SYW103 – Morning Routines for a Creative Life

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Do you have “non-negotiables” that are just for you? In this episode I’m joined by creative life coach Jill Allison Bryan for an insightful conversation about mornings as a foundation for your day. You’ll learn how Jill stays connected to her morning practices even when life gets busy as well as the important mindset shifts you need to reap the most benefit, even if you’re not a “morning person.”

Jill Allison Bryan 0:00

It does take practice. But I think that if you're doing it in a way where it's really filling you up, it's going to be easy to create that habit because it's going to feel so good. And the ripple effects are going to be so noticeable.

Jennifer Wilson 0:14

Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I'm your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is Episode 103. In this episode I'm joined by my friend, Jill Allison Bryan, to chat about the morning practices that have allowed her to thrive over more than two decades.

Jennifer Wilson 0:39

Hey Jill, welcome to the podcast.

Jill Allison Bryan 0:42

Hi, thanks for having me on.

Jennifer Wilson 0:44

I am so excited for our conversation. And we have been friends for, gosh, almost five years now maybe. And we meet almost every single week to catch up on business. And I'm so excited for our audience to get to know you a little better. Can you share a little bit about yourself?

Jill Allison Bryan 1:03

You bet. I'm here in Dallas, Texas, and I am a creativity coach and I have been coaching for about 14 years now. Creative Oasis Coaching is my business and I help multi-passionate creatives to focus and follow through on their personal and professional creative dreams. I have a daughter who's 21 who lives here with me. And my family lives pretty close by here. I'm a singer songwriter. And I do that for my own pleasure. I did put out a CD A long time ago on a CD release. And yeah, that's just kind of one of my I call them Creative Oasis Moments, just one of my personal creative pleasures that I like. I love to play tennis. I play tennis with my younger brother once a week when possible. And I'm a compulsive... compulsive... I don't know if that's the right word. I'm addicted to composting.

Jennifer Wilson 2:05

I did not know that about you.

Jill Allison Bryan 2:07

Really? Oh no, I cannot throw away banana peel. If I go on vacation. Do you remember vacations? What? I've been on vacation a while but yeah, and I'm like, oh, wait a minute, I have these carrot peelings. And, uh, you know, banana skin, and I have to throw it in the garbage now and it kind of makes me crazy.

Jennifer Wilson 2:27

You don't put it in like a Ziploc and stick it in your purse?

Jill Allison Bryan 2:29

I'm not that crazy. Close.

Jennifer Wilson 2:34

Alright, so one of the segments we have on the podcast is what's exciting you right now, I know you're not a scrapbooker in the sense of many in our audience, but I do consider you a memory keeper. And anyone who takes pictures and enjoys them is a memory keeper. What are one or two things that are exciting you right now... it could be a product, an app, a class, person, idea, really anything?

Jill Allison Bryan 2:55

Okay, I thought about this, I have a couple actually have one digital and one analog. So for digital, I use PicMonkey. Personally for my photoshopping kind of things that I love to create. I do create things for my business. But I also really love to create cards and books for gifts for my family and my friends. And I as I've bumped up to the paid version of PicMonkey. They have some really cool features now like there's folders. So now I can really do my organization of my photo editing type projects within PicMonkey. Instead of having separate folders outside of that, I love that. And also at the pro level they just added in the last six months or so where you can very easily and instantly delete the background.

Jennifer Wilson 3:45

Oh, I love that feature.

Jill Allison Bryan 3:48

Oh, it works like magic. It's so cool. I love it. So that is kind of a digital thing that I'm keen on. And then analog. I have a client who's a professional organizer, and we were organizing in my office one time and I had several piles teetering piles of memorabilia from trips, so maps, postcards, brochures from things that I've done ticket stubs, and you know, I had them in these piles because I had every intention of putting them in some sort of a scrapbook form. But I wasn't getting to that and and she suggested that I buy an archival small archival box, like I think from The Container Store and put them in their full. That was like the best decision ever, because that was a couple of years ago. They're still in the boxes, but at least like it even makes me happy to open up the boxes and kind of peruse through the items every once in a while and I think I will put them in a book someday but even if I don't, they're in this organized space and I know where they are I know how I can get to them and even looking oddly even looking at those boxes gives me a little bit of the same feeling as if I was looking at some scrapbooks on my shelf, if that makes sense.

Jennifer Wilson 5:11

Oh, 100%, you know, we always talk a lot about here, kind of doing what is the minimal amount of organization that's gonna kind of get the job done and make you happy. And sometimes that's not going full out and creating something, it's just making sure the stuff that you want to save is safe. And I've done that, and it that's sometimes a huge step, because maybe we have it in teetering piles or shoved in a closet. You know, we've, there's various places, we've all shoved our various memorabilia from trips, and you know, weddings, and you know, baby showers, and then we find it, and we wish we'd taken better care of it. So sometimes that step of just putting it in a box is, is what you need to do, period.

