Firstly everyone, thank you so much. You guys have been giving me so much great feedback on my self care posts recently, so hopefully I’m helping someone out there or giving you some ideas. Either way I’m glad you’re enjoying them, because I have another one for you today!
So let’s talk about creativity, and how helpful it is for self care AND an ethical lifestyle. I remember in 2011 I went to a small talk led by a psychologist and he talked about creativity and caring for yourself. He spoke about when we’re in perhaps a more fragile mental state, for example feeling stressed or lonely, getting creative is an incredible tool to get out of that bad place. For the longest time I thought about that in the professional sense which was fine for me as I could, you know, do some choreography or something, but what about the self-proclaimed ‘non creatives’? Those who just aren’t necessarily wired creatively?
As time has gone on I’ve begun to expand my understanding of what creativity can really be, and I’ve realised it’s about finding what works for you. Feeding your soul, if you will. Before I properly decided to go zero waste I started making people gifts for Christmases and birthdays because it was cheaper to make one thing en masse for everyone, and people could appreciate the love and effort that went into them. One year I made everyone candles, another I made old records I found in charity shops into bowls (side note, this is is SUPER easy to do if you’re interested). I started to realise how much more fun it was to make things for someone than to just buy them more stuff. Then last Christmas I decided to make everyone homemade body scrubs, and something just clicked. I had so much fun tinkering with the recipe; the colours, oils and ingredients that I could put in. I remembered when I was a kid growing up in the Harry Potter generation and I would pretend to make potions in the bath. This was like grown up potions, except it actually produced a real life thing at the end that I could give to someone. And more than that, my friends really liked these gifts. A friend of mine in Scotland (why do you live so far from me) messaged me and asked me to open an Etsy shop so she could get more of the scrub I’d made for her, another friend told me it really helped her sensitive skin. It was like a double whammy of good feelings, the joy of making something and the joy of it benefitting the recipient too.
In that moment I wasn’t being an artist making something new, I was following a recipe and having a little play with things as I went. But the point is I was making something, I was taking elements and putting them together to make a new thing. Like the colours of paint that mix together on a palette, that’s what I was doing. I realised that what creativity looks like is up to you, it doesn’t have to fit in a formal box. Anyone can make something, anyone can be creative. And when you really get into making something, it’s absorbing. Now I heard the psychologist talk on this five years ago so I’m paraphrasing here (and please forgive my absolute lack of technical lingo), but I remember him talking about how the physical act of making something activates a specific part of our brain in which its almost impossible to feel unhappy because we’re so absorbed in the creating, and I’ve definitely felt like this at times, I also find it happens to me when I’m cooking. Again I’m often following a recipe, not innovating from scratch, but the act of making it can bring me a lot of joy as I watch a combination of ingredients become something new that I made. This really acts as a form of self care for me, I get something out of it and I get the joy of making it in the moment.
So how does this relate to ethical living? Well wanting to live an ethical lifestyle often means cutting out certain products because of either their ingredients, their production or their packaging. I always try to highlight great alternative products because I know we’re all busy here, trust me I know, and I believe we vote with what we buy and I want to support entrepreneurs and innovative businesses that are actually providing solutions, but I also want to highlight the benefits of making things sometimes. Not just because we get to control what’s in the products, not just because it produces less waste, but because it can be a really really great form of self care. There are a lot of zero wasters out there who advocate for making everything yourself, and in a perfect world that’s what I’d do. But this isn’t a perfect world, I have about a zillion jobs right now and I’ve been moving house, so this just isn’t feasible. I’ll probably always buy my zero waste shampoo from Lush and my cleaning products from Bio-D. I’m sure many of you out there feel the same. So I’m not going to tell you to make every product you ever use for yourself or in your home, I’m still going to help you find the best alternatives. But, I am going to be sharing DIY recipes because I think that if you ever get a free Saturday, a day off or like me you want to make some Christmas gifts why not have a go as a form of self care? Yes you’ll be helping the planet, yes you’ll know exactly what’s in your product, but you’ll also be getting creative and hopefully having a happier brain. Remember it’s no pressure, if it doesn’t come out perfect that’s ok too, it’s about the act of getting stuck in, just having a go and making something. What have you got to lose?
For some people creativity is their job, for others its integral to their ethical lifestyle. I’m here to say lets reclaim creativity for everyone. You may feel like the most uncreative person out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make something. Lets claim creativity as a form of loving ourselves and having fun, and maybe showing our love for others if we’re making them a wee gift. With that in mind, I’ll be sharing some recipes and testimonials in the coming posts to help you get started. Let’s get crafty!
Until next time, stay magic y’all.