Simplicity

How to Balance Being Creative While Living a Slow Lifestyle

May 6, 2021

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I'm Helena!

A sunny gal from Cali living in the south of France. I adore slow living, magic, and celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I’m a self-proclaimed Disney nerd (as is my husband!), obsessed with cats and cocoa, and you can often find me swimming with the fishies in the salty sea. Come along and enjoy the magic, the simple joys of life with me...

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Hello dear blog reader!

These past few months I’ve been contemplating the topics I want to delve deeper in here on the good ol’ blog, and two of my favorite subjects to think and write about are: slow living and creativity.

Creativity is my dearest companion. For me, creating things and finding inspiration in the smallest of things has always come easiest to me. If I had to choose, I would rather spend an afternoon writing short stories, slinging my camera strap on my shoulder while I explore a new village, and scribbling poems in a notebook before drifting off to sleep at night than watching Netflix or listening to a podcast.

But navigating the almighty powers that be of creativity is easier for some and more challenging for others.

But here’s the thing:

Creativity is Our Birth Right

We are creative beings. All of us.

We came here to this Earth to create. And you don’t have to be a creative genius or a full-time artist to be creative. You are creative no matter if that’s in the simple tasks such as arranging a bouquet of wildflowers in your kitchen, pasting together a funky collage on your vision board or even experimenting with a new hair style or dinner recipe on a quiet Sunday evening.

We are all creators.

Since the very beginning of time, it is our birthright to make things, to tell stories, to share with others.

A recent comment from a lovely subscriber got me thinking about my own process being a creator online while living a slower-paced life, and I thought I’d share with you how I live a simple and slow lifestyle while being a content creator that creates, documents and shares on a weekly basis. Here we go!

Limit Your Consumption

When I left social media, suddenly I had all this extra time. But more than just time, I had more energy. I had more energy to give. More energy to create. More energy to create for not only myself (I write fictional short stories and poetry in my spare time- work that n0 one will ever see but me) but creations that will uplift and inspire others. I also have a lot more time in my daily life to slow down because I limit my consumption. I stay in my own lane and I don’t watch many content creators. I don’t use streaming services. My phone goes untouched for the vast majority of the day. I don’t scroll. And the little content I do consume inspires and uplifts me. I have these limits in place because I wish to enjoy my life, the simple moments that can only be spotted when you’re really, truly present. I don’t feel the need to network or stay in the current online trends. I don’t have big, ambitious dreams for myself – I enjoy the simpler things of life and don’t need more – because of that, I don’t feel a fear of missing out. There’s also another big reason: I want my creations to stay as original and as close to the source (my intuition) as possible. 

Living a life of integrity demands that you stay in your own lane.

And dear reader, please note that this realization has come just very recently! Back in November last year, I had this very epiphany, this moment of clarity, this realization for my own personal and creative life. And once had, I couldn’t look back.

When a truth strikes, it strikes hard….and right through the heart.

I noticed that, for me, when I put a limit on my media consumption, I had so much more time to give myself, my partner and others. And this included time for my own personal and spiritual life – away from content creation. Lovely soul…you have so much more to give. 

You have so much more to give.

Put social media aside. Put a time limit on your Youtube watch time. Toss Netflix aside for a week. And go out there and make something with all that infinite reserves of energy. After setting these new habits in place, eventually, the months will roll by…and you’ll realize how little you miss it.

Know What You Love

As a creator of any kind – especially those online – you have a myriad of options to choose from. It’s a gold rush here on the internet. It’s the Wild freakin’ West! And anyone who desires to create from their underpants for a living wants a slice of the pie. But for this very reason, it’s imperative that you know the type of content you want to create and eliminate the rest.

Strict boundaries are an essential component to living slowly.

Only do what you really love. Be specific. Put your complete focus on the 1-2 things you really enjoy spending your time doing. And don’t give a split second thought to the others. 