Jill Allison Bryan 5:55

Right. And so since doing that, for those trips, I had three trips that I did it for, I've also started one for my daughter, and one just for the year. Hmm. So I have a 2019 box and a 2020 box. So...

Jennifer Wilson 6:10


Jill Allison Bryan 6:12


Jennifer Wilson 6:13

So I'm wondering if maybe you have a memory keeping a bucket list at all, maybe it's one of those trips that you really want to get into a book or you want to somehow capture the pandemic time? Is there something one story that you really want us to capture in a different form?

Jill Allison Bryan 6:29

Yes, absolutely. It is one of the boxes from a trip, I was lucky enough to get to travel to Bhutan with my parents, gosh, about eight or nine years ago. And it was a very unique trip, a very special trip. And I and I have a lot of cool memorabilia from that that trip. And I am a little sad that I didn't. It's something that I've wanted to do since I came back. And I'm a little sad that I haven't done it already only because my mom has dementia now and I really wish that I had created it and shared it with her earlier. Although in thinking about this, I'm really glad that you asked this question and it has me thinking about this again, because she's at the point right now that even I think if I were to go and take the box over there, right now and and look through it with her, that would be fun. I mean, she might be blown away. She'd be like, we did what but but I think it would be fun. And then also, you know, I would I would like to share that with my dad, as well. So it was just such a special and unique trip and not a lot of people get to it's not an easy place to get to. So I think it would be a really fun thing to share with with other people. So that is a definite on my on my bucket list. And I do want that to be a I don't want that to be digital. I want that to be analog with pockets with because there's so much cool stuff to touch and take out. So...

Jennifer Wilson 8:01

That's what I'm wondering... is there a lot of it like dimensional like thick?

Jill Allison Bryan 8:06

It is... like there's you know some money. And I'm trying to think like maybe a fan. And I went to Japan to things like that that are yeah, like a fan that you got somewhere or not matchbooks that you don't really get those as much anymore. But but just yeah, just more like some sort of three dimensional objects that would be fun to take. I know I remember we went to one little place where you could actually it was like in Thimphu, I think whatever their main city is their capital city. And you could go to the post office and have your photograph made and put onto an official Bhutanese stamp. So...

Jennifer Wilson 8:50

Wow, that's amazing.

Jill Allison Bryan 8:52

Isn't that fun? So yeah, lots of things like that this is really making me want to at least go open the box again and write then I would get the joy of seeing everything, even if I don't and maybe be one step closer to deciding when and how I'm going to actually put that book together?

Jennifer Wilson 9:09

Well, one thing that I'm thinking about is could you do some sort of shadow box frame, like a display of these things, whether it's just, you know, 12 by 12 frame, or maybe even a series or you could do one frame for each of multiple trips and have it you know, in a series on the wall. We just purchased some of those for some of Emily's more dimensional artwork, and I'm constantly now thinking about Okay, what can we put in these things that maybe would have otherwise just been tucked in a box because they are too thick, really for any kind of book?

Jill Allison Bryan 9:40

So yeah, that's a great idea. I love that and I actually have a couple of little... They're their little glass boxes I'm showing you with my hands. You can't see... glass boxes with like copper foil around them and they have small little sections in them.

Jennifer Wilson 9:58

Oh yes. I have a picture. Yes.

Jill Allison Bryan 10:01

Yeah, so maybe maybe that's a place to start. And then is the visual reminder? Actually, I have one of those that I did from Japan. So yeah, that might be a cool, a cool first step anyway. But I like your idea of the shadow boxes. That's a that's a great idea.

Jennifer Wilson 10:17

Oh, I'm now wanting to travel and get out or go anywhere. Besides my house. I love hearing these stories. So...

Jill Allison Bryan 10:24

I know, I know, me too.

Jennifer Wilson 10:27

So one of the reasons I wanted to have you on the show, just because it seems long overdue, given how often we talk, but I know that you are so good with morning routines, and, and really the how that intersects with your own creativity and underpins it as a foundation of just living a full awesome life. So I wanted to really talk to you about that today. I know you have this really long standing well developed morning routine, you've probably been up for many hours already today. And so can you think back to when you started that process and kind of what was going on in your life? And what prompted you to, to have a morning routine?

