Maintaining Your Work Over Winter Break

mountains
Thomas Hawk via Flickr

As the semester comes to an end, a rush of relaxation fills most students’ bodies and minds. It is finally time to be free- from deadlines, meetings, obligations.

But what will we do with all this free time? Sure, a month and a half can go by pretty fast. Especially with holidays and vacations and perhaps short-term classes filling that void.

However, breaks are no excuse to veg out completely. While it can be easy to succumb to a lifetime of Netflix and extended naps, staying on top of your game will feel just as good, if not better. Our brains are muscles that must be worked consistently in order to maintain their strength.

So utilize your break! Without classes to distract you, there is more time to devote to your artistic intuition. I encourage you all to make the most of it- don’t let your practice fall by the wayside.

Here are some ideas for keeping your creative juices flowing while classes are out of session:

1. Keep a journal– Write down every intriguing thought or idea that you have. Even if it seems trivial at the time, it may become the backbone of a great future plan. There is something about physically writing that stimulates the imagination. Make doodles too, if it helps. Anything to get your visions down on paper is a great first step.

doodle
Kanghee Ree via Flickr

2. Make time– Pick at least one hour a week to devote to some creative process (such as painting, drawing, writing, sculpting, what have you). It’s so easy to go through a break with good intentions yet no drive, letting months go by with no actual progress. If you set a goal right off the bat, you are more likely to stick with it. Maybe you can even share your target with a friend to set up accountability.

3. Search for inspiration– Check out local galleries, shows and exhibits to remind you of your own expressive aim. If you are in the Greensboro area, check out the Greenhill Winter Show between December 7 and January 11. You could also head to The 205 Collaborative on the second Saturday of each month for a viewing and artist meet & greet. Those are just some happenings around the Triad- see what you can conjure up!

art
A montage from Greenhill’s Winter Show

4. Get back to the basics– Do simple activities that make you happy but that may seem mundane at this point in your life. Braid a bracelet. Draw in a coloring book. Take photos with an old, disposable camera. Anything like this is helpful in reconnecting you with why you love to make art in the first place. You are never too experienced to return to fundamentals.

*Even better: make a commitment to practice some elementary activity like those mentioned above for every single day of your break. Monotony and routine are good for cognition. Your brain will thank you for these simple exercises.

5. Find the like-minded– Join a MeetUp Group or event nearby to meet others with similar interests and objectives. Meetup.com has several art-related groups in Greensboro, such as Triad Art + Tech and The Artist Bloc. You can also peruse Craigslist or your local classifieds for artist hangouts, or you could even form one yourself!

I hope these suggestions help you and guide you through this long-awaited (and well-deserved) winter break. Devote your time to self-care and rejuvenation, but don’t forget to keep that brain sharp.

I wish you all a joyous and creative holiday season. See you next semester!

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