Choosing Creativity, Connection & Calm

How are you holding up?

I keep reminding myself that stress and anxiety do nothing to contribute to my resilience, strength and resourcefulness during challenging times. Instead I am actively reaching for things that contribute to my calm.

What’s Currently Supporting Me

  • Listening to gentle music. Here’s a soothing playlist I’m enjoying on Spotify: Strings for Sleeping.
  • Tidying my home, particularly the studio. It’s become quite chaotic and I feel so much better when it’s at least a little orderly.
  • Cleaning with love and intention. From my hands to the countertop, from the light switches to our laundry, it feels good to wash away worry and dirt.
  • Frequent lie-downs. This is especially nourishing when I can curl up amidst the kittens and be serenaded by purrs.
  • Time in my Studio Yearbook, writing, doodling, cutting and pasting, washi-ing, colouring, generally messing around.

During this week’s Studio Yearbook kick-off, participants shared some of things that are helping them stay nourished and calm. There were so many great suggestions that I pulled together the common threads as a robust resource for us all.

What’s Currently Supporting Studio Yearbookers

Connecting with Nature. This was the major theme amongst yearbookers. Whether it’s stepping out into the backyard, going for a walk (wherever you are, no matter the weather, with dog or without dog) or listening to the birds through your window, tuning into the beauty and aliveness of the natural world is a balm. It’s reassuring how, as yearbooker Sabrina put it, “Everything goes on as usual in nature.”

Breathe. Throughout your day, simply pause and take a deep breath. Breathe with your whole body. Feel the difference it makes. Step outside or open your window and gather beautiful fresh air into your lungs.

Time with Furry Friends. If you have pets, they are such a comfort. As I’m writing, Scout is curled up behind me on my chair, leaning into my lower back. In a time of social isolation, it’s nice to have that physical connection!

Gratitude. This is always a powerful practice and even more so now. In the midst of this crisis, take some time to recognize the gifts that are present and available to you right here and right now.

Movement. We may be spending most of our time indoors but that doesn’t mean we have to stay still. Studio Yearbookers are stretching, dancing, doing yoga and Tai Chi to keep their bodies moving. There are lots of free resources online to support you in finding your way to move. For example, I know a lot of people enjoy Yoga with Adrienne and I quite like Yogamazing with Chaz.

Meditation. Even a 5-minute meditation will bring respite to your day. Again, there are many resources online to get you started, including the popular Insight Timer app. For a live experience, my meditation teacher Susan Piver is currently hosting meditation gatherings free online each day. Find out more here.

Filter. As I mentioned last week, I encourage you to stay informed and to also manage your input. You get to be your own filter and choose when, what, how much and from where you take in information. Trust your instincts. You are allowed to choose what is right for you.

Connecting with Loved Ones. Reach out to people you care about. Send a text or an email. Make a call. See if you can set up some family FaceTme, a coffee date on Zoom. Studio Yearbooker Susan is reading stories to her grandchildren across the country. What a great way to spend some of the day!

Be Present. Instead of spinning with worry about what might be, remind yourself of what is true in this moment. As yearbooker Amy says, “For now I am well. I am safe. I have plenty of food. That’s enough for this moment.”

Create. Studio Yearbookers are baking bread, making soup, painting, reading poetry, drawing, dancing, taking photos, writing, Many of us are finding ourselves with the gift of found time. Treat it like a precious gift and come to the work, the projects, the practices that have been waiting for you.

Creative Sharing

Not only are people doing beautiful things to nourish themselves but there are also so many finding ways to nourish one another!

Sing. This week my beloved Choir! Choir! Choir! hosted a Social Isola-sing-along on Facebook. For an hour, 9,000 people around the world sang together*. We couldn’t see or hear each other but oh, could we feel the togetherness! They will be hosting more of these events. If you want to participate, be sure to like their Facebook page here.

Attend. Also this week the ever-inspiring Indigo Girls held a live concert and Q&A on Facebook and Instagram. What a joy to be invited into their living room! It was so special to not just be with them but also, as I saw the comments going by, to recognize some of my dear friends in the crowd! Even though we live far from one another, we attended our first live concert together! Just like choir, the Indigo Girls have said they will be doing more of these events. Follow them here if you want to attend.

Listen. These things usually pop-up rather quickly so you have to keep your eyes open! One thing that I know that is available right now is that Audible is opening their vault of kids stories (including classics like Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, etc) whiles schools are closed. These are free to listen to here. (Thanks to my sister Shannon for the tip.)

Let’s all take exquisite care of ourselves and each other. Stay connected. Celebrate the blessings. There are good people everywhere.

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If you’ve been looking for a place to fill your creative well, to discover your creative self, to stretch your creative wings, Jamie Ridler Studios is here for you.

When you sign up, you will get a 10% discount on all classes and access to abundant free resources such as Studio Forum recordings on topics such as Journaling, Creative Habits & Challenges! Plus you will receive a weekly email love letter and occasional announcements for courses and offerings.

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