Jill Allison Bryan 11:07


Jill Allison Bryan 11:08

And when I was thinking about this, or you know, I pretty blown away to tell you that I think this all started when my daughter was born and my daughter is now just over 21. So so we're Yeah, I'm thinking 20, 21 years of this because what happened was, I remember that I would wake up early, so that I could have some me time, some alone time before she woke up. You know, I mean, it was hit or miss. Obviously, she was an infant. But I think that was when I was I was also into, or I had purchased The Artist's Way; I hadn't actually made it all the way through the course yet. But I was I had journaled most of my life. And I was recently introduced to Morning Pages. And so it started with that... it started with me waking up a little bit earlier than my daughter having coffee doing my Morning Pages. And that so 21 years ago, and then it just it has grown and morphed over time, right? We have... I've gone through in 21 years, I've gone through a couple of seasons, you know, the season of being a young mom with a young daughter, and then a season of her being a teenager, a season of my divorce, a season of now parents that are getting older, right? So we all we go through these seasons and and but a constant has been this for me. And it's very grounding for me to start my days this way. And I've just kind of over the years added and subtracted different elements. So right now what it looks like it's grown to this point. So I wouldn't have anybody listen to me and be like, Oh my gosh, that's what my morning routine needs to look like because it's kind of a lot. I you know, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I work out with a personal trainer super early and do cardio. And, and then right after that. I will you know, after I shower and everything I will meditate only for about 10 or 15 minutes, I do something called the Donna Eden energy routine, which takes me less than five minutes. I have a gratitude journal that's super simple. I write three things I'm grateful for every morning. That's it. And it's in its own separate journal right now it used to be mixed in with my other things. And I'll tell you why I have it separate in a second. I pull a card. So I have like, at this point, I think I've collected up to eight or nine inspiration decks, Oracle decks, just different kinds of inspiration and motivation cards. And I'll pull one of those and I write it in a planner and kind of think about it you know how it might serve me for the day. And then I do my using air quotes journaling. So this has morphed as well it started it you know, I journaled when I was a kid and then I turned into more page a la Julia Cameron, just get everything out for three pages. And then it kind of shifted when I worked with a creativity coach to be a little more intentional. And now I actually call it my Morning Thought Work because it's extremely intentional and I'm basically just asking myself what I want to accomplish and how I want to feel and and what my intentions are for the day and for the week. And so that that is the the writing work that I'm doing. So the reason that I have the three gratitudes as a separate journal and a separate thing is in the on the off day like maybe I have an early dentist appointment or maybe my daughter got sick or you know something where I wouldn't be able to have this the time to really do each piece like I normally want to. I feel like if I just picked one of the small ones, and do that just write my three gratitudes. I've touched my practice. And so I'm still aligned with I'm still in touch with it. I don't. It's not like a day or two or three, like, What if you get sick, right, and you just can't get to it, at least you're doing one thing. So you're kind of staying in touch with that practice. Because that's when I think it's easy to stop something. If we stopped doing everything all together for a day or a week or a month that you know, then all of a sudden, we can look up and it's been a year since we've done anything.

Jill Allison Bryan 15:07

I'm curious if you had any seasons of life, where you really kind of fell out of it, and then you realize you missed it and had to come back? Or has it really been that consistent? Even with the smallest form?

Jill Allison Bryan 15:48

Yes, I did have one time. So I thought about this, as well. And it was, okay. So a long time ago, so my daughter was probably around three, and we were building a house and we'd sold our other house. So we had to, there was a gap. So we moved in with my parents for a couple of months. And it was a big commute to get to where our house was being built. And I just, I quit working out, I quit having my morning routine. And I got sick. I was within three months, I was achy. And I felt bad. And I literally I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. And my doctor wanted me to take medicine and stuff. I said, Yeah, I just think I think it's something else. And he's like, well, what's changed and I'm like, Well, I have not exercising anymore. I'm not doing these things. And then we moved into our new house. And I started slowly incorporating those things again, and took care of it. And so it was very eye opening. For me it was a physical and a mental change that I thought oh, this is in my control. Like I'm really this, this self care is so important. And I think that's one of the things you know, especially as women, I will just say, and I talk about this with my clients a lot, we tend to think of self care sometimes as a luxury, luxury, as the odd, you know, massage or pedicure or, you know, I don't know yoga class. But I really, honestly truly believe that self care is essential. And it's not selfish, because the reason that cliche about putting the oxygen mask on yourself is so popular is because it's absolutely frickin' true. It's like if we get depleted and we are crispy, then we're not going to show up as our best selves for our family, for our employers, our employees, ourselves, our community.

Jennifer Wilson 17:47

I'm curious how this maybe you leaned on this when you have gone through harder times going through your divorce or other kind of challenging periods? You know, I'm sure that it prevented you from getting sick. But really, how is it felt like, it's been this kind of essential support beyond the self care?