I’ll give you a personal example: Everyone keeps telling me I need to be on Tik Tok. I could easily be active on Instagram or Tik Tok right now, but here’s the thing: I know it wouldn’t bring me joy. Being “on” all the time on social media, creating graphics and editing photos and reels on my iPhone does not bring me fulfillment or intrinsic satisfaction. Long form content is my jam! Let me write a novel, a saga, a 20 page love letter. Lend my hand to a lengthy blog posts, an opera, create a long video. 

Short-form content that is seen and quickly dumped, with no time for reflection and contemplation and critical assessment is not for me.

Showing my life every single day on Instagram stories feels performative. Which is why last Fall, I left social media for good. I knew I had to cut the things out that didn’t serve me so I could add more space for my personal life and the things that do bring me immense amount of joy. Which is why I only create content that lights. ME. UP.

Which brings me to the next point….

Create When You Feel Excited

Creating should feel exciting. Making something that you are inspired by should feel like a brilliant bolt of energy, or at least a sweet peaceful feeling of contentedness as you’re creating. Creativity should never feel forced and out of alignment with your desires. Creativity often feels like it needs to be expressed. And when you honor the gift of creativity and when you honor your own energy, your natural rhythms as an artist, creating will never feel like a chore. It will feel like you’re following your true north, like you’re in your element. Creating should give you energy, not deplete you of it. 

Trust the Timing of Inspiration

One of the reasons I am constantly flowing with new ideas, insights and inspiration is because I trust that inspiration will always be there. I don’t worry about my next big idea, the next video I’ll be creating or how I’ll use my gifts to make something. Ideas always come. And they always come for this simple reason: I trust that they will.

Trust is magnetic.

It is one of the most mind-blowingly powerful, energetic vibrations out there. Trusting in something means not being thirsty if it arrives or not. Trusting in something means you’re happy either way. You’re satisfied, no matter what the outcome is. In essence, it’s not caring whether it goes away or ricochets back. We all have certain areas in our lives where we are more thirsty for things than others. But having that awareness of what areas in your life you are most desperate of wanting, and channeling your energy towards healing and working through that (there are many different modalities – I particularly love journaling and tapping) is the first key step. Trust that ideas will always be there. Trust that when inspiration comes a-knockin, that’s when it’s time to answer! And when it doesn’t, go do something that makes you feel good. Notice the simple joys that are already in your life and go play! 

Work With Your Natural Rhythms

As creative people, we need to understand our own natural rhythms. And then jump on the moments when we find that creative flow state. There is a great book called the Fringe Hours that describes how we all have unique times in our days when we are most focused, creative and on fire. My husband is most creative between 6am and noon. I am most creative between 4pm and 9pm….Then, if I don’t go to sleep on time, I get another wave between 1am and 3am.  Knowing your body and knowing what times you get most energized and excited to make stuff helps immensely in scheduling times to work. 

I think what makes creating easy for me is that I intuitively follow nature’s wisdom, my own inner compass. Creation can be easy, simple, and straightforward if we allow it to be. Creating a masterpiece can be as easy as listening to feel-good music in the morning, getting a spontaneous idea dropped down to you while taking a walk, picking up your camera, filming a scene in total utter joy, spending a day editing it, taking a few minutes to schedule it to Youtube. Done.  And all it took was one day of fun, sweat and excitement. Creation can be that easy. But that’s why getting into alignment first before taking any inspired action –  which I write about in this older blog post here – is literally everything and more to fully enjoying this process in an efficient, effective, and fun way. And when it comes time to create, here’s one thing that really helps me when I’m creating…

Don’t Box Yourself In

I’m all about structure and discipline. In fact, I find that I am most creative and excited about creating when I have structure in my week. Routine is helpful! It gives me a sense of time and place. Giving myself projects and deadlines motivates and energizes me to get out of bed each morning. But while I use to-do lists and a calendar, I also allow myself to be flexible and follow my intuition when it gently nudges me to go in a completely different direction. I adjust my sails when a wave appears, so to speak. If I am not feeling super creative, not wanting to write or work on video editing one day, I’ll respond to emails or do simple admin work. If I feel a rush of creative juice flow through me, I pick up my camera and roll with it. There is no pressure and there is no strict schedule. But things have to go out on time, right? Sure! I am fond of consistency. I appreciate the sustained effort and steady discipline in any area of making art. But there is one thing I must do if I’m going to live intuitively and remain flexible with creativity. 

