So it’s been exactly twenty days since my Zero energy, zero creativity post and I seem to be turning things around in that department. Here’s a few things that I’ve been doing that seem to have helped kickstart my energy level.
All Hail the Mighty Juicer
One of the things that that documentary Hungry for Change recommended was to use a juicer as a way to quickly cram in all the nutrients your body is secretly craving. I am not a veggie person or a fruit person, so the idea of consuming the equivalent of several servings of vegetables in liquid form in a matter of seconds was actually kind of appealing. Thus, not long after my last blog post, I went and bought myself a Breville Compact Juice Fountain and have been using it regularly for the past couple weeks.
I know what you’re thinking… oh God, you’ve become one of those crazy people that drinks liquid kale for breakfast…
Actually yes! And before you run in terror let me just say, don’t knock it until you try it.
The trick is to not to start with the crazy green juices, but to start with the easy sweet juices and work from there. Things like Apple-Carrot-Celery and Pear-Carrot-Ginger—both of which are excellent and are not alarming to your tastebuds in the slightest.
The other trick is to simply use the web to find juicing combinations that other people actually like. I doubt liquid kale would taste very appealing by itself, but mixed in with other things you don’t really taste it at all.
This is the current green juice recipe I’m drinking which I based on something I found on the Omega Juicer site. I’m having it a couple times a week alongside my other sweet juice combos and it tastes pretty much like a less-sweet version of apple juice with a bit of kick to it from the ginger. I find the ginger really helps otherwise the green juice recipes are quite bland. I also sometimes add a couple handfuls of spinach if I need to get rid of extra salad spinach in the fridge.
Green Juice with Ginger
- 3-4 leaves of kale
- half a cucumber
- 2-3 sticks of celery
- 1 green apple
- 1 tsp of lemon juice — you can make it fresh but I just get mine from a bottle
- 1 small piece of ginger
Returning to my Morning Pages
If you’re a creative sort, I highly recommend at some point in your life reading and working your way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. The book is a 12 week program to that’s designed to help you breakdown your inner creative blocks whether you’re a writer, artist, musician, etc. etc.
I worked my way through the program some years back and I intend at some point to do a proper blog post about it, but one of the key components to it is the practice of Morning Pages. The idea is to write out by hand three stream of conscious pages every morning immediately after you wake up. You never show these pages to anyone and the practice is designed to act as a kind of mental dump for whatever is currently on your mind at the start of the day. All your fears. All your doubts. All the things you’re excited about. Whatever is at the forefront of your mind as your pen hovers over the page, you empty it all out and then start your day fresh. It’s best to not even look back at your pages later since the idea is that they’re a kind of mental refuse bin for thoughts that might be gumming up the works in terms of your energy or creativity.
As someone with a writing bent, I never really had a hard time doing my Morning Pages while on Cameron’s 12-week program. Still, for whatever reason, I had fallen out of the habit of doing them the last little while and dragging my sorry ass out of bed in the morning had become a real trial. Once I started up again, I found that my head was much less foggy and full of crap by the time I fully started my day. This morning I was wide awake at 6am, (yes, on a Saturday), more than happy to dump my thoughts on the page as soon as I turned on the bedside lamp.
Heading Back to School—sort of
I’ve often said that, even though they didn’t get me the studio job I wanted at the time, the two years I spent in animation school were the best two years of my life. I loved going to school. I loved being around people who were excited about the same things I was. I loved seeing my artistic skills improve in leaps and bounds. I loved having this dedicated piece of my life explicitly carved out to do creative work.
The sad thing about the 9-to-5 grind for many of us is that there always seems to be a reason not to pick up the paintbrush or work on that next story—even if it’s a reason like “man, I really need to get my laundry done this weekend.” I think doing something like paying for a class gives us stodgy, responsible adults the excuse we need to let our inner artist child out to play.
Oh these crayons? Yea, it’s for a class I’m taking. It’s perfectly reasonable.
So, starting February 21st, I’ll be heading over after work to take my first class at Emily Carr in Illustration for Picture Books.
Excited? You have no idea. I was in a meeting on Friday morning at work surrounded by three exhausted, work-weary people who were desperately craving their coffee and the weekend in that order. I had gone to an info session at Emily Carr the previous night, so I was practically bouncing off the walls.