Jill Allison Bryan 18:07

Oh, absolutely. It's just I think it's just so grounding. And I will admit, I'm a person who it's kind of interesting it's a very yin yang thing because I haven't like I haven't worked nine to five for somebody else since a long time since before I had my daughter for a long time. Yeah, so I've been self employed for 21 years plus. And so I don't like like that kind of structure like going to work for somebody else and needing to be in an office from nine to five and being told exactly what to do makes me cringe to think of. But some other structure like I've worked out with my personal trainer now for 15 years she told me the other day so that kind of structure like working out with her three times a week in the morning I love and this kind of self imposed structure or container I love and I do absolutely believe it has helped me get through many of those seasons that I get to get not even get through but just live in live in a healthy way and and to put myself first even if it's in a small way if I'm only doing one tiny piece of the morning routine, it's still going to help me to show up throughout the day and in a better way. And I will tell you that I actually feel a difference if for some reason again, it's super rare these days, but it was it was more you know when my daughter was younger it was more common that I might miss a day for for something or other needed to go to school right away in the morning with her or something. But I could feel the difference. And how I explain it. It's almost like it gives me a buffer of an energetic buffer like so when the slings and arrows of life come at you, right, and you don't have this kind of protective cushion of self-care around you, they go right to the heart a lot easier. And I feel like this just kind of gives me this space. I know I'm to breathe. I'm not just going to react, I'm going to be more intentional about what I say before I say it. It's just, I obviously can't speak highly enough about it. That's how important it is to me.

Jennifer Wilson 20:27

it just seems like that is so important, as we edge on, you know, and we're at 10 months of staying at home and the pandemic. In a couple months, it'll be a year. And you know, there's kind of, there's a heightened sense of frenetic energy in at least in our household that we're all a little claustrophobic being together every single day. And I think having that energetic buffer could be really, really valuable for so many who are still coping with this time.

Jill Allison Bryan 20:59

Yeah, yeah. And there's so many great I will, I will say, you know, it seems to be a thing that people are longing for I have, I'm trying to think of how many but I want to almost say a quarter to make at least a quarter to the half maybe of my clients right now that that is one of the things that they either want to work towards, or they they have worked towards during our time together, and it has been super beneficial to them. And it's one of the things that they don't want to give up. For that reason. They feel like it's, it's that helpful to them.

Jennifer Wilson 21:36

For sure. Now, you mentioned, you've been working with a personal trainer for 15 years, and you go three days a week, how is your routine different on the days when you're not working out?

Jill Allison Bryan 21:48

Well, I still do cardio on those of like, not all four other days, three other days, but but it's more open, right? So I might play tennis with my brother on the weekend, and I might run or walk by the lake, I live by a lake on the other on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you know if I'm not doing and I'll do it after I workout on Monday, but but as far as it kind of depends on the season, to tell you the truth, the real season. So this morning, for example, it's still pretty chilly and dark here when I wake up, because you're right, I do wake up pretty early. So this morning, I went downstairs by the fire and did all that I told you about what my morning routine is with a cup of coffee or two, and worked until eight. And then I went for a run and came back and got ready for this in the summer. When it's going to be 102 by noon, then I'll reverse that and maybe go you know, run first. But then after I shower, I'll come and do the routine.

Jennifer Wilson 22:48

For sure.

Jill Allison Bryan 22:49

I really protect that time. But I was you know, I just don't I tend to not schedule things for that like so when I have coaching calls scheduled I that's it that starts in the afternoon. Or if I can swing it like a dentist or doctor appointment or something like that. I'll make sure that it's late enough that I get that time in.

Jennifer Wilson 23:11

One of the things that's that's really important is that when you are to set it to I say this to set kind of what is the automatic part of your calendar, and not let all other life's other expectations infringe upon that no, you set your hours. This is when I'm available as a way of protecting that time, whether it's you know, a commitment to you know, a creative activity or commitment to your morning routine or whatever kind of commitments you're making to yourself and your own practices.

Jill Allison Bryan 23:40

Mm hmm. Absolutely. Yeah, it's just, it's non-negotiable. And I think sometimes it can be a rare thing for people to have non-negotiables in their life that are for them. Non-negotiables tend to be for other people, you know, either a family members or friends or your employer. But then just thinking and that might be a fun way to think about it's just like, Okay, if I'm going to really embrace my own mental and physical and emotional self-care, what would even even starting with one non-negotiable.

Jennifer Wilson 24:23

I'm curious kind of what mental thought work you've had to work through with your clients in order to get them to give themselves permission for that?