And that is planning…in advance. 

Work Hard < Work Smart

It takes time to create. But when you work smart – instead of living that work-hard, play-hard hustle – work really does not take as much time.

There are a few ways to work smarter rather than harder: A focused list of 1-2 daily tasks. Timers are a Godsend. Pomodoro method – yes please.

I wish I could say my Youtube videos come out the week after I film them. But that’s simply not true. In fact, I schedule my videos 2 weeks in advance. So whichever video you see online that week was most likely (not all of the time – I leave room for sudden intuitive nudges or swift changes in direction if need be – , but most of the time) filmed and edited two weeks prior. Batch working and scheduling content well in advance gives me ample space and time to breathe, rest and live slowly. If I’m not feeling creative one week, a video is still ready to go live. And that happens because I work with my natural energy. If I feel excited and motivated to create, I create. If it feels forced or sloppy or uninspired, I don’t create. But because I worked with my inspired energy prior, I am able to take that time off if needed. Batching and scheduling out work in advance as a creator is a very useful tidbit!

Work with Your Energy

There is a fun modality called human design that shows us how we use and work with our energy. Based on the time and place you were born, some of us are constantly creating from a slow and steady pace…enduring like a snail. Others wait patiently for inspiration and then run with it, batch working and creating quickly in large quantities and then resting for the remaining 80% of their time…like a cheetah and a sloth. Others must wait for others to recognize them, instead of them initializing action or responding to others. And the rarest of all reflect back. 

I don’t really follow human design closely – it’s just another fun tool to put in your trusty tool kit if it happens to resonate with you. I know my type and I do resonate with it, but just having that awareness and recognizing how my energy works, helps guide and support me throughout the process of creation. 

Have Off-Time

Sure, some of us – heck, many of us – are natural-born creators with an immense fuel tank of motivation and energy to create magic every day.  But we’re also human.  We need complete days of rest. I’m talkin’ days where you do diddly squat! And we need off-time.  Most of the days in my week are not spent working on videos, because I only create when I spot inspiration. And you know…also for the simple reason that I really don’t want to lug my camera around everywhere I go and document every second of my life. That’s exhausting. 

Having a schedule, a game plan, a shot-list, a calendar, dedicated office work hours – all of that helps separate work time from free time. (This is where that structure and batch working comes in handy!) Anyone who works online will say that it’s hard to turn off your brain. Any photographer or videographer will begin to tell you after doing it for awhile that they start to see life through “frames.” This is natural and this is okay. 

As passionate creatives, we love what we do. It lights up our fiery butts just thinkin’ about it! Creating feels like so much fun, it doesn’t even feel like work most of the time!

But that idea is exactly what leads us to burnout. Which is why turning off everyday is critically important. Having dedicated office hours. Having 2-3 days a week off from no work, no content creation, is healthy and absolutely necessary. For not only your own sanity and inner peace, but for those that are delighting in it with you.

I hope these ideas bring you some warm, support and encouragement…and also some straight-shootin, no-nonsense goodness. You’ve got a cheerleader in me.

I’m sending you a warm hug and endless simple joys.

Love,

Helena!

Follow along and notice the simple joys with me on the Simple Joys Youtube channel!

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  1. Tara says:

    Came over from the YT – beautiful and well shared in thoughts of a blog!! Keep writing:blogging away! This is a pleasant addition to your uploaded YT videos!

  2. America Bermudez says:

    Dear Helena,
    Beautiful words about creativity, we all have it and is as unique as each one of us is. My mind is ready for my next projects! Photos are lovely and thanks for sharing! Big hugs.

  3. Alisa says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, Helena. I appreciate you and your reflections! Thank you.

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I'm Helena, your new kindred spirit.

Sunny free-spirit, writer and creator in love with documenting the simple joys of life. I am passionate about noticing light and truth around me and reflecting it back to others.

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