Manchester lifestyle coach Kate Moryoussef encourages us to make space in our lives to allow the creativity to flow.
Kate Moryoussef is a wellbeing coach trained in Emotional Freedom Technique, host of The Ambitious Mum Podcast and mum to four children, who is passionate about helping women rediscover their inner voice, fulfil their desires and realise themselves outside of the ‘overwhelm’, inner pressure and family dynamic.
As a lifestyle coach, when it comes to all things wellness, I’m in my comfort zone. I’m confident as to what works and have experience in guiding people to reflect, change and choose different techniques or habits to create improved health. Yet something recently went amiss with my own wellbeing.
After the last lockdown ended, I’d been so busy being busy, that I didn’t realise I was on the cusp of burnout. Life went back to normal at breakneck speed, yet I should’ve spotted the warning signs – it’s something I help to prevent every day in my own clients! I was feeling more anxious but kept working to catch-up while feeling like I was never on top of anything. I kept committing more and not saying no enough – it was an exhausting cycle, heading only one way. Over this period, I was also experiencing niggling back pain (this was most definitely a universal nudge I was ignoring) but one morning as I bent down to open the dishwasher, my back just went into the most excruciating spasm, which immobilised me for over a week.
I had no choice to stop and reflect what was going on physically, as well as mentally. The back pain had been building up for weeks, and all it took was one movement to show me that enough was enough, this lifestyle was unsustainable, and matters were being taken out of my hands. So, you’d think by now I’d have realised it was stress related, but it was my experienced physio who asked me straight away if I’d been under any stress recently. Straightaway, I clocked my patterns over the past few months and realised that of course, this was inevitable. I was grateful to have had this dramatic yet curable intervention as I’m sure I would’ve kept on going in fear of disappointing other people, but probably mostly myself.
So, I stopped, breathed, took stock, and then simply cancelled what I could and focused on the essentials. The world didn’t come to a grinding halt and my kids were fine not eating home cooked meals for a few days. This time out allowed me to reflect on the often-impractical expectations, lack of boundaries and inner pressure I had been putting on myself. And slowly my back recovered.
This slower pace was suiting me. The more I paused and the more space I created, the better I felt. And then I noticed something else in the stillness – where had my creativity gone? During some of the happiest years of my life I was in creative mode. Several years ago, I happily spent every day creating unique succulent arrangements in my plant business. Years before I worked in consumer PR, where creativity was needed every day. I thrived off this. Yet here I was studying away, striving, and setting myself high expectations. It made me recognise how much I was consuming (social media mostly) and how little I was creating.
My creative outlets had disappeared, apart from cooking, which is often when I’m at my calmest. Yet even this was feeling like a chore. With this awareness I decided to embark on the iconic self-help journey that kept being mentioned, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’d heard such wonderful things about the book from many people who had felt creatively stifled or simply knew there was more to their life but couldn’t uncover it alone.
A large element of the book is committing to writing ‘morning pages’ (free-writing journal entries) every day. Another element is booking in solitary ‘artists dates’ (visits to museums, creative workshops, theatre shows) something I’ve not managed to achieve yet, but will do soon, I hope. What I’ve realised is that we can exercise all we want, eat healthily, meditate, breathe and be mindful, yet if we’re creatively choking ourselves, we’re blocking a vital channel to wellbeing. The meaning of inspiration is ‘to breathe into’ and the root word is ‘spirit’. If we’re breathing life into our spirit or soul, we’re alive and connected to the creative source of our actual being. This is important stuff!
So, as I embark on this new journey, allowing myself to access my inner artist in whatever way it may show up (probably writing), I’m also inviting you to have a think about where you’re feeling creatively strangled and what or who is holding you back.