Jill Allison Bryan 24:33

Well, sometimes it's looking at Okay, where you are right now, and how that's going. And would you like that to change? Yes. Okay, then let's look at some ways that that that, that that can change and if they are now this is if they're mourning people right now, some people not that they don't want to have the routine early, but I just want to say too, it doesn't mean that everybody gets up at the crack of dawn and has this exact routine. But I think we just look at what's not feeling the way that they would like it to right now and what what do they think? What are they craving? Like, what do they want to do for some people it's walking, which can be a meditation, a walking meditation. For some people, it is actual creativity, like just time puttering in their creative space without any preconceived notions of what they need to, or have to, you know, create. Even the idea of unscheduled time is kind of a fun thing that I play with, with some of my clients sometimes. So it's a routine to, but it's more like a, I get to do whatever I want to in this time. So it doesn't become another have to do if that makes sense. It doesn't become another thing on the list. It's more like a free time. Remember free time. When you were a kid?

Jennifer Wilson 25:57

This idea of "I get to" this is something that we've talked about so many times. And it's really been helpful. To me, I put that in my planner every single week is the top of my list is you know, here is one to four things that I get to do this week. And so this week, I wrote, I get to protect my time and energy. Little coincidence there, because I am, you know, experimenting with different ways of setting priorities for the day, like what are the important things that I need to get done instead of always chasing the urgent, but just that that simple shift of what do I get to do this week, I get to enjoy my job, I get to spend time with my family, I get to enjoy this cup of coffee, you know, it could be something that's really simple, or you know, quite grand, but I get to and I have empowered choice.

Jill Allison Bryan 26:47

You know, that makes me incredibly happy, don't you, Jennifer? And I'll say something that seems that might seem kind of simple to people who are listening. But I can tell you people who work with me, I mean, I've heard from people who work with me years ago, we're like, oh man, the I get to like that shift that transformation from because what we'll do quite often is we'll have something we want to do, like, have this morning routine. And let's say we want to meditate and journal and do a little breath work or something, and we want it and yet we'll start talking about it or thinking about it in terms of I need to I should I have to. And the energy is just very different than I get to like, remember, you're the one who wants to do this, you know, and just reminding ourselves, and I love simple shifts that are powerful. And I think those three words are one of the easiest, but most powerful shifts that you can make is letting yourself use the language of I get to with something that you truly want to do.

Jennifer Wilson 27:52

Yes, I love it.

Jennifer Wilson 27:54

So on that note, why do you think that what you do in the morning has an intersection with kind of what you want to do elsewhere? And so you know, we talk about scrapbooking here and our creative hobbies and other types of crafting. How does a morning routine impact the stuff that you want to do the rest of the day? How can it help you maybe accomplish more of that or more of that?

Jill Allison Bryan 28:20

Well, I feel like for me personally, if I can, and I think this has proven to be true with my clients as well observing is that if we don't have that time, to set an intention to really purposefully and intentionally think about what we want our day to look like, that's when we open up the possibility of the day happening to us. You know, other people's agendas happen to us. And we get in the habit of just waking up and going with the flow or doing what like what somebody else, because we don't have a plan because we don't know what we want to do specifically for that day, we may have this, this dream list of things we want to do overall, but if we're not specifically really giving ourselves permission to another big thing with me, right, giving ourselves permission that we're going to spend some amount of time that day doing that thing. There's a super high percentage chance that somebody else is going to swoop in and get that time from you. And even if that's somebody is or something is like social media

Jennifer Wilson 29:36

Or it could be it still could be yourself, kind of?

Jill Allison Bryan 29:40

Yeah, but doing other things. Yeah, like just that's what I mean by social media or you know, you end up I don't know just doing other thing, you know how time can just like you evaporate, wake up, not wake up, but you you know, it's the end of the day and you're like now What did I do? So I think that, for me at least probably the the most important part, besides maybe some deep breathing and meditation to kind of just be super calm and centered as I start the day is to set my intentions like, how do I want to feel today? And what do I want to accomplish? And, and it gives me that time and space to tap into my intuition and know that you know, how to follow my creative, you know guide or inner GPS that, you know, my intuition as far as what I want to do versus just like, getting up and I always kind of pictured is like, if I get up and don't do this, I'm kind of that that phrase hit the ground running. Yeah, you can picture that somebody rolling out of bed and then just starting to run through their day without any real idea of what they're gonna do. But it's just all like, harem scarem. And this is much more grounded and intentional, this is me slowly putting my feet on the ground when I get out of the bed breathing and then saying, Hmm, what do I want to do today? And what do I... what do I want to be sure that even if I just do it for a little tiny bit of time, then I'm doing it. So a day or a week or a month has not passed before I sit down at the piano and play and sing or make a collage or look at my photos and decide what I want to do with them?

