines, scissors, glue etc and have them close at hand for moments of inspiration. Create a space for them and lay them out so that they are really easy to access.
Set an intention
Take time to ask yourself what kind of support you need this week. Set an intention to meet that support as best you can. Write it out and stick it up in a part of your work/creative space as a visible reminder.
Not everyone’s advice is right for you and especially if you are in a place of information overload. Remind yourself of your intention and practice saying thank you and ‘no’ to unsolicited advice that does not serve you. This is the same for advice from the internet — there is an overwhelming amount of information and advice out there so for this week limit your time online — even avoid social media for a day and notice how you feel with less screen time.
Stop and digest
Take 5 minutes to pause during your day to take notice of your breathing, your heart rate and the feelings in your body — heat and cold, dullness and aliveness, heaviness and lightness. Take notice of your thoughts and feelings — try being a curious and kind observer of what you experience. Just noticing your body, thoughts and feelings can be a powerful way to give you a nourishing and inspiring energy boost.
Take 10 minutes to dance to two pieces of music that you’ve never danced to before — let yourself explore moving in unconventional ways, let it be silly, let it be awkward, and let yourself be clumsy. I have found this to be such a great creative release — it gets me out of the static of my mind and into movements that I can get really curious about. It also can be great for a good release of laughter!
Take time to express
Give yourself small pockets of time to let ideas digest and weave. Try long handwriting and letting it be a stream of consciousness or you can set a timer and write or mind map about one particular topic for ten minutes without stopping.
Take time to nourish your soul
Take a walk where you stop and savour some elements of nature, listen to birdsong or a beautiful piece of classical music, sit in front of a favourite painting in an art gallery and just really let yourself drink it in as soul nourishment.
At the end of your week reflect back on how you did. Reflect on what was supportive, what wasn’t, what was challenging and what was easy and what you would like to keep in your week as a regular micro support practice.
Taking time to digest and express, is essential for your well-being and your creativity. I am really looking forward to exploring these micro retreats this week. I have arranged paper pencils and paint so I can move, dance, meditate, write and draw with any ideas that come up.
I invite you to join me in creating some space for yourself this week for a micro-creative retreat. Try out some of these ideas, explore some of your own and please do let me know how you get on.
That is it for this week, short and sweet. Wishing you a beautifully creative and nourishing week.