The Fragile Creative Brain

September 24, 2012

With the Equinox now behind us, and the feeling of fall in the air (more, please!), I'm very aware that we're coasting towards short, cold days here in Minnesota. I signed up for this when I officially moved here 7 years ago, so I'm ok with it. But, as they days have been getting crisper, I've been feeling considerably off my game. It could be the whole 2-moves-in-8-weeks thing, but I'm seeing some of the same issues I dealt with last year- the difficulty sleeping, the middle-of-the-night anxiety, the feeling of overwhelm and dread and the trickier time recognizing what 'happy' looks like.

I'll say right away that it looks nothing like last year-- it's not nearly as settled in over me, but instead comes and goes. But, I'm aware that it could get to be a problem as the days get shorter and the cold makes it harder to get out and conquer life.

What I learned from my last experience (and from many wise words from fellow Fragile Brain Chemistry buddies), is that during these times, when your emotional landscape is unpredictable, you almost have to treat yourself like a small child. Routines are necessary (waking times, sleeping times, exercise times), exercise is non-negotiable, eating regular meals with protein is key, and avoiding any inclination to find solace in a bottle of wine (or bourbon!) is advisable. Think about today, and less about tomorrow. Do something nice, just because it is nice, and don't be too worried when it doesn't make you feel amazing. It could be different tomorrow-- or in a few weeks. Fingers crossed.

I've learned this year that the hardest thing about being a creative person is to get out of your own way so that you can Do.The.Work. It's been my motto as I've been working with other people to make their own creative work a reality. How can I help you get out of your own way? Because, the projects and baby ideas that you're dreaming up demand so much time, risk, and energy. They demand that you're healthy- brains and bodies a like. So, these times where the sun is sinking require a certain amount of self-care, and a break from anything that might stand in the way.

What do you do to fight off depression and anxiety?

{PS: I'm not a doctor, and these are my own experiences. Please go see a medical professional if you have questions or concerns about your own mental health!}

Pictures: Happy thoughts of State Fair pumpkins, fall bicycle rides, portraits by my goddaughter Rosemary, and Little the cat (who always needs a pillow).

Shape Your Content- With Braid Creative

September 19, 2012

When I decided that I wanted to start a business, I needed some help with my piles of unruly ideas. There were too many of them for starters, and they weren't making sense together. I needed some tough love, so I hired the kickass ladies at Braid Creative, Kathleen Shannon and Tara Street. They've continued to help Ben and I with business branding and packaging; I can't say enough good things about them.

Now you can work with them, too. They've just unveiled the first of their ECourses-- Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How To Buy You. I got a sneak peak this week (RHYME!), and it's fantastic, complete with four lessons, videos, and worksheets that you can complete on your own time.

Registration closes this Sunday the 23rd, and the class runs from September 24-30 (you can complete the lessons at any time throughout this week). And, for buddies, they're offering a discounted rate of $50 for the class. Use the code BRAIDFRIENDSEPT2012 when you check out.

Camp Patience

September 12, 2012

Last year for my 29th birthday, I asked the birthday fairy for some life clarity and a pair of balls (side note: why do we associate testicles with bravery?). I got them! That was really nice. For my 30th birthday, I've asked for patience. Because, It's tricky when you get clarity, see what you want, and then realize that it's not going to happen overnight. If you're a type-A control freak (*cough*) it's especially hard.

As I was packing and gathering boxes for our second move, and feeling frustrated that life events were preventing me from focusing on things like our business website, my inner whine started in. Why are we alllllways in transition? Why is there alllllways so much change going on? And then I realized: dude, life is just one big transition. Or, at least it tends to be when you're a creative, ambitious type with a lot of ideas about the life you want to live.  As my wise and awesome older sister once reminded me, creating the life you imagine is totally possible, and it's also damn hard work.

But, I feel pretty lucky to have the opportunity.

While I wait for the birthday fairy to drop some patience off at my door, I've been trying the following:

:: Looking at written reminders of the things I'm working towards, and the baby steps I need to go through to get there. Fast or slow, it helps me see where I'm going and not get muddy in the process. [Note: these directions might change-- that's ok, too.]

:: Putting energy towards the things that are going to give me the most momentum and/or make me feel like I'm making the most progress. I am one person. I can't do it all at once, and when I try, everything turns to shit. But, taking action and accomplishing something that's furthering my goals feels great, and that great feeling propels me further. [I try to remember that] I'd rather accomplish one things solidly (a chunk of a website, unpacking my closet) than do eight things half-assly. And, if I'm tired and not doing things efficiently, it's better for me to take a break than to keep moving along ineffectively.

:: Practicing perspective. Damn, it's really hard. But, is anyone going to die if my website is up 2 weeks later? No. Is my house going to be a mess of boxes forever? Will it be an eternity before I have time to take a yoga class again? Not if I prioritize it. In the grand scheme, everything is really ok. Heck, everything is great.

I listened to this David Foster Wallace commencement address this morning, and the timing couldn't be better. Amidst transition, a desire for Camp Patience and Camp Perspective, these words ring so true. Listen up-- life is short, so let's not miss it. [You can find Part 2 of the address here.]

Photos from our Chicago pit stop on the way home from visiting Ohio family.

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