Jennifer Wilson 31:26

When I think on top of that, I would add like how do I want to feel today, like I'm very, very feelings focused person. And that the when I identify the feeling, it will kind of naturally connect to the thing to do or the activity or the action I need to take. But if I focus on the feeling, it sends me a much kind of a much more kind of heart centered direction than if I just asked, Well, what do I want to do today? Well, I want to like, just sit around and do nothing and relax. But how do I want to feel I want to feel, you know, energized and accomplished and proud of myself, and that's going to send you in a very different direction.

Jill Allison Bryan 32:07

Yeah, yeah. And so that's part of the work I do too, with my clients is if you want to feel empowered, and confident, then we purposefully look for, like, what are the thoughts that will help me feel that way? You know, because if I'm thinking I don't have time, if that's my predominant thought I'm getting, that's gonna cause me to feel not empowered, but overwhelmed, or pressured or anxious. And then I'm taking all my actions from that feeling, rather than Okay, if I want to feel productive, empowered, confident, what's the thought that I can think that will help fuel those feelings for me? You know, and it gives obviously, 1000 million different thoughts that are available to us. But it might just be like, I know, I know what I want to do with my day to day or I've decided that I'm definitely going to exercise today like feel my know that when I walk and run that I feel better than my body feels better. So that's, so they're more empowered. In fact, in my journal, or I call them empowered actions. So that's what I get to, I almost have my instead of a to do list, I have this list of possible empowered actions that I'll be taking that day.

Jennifer Wilson 33:20

That's beautiful. I want to jump back real quick to you're talking about hitting the ground running and how that kind of is kind of a jarring way to think about starting your day. And I think that talking about a morning routine for those who don't consider themselves morning people that can maybe make it feel more attractive, because I know that I'm not a super morning person, I find it really hard. I like I like a good 30 minutes to an hour in bed to naturally wake up. And but the idea of hitting the ground running is terrifies me so but the idea of because my husband just can just jump out of bed and he's in the shower. And he's often he's already having mental conversations. He's in his next meeting, you know, the moment he gets out of bed, and I'm not like that at all. So I'm really attracted to this idea of how can I gently roll into the day, even if it's just with a few small practices, because of the timing that I'm choosing to get up? versus this idea that I have to just jump at attention and dive into everything. Right?

Jill Allison Bryan 34:29

Yeah. Well, I would say that, you know, I would, I would offer that choosing, starting with one thing, honestly, if you don't have a morning routine right now, and that's something that appeals to you. And it's something that you'd like to foster to grow to nurture that you rather than saying, oh, there's these all these five things I want to do or something just start with one I had one client who her first step was warmer lemon water. You know, I don't know why she she'd heard that that was good for her. So something that she wanted to do. And so that was her, you know, because there was the time I think she even I think we even pair that up with like, while the tea kettle was going stretching, I guess I know somebody else who, you know, it's good to tie something to something that you already love, right. So I know you and I both love coffee, I have a lot of clients that love coffee. And so for one, one of my clients, it was using the time that it took for the coffee to percolate. That was going to be her energy time, you know, stretching, breathing kind of time to start the morning. That was a so picking something. That's the phrase that I like to use delightfully doable. So a step that's so easy that your brain doesn't freak out and say, I don't know if we could do that every day. But you know, if it's just breathing for two minutes, or stretching for two minutes, or having a cup of lemon water, or having tea, or coffee, whatever you like to morning, but but mindfully, like not doing that. And something else not doing that, and scrolling social media or even reading the paper or something. But just like can I enjoy the first three sips of my warm morning beverage with full attention, and just how good it feels. And I even go so far as to like, I have cups that I love. Now my coffee cups bring me pleasure. A few years ago, I got rid of all the mismatched ones that were like, Where did this come from? And, and so it's actually part of the experience. Because I do believe that kind of goes along with my philosophy is that our life is like our creative canvas. And every decision that we make every almost every decision we make almost every experience we have is a is an opportunity to either experience or create through that creative lens. And it just makes life more fun.

Jennifer Wilson 36:58

Oh, 100%. I guess on that note, you are kind of starting a new creative challenge. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Jill Allison Bryan 37:07


