This winter I thought that I had lost my inspiration. I’m sure that I am not alone, considering all that has been happening in the world. But my inspiration was never lost, I was just moving through the different seasons of creativity.
As an introvert, and someone who generally hibernates inside when the weather gets cold, I did not think that the lockdown winter of 2020 was going to be that much different from how I normally spend my winters working from home. What I didn’t count on was how the general feeling of anxiety and fear in the world was going to affect me.
Many times I found myself thinking about the ways of coping with anxiety that Lenka and I wrote about in our book. Sometimes I even found myself doing some of the exercises from the book, like taking deep breaths and trying to focus on doing things one step at a time.
Sometimes I felt a little embarrassed about feeling so anxious when I have written a book to try and help others with anxiety.
These past few months have truly been winter for me – in terms of creativity and inspiration as well. But I have learned that just like the seasons, nothing lasts forever. A fallow period can give way to new inspiration.
I would like to share three things that I have learnt over the past winter that have helped me to make this unproductive period a little easier to endure.
1. Don’t force it
Some of the most frustrating days that I’ve had over the past few months were when I tried to force myself to be productive. Eventually I threw all expectations and deadlines that I had set myself at the beginning of the year out of the window.
I allowed myself to work only on things that felt “easy”. For a while I focused on cooking nice meals and doing household chores. I lowered my expectations and stopped berating myself about neglecting my business and my creative work.
2. Learn something
I was halfway through my yoga for children teacher training when the pandemic hit. As soon as the lockdown started, I joined a local yoga studio offering zoom classes to motivate me to continue with my own yoga practice. I was also lucky to be able to continue my teacher training online.
Doing yoga 3-5 times per week has really been my saving grace. It has been incredibly helpful for me to become a student again, and to absorb new knowledge at a time when I felt so uninspired to share what I know with the world. It has also been the tiny seed that I needed to get my own creativity to bloom again.
3. Be patient
Sometimes it feels to me like winter will last forever, and then suddenly one morning it is Spring! Just like we cannot give the seasons deadlines for when they should be over, we cannot know when inspiration will strike again. All we can do is trust that our creativity will return.
This is probably the most important lesson that I have learned this year: Even the deepest, darkest, coldest and most panic-stricken winter must end at some point. And even if Spring still feels very tentative and the first tiny buds and blossoms seem so fragile, it holds the promise of new life, new inspiration and new hope.
May you find joy and beauty in every season, no matter what season of creativity you find yourself in right now! Also remember to be extra kind to yourself, doing the best you can in any given moment is good enough!