Creativity is kind of my jam (musical reference to “that’s my thing”). I’ve posted ad nauseam on this site about my views on the benefits of creativity. Studies demonstrate its positive impact on brain health and physical wellness.
So, of course, I read with interest an article by Marta Churchwell about the interaction of creativity and the holidays. Churchwell said she handmade all of her own Christmas tree decorations last season.
“It was lighthearted fun that charged me with the holiday spirit, melting away my typical Christmas stress. I’m like so many people who find Christmas a bit trying.
A season that is rich in family tradition can be rather melancholic for those of us who have strained family relations or have lost family members. Adding to that is the stress of a jam-packed holiday schedule — decorating, balancing all the holiday parties and special events, and gift-buying that may pressure the finances and test the patience while waiting in shopping lines.
She adds that her homemade decorations project convinced her that creativity can be an elixir for Christmas and New Years stress. Research studies increasingly are documenting the positive impact of creativity in reducing stress both psychologically and physiologically.
While it relaxes us, creative projects also reduce cortisol, the hormone released by stress.
Now, I’m utterly crazy about the holidays — the colorful lights, the scent of a fragrant tree, choral music, and family gatherings. But I have felt a little extra stress squeeze this year as I rushed to meet the looming December 25th deadline.
But I have witnessed first-hand in my own household how creativity helps. My husband joined a choral group this year, The Bach Festival Choir, and has spent hours rehearsing and performing which, in spite of the extra time commitment, has actually enhanced his appreciation of the season.
I’m curious – how do you feel about the holidays?
What’s Next Boomer designed a holiday quiz to assess how each of the archetypes (Rebel, Dreamer, Sage, and Caretaker) handles the holidays. If you have not yet taken the quiz, click here. The results can be quite revealing even if Christmas Day has come and gone or the eight days of Hanukkah have expired.
From our family to yours, we hope you had a wonderful holiday season! Happy New Year!
Liz Kitchens is a writer and blogger. Her blog, Be Brave. Lose the Beige, reaches out to Lady Boomers, women of the Baby Boomer generation. Liz also blogs for Growing Bolder and Vibrant Nation, two sites devoted to aging issues. Liz conducts workshops on the health benefits of creativity and is an ambassador for the Creative Caregiving Initiative sponsored by the NCCA, The National Center for Creative Aging. Liz founded the Jeremiah Project, an after school and summer creative arts program designed to foster self esteem and encourage creative thinking among at risk middle school aged students.