Jill Allison Bryan 37:07

So I wanted to I was a goal for me last year, and I did it. But I wanted to even amp it up a little bit to make sure that I am again, going back to what I said earlier at least touching my personal creative endeavors each day. So that's something over my creative coaching practice business. And just for me just for the fun of it just for the joy of it creative endeavors. And so in order, I love a challenge. So I could I love that kind of accountability. I don't like to compete with other people. But like when it comes to keeping up the challenge myself, I'm gangbusters for it. So my personal trainer, we have one every year. So I guess that's where I got the idea. You could start today if you wanted to. And basically the idea is super simple. You just enjoy something creative. or intentionally view something that you're doing in your life anyway, through the creative lens. So give you an example. Doing something creative for me could definitely be sitting down, playing piano and singing or maybe making a little doodle art or writing a haiku. Right. Those are some traditionally creative things. But it could also be the setting my table in a creative way, like buying flowers, lighting the candle using some cool napkins or something. But doing that through the lens of creativity, and actually have a fun list on my website on the on this page for the Creative Oasis Challenge of just ideas to get people jump started. And it would just be like, at the minimum doing two minutes. You could do much longer if you wanted to. But again, just two minutes giving yourself that kind of pleasure tap, you know, being in touch with your creative spirit for at least two minutes every day. And then I'm just asking people to follow me on Instagram @creativeoasiscoach, and then you know, use the hashtag so I can play along with you and kind of support you and and it's also I think it'd be fun to see what other people consider to be Creative Oasis Moments.

Jennifer Wilson 39:13

Oh 100% I just I love this idea of kind of inviting the lens of creativity into your life it could be you know, swirling the foam on your latte in a new way every day you know I somehow I amassed a collection of many sample sizes of perfumes like but I love to enjoy a new one every day and try to pick out the notes and and just have that little moment of delight and that's what we all so I think we all we all can use more of that and doing it intentionally helps you make that that feeling and that intention a habit.

Jill Allison Bryan 39:50

Yeah, I love that with the perfume. I love bringing that your sense your sense of smell into it. That's That's fantastic. Yeah, like I in the wintertime. I love to cut up or I save peels of like clementines and grapefruits, anything citrusy, and put it in some water with cinnamon sticks on the stove. Oh my gosh, my house smells like a hug. It smells like cinnamon hug. It's so good. But like that would be an example of a of a creative moment. And that is living a creative life. But in it not meaning I sit down and I draw, which is what you know, some people consider they think of when they think of living a creative life. Well, I'm not creative. I, you know, I don't buy it.

Jennifer Wilson 40:34

Now everyone is creative. Yeah.

Jill Allison Bryan 40:37

Yeah. If you got dressed this morning, if you've ever, you know, decorated a house or a room in a house or made a meal, you're creative.

Jennifer Wilson 40:46

What do you think are some of the other shifts that you've seen, your clients need to make to kind of, to feel more creative, they don't kind of already naturally embody that?

Jill Allison Bryan 40:57

I think giving their selves permission, right. I mean, I will, I will admit, most of the clients that I work with are they, they do see themselves as creative, they may be stymied, they may be stuck, but but in their heart, like in their, you know, they, they want to be creative, or believe they're creative in some way. But I will say for everybody, just that what we're talking about right now, just this weaving more creativity, and more creative experiences, and looking at things through create creative lens has helped them to, it's kind of, it's kind of like a rising tide lifts all boats, it's like, once you start looking at more and more things creatively, you start acting as if and showing up in life, like you are the creative person that you want to be. That's just the way you think about things. And it can start in those super simple, small ways. Like the coffee cup thing is a good example. Somebody's like, Oh, my gosh, that's like a real, like, I never would have thought of that as creative. For sure, it's not a creative pursuit, but creative, creative endeavor or something. But it's actually a way to embrace creativity in your life.

Jennifer Wilson 42:11

Because I think we have a lot of scrapbookers, who they've come at it from the the angle of their photos and the desire to do something with their photos, that maybe they haven't had, or felt as much connection to, to that traditional sense of creativity or art... as you provided in the example. And I think just seeing it as a way to view the world is just a an eye opening perspective.

Jill Allison Bryan 42:40

Yeah, because I think, you know, one shift now that I think about it, that I could probably verbalize it better is to remind people that living creatively doesn't always mean that we're producing something, we don't have to be creating in the sense of I am making a thing, whether that be a scrapbook, or a song, or a course, or what, or a photograph, or whatever you're creating, it can also be, you know, enjoying other people's creativity, it can be, you know, enjoying reading or listening to music. For a lot of people, even just the AHA of you know, I love music, and it's not in my life. So how can I weave it back into my life and won't be like, what about listening to music while you're making dinner, or listening to music while you're making your bed or something like that. So these, again, these super simple ways to start weaving creative pleasures into our life, that we've kind of just let slip, because we just get kind of sucked into the day to day mundane tasks.

Jennifer Wilson 43:49

And I think that there's, I don't know, we end up with this expectation of, Okay, well, I haven't, I haven't been creatively productive. So I have to just turn that back on. But you can't it's not a switch that you can flip. You have to kind of cultivate that energy and then the actions will eventually flow out of you. Does that makes sense?

Jill Allison Bryan 44:13

That that is true, but I will also offer the opposite of Okay, sometimes, sometimes if we are waiting for inspiration to strike, you know, we could be waiting a long time. So I will also challenge my clients as I was challenged when I first started working with a creativity coach all those years ago. And I use the I just shared the example of I wasn't sitting down and I hadn't been writing songs because I had this parameter that it had to be like I had these guidelines it had I had to have everything else done. I had to have a huge amount of time, and I had to be feeling angsty about something that I really wanted to talk about moody about it. It'd be better if it was raining because then it would be a more moody atmosphere and I could like candles. So you can imagine how few songs were getting written. With that, and she, you know, she was she offered, what if you just sit down at the piano and played around a couple of minutes to two or three times in the coming week and just sit down and play. And so the idea of like, sitting down to play the piano before and maybe even write something before inspiration struck sounded like a really weird idea to me. I was like, What? But yes, what happens when we sit down and do you know, sometimes the inspiration comes once we've started the action. So just giving ourselves permission to sit down and do it. And one of my favorite ways to do that, to make it feel more doable is to use the timer is to say, I'm going to do this for five minutes.

Jennifer Wilson 45:43

We're using a timer a lot here and that you have you have permission to stop after the five minutes if you're not having fun if you're not into it, but how many times has that ever happened? Almost always we, we just need that external support to, to send the ball down the hill.

Jill Allison Bryan 46:01

Yep, just to get started. And even if so if you quit after, you know, if you stop after your whatever it is five or 10 minutes, at least you've done the five or 10 minutes to and giving yourself credit for that I'm a big proponent of people giving themselves credit for what they're doing. Because we tend to make these never ending to do lists. And we check them off. And then we're just quickly on to the next thing without even looking back, even for the things that we want to be doing the creative endeavor. So when I have my clients send me a weekly check in and the first thing on this simple three, three question thing, but the first thing is what can we celebrate? What can we acknowledge? What steps did you take this week, so you can really appreciate the life that you're creating for yourself instead of just again, you know, barreling through.

Jennifer Wilson 46:48

That doesn't sound appealing. I think we all want to I don't know, float, I don't know, it's not the right word, but just like, move gracefully through the world. And you talked about having this energetic buffer so that as things come at us, we're more prepared to respond with intention and love. And I think if more of us did that the world would be a better place.

Jill Allison Bryan 47:15

Absolutely. I agree completely. And so yeah, I think it but it does take cultivation. I think you're right, all of us want that. But it's really giving yourself permission to say I need to cultivate this. This is you know, this is worth cultivating. And it's worth and I think, again, I just have to go back to because the morning routine, I think there might be people listening to this right now saying, Oh, that sounds luxurious, you know, like, but really looking for a way to make it doable for you. So that it just becomes a really healthy habit. And something that, you know, it does take practice. But I think that if you're doing it in a way where it's really filling you up, that you're going to, it's going to be easy to create that habit because it's going to feel so good. And the ripple effects are going to be so noticeable.

Jennifer Wilson 48:12

When, as you mentioned to also just start with the one thing and build on it.

Jill Allison Bryan 48:18

Yeah, not think you have to do 15 things to have a morning routine.

Jennifer Wilson 48:23

No, even if even if just that one thing and the intention you have with your coffee, the three seconds of your first sip. Having that and saying this is what I do every day. I think is he a start in the in a really strong direction.

Jill Allison Bryan 48:41

Mm hmm. In fact, I would say if anybody's listening to this and thinking, Okay, I want to do this, like I want to, I think a fun first step would be and this really goes along kind of with my you know, my philosophy, of my Magic Action Planning, which is Download Decide Do is just come up with a list of all the possible fun experiences that you think you would enjoy in a morning routine. And that's not so that you start doing them all but just so you can look at them and then kind of pick and choose what you want to experiment with.

Jennifer Wilson 49:14

That could be a whole 'nother episode is on kind of experimentation. And you know, really figuring out what works because my routine and yours are never gonna look the same. Nor will any of our listeners because we're all so unique and what brings us joy and the amount of time we have and when we like to wake up. And so it's about just gradually evolving over time to picking the first step of picking the one thing adding to it and, and as you've described with your morning routine, it's evolved over the years and each season of your life. It looks a little bit different and you add and subtract to really make it work for you.

Jill Allison Bryan 49:49

Absolutely, and you know, just show I would offer this no matter what you're doing is show yourself grace. You know, just just be gentle with yourself as you do this, that's, that's a, a thought, a Creative Oasis Mantra that I found, when I first found it, or my coach gave it to me years ago, I was like, be gentle two words that are so powerful. And I just added as a person who has been pretty good at beating myself up used to be I, that notion of just like, oh, wait a minute, I can be gentle was so novel. so wonderful. I was like, wait a minute. And so that's what I would offer. Like, as you're, as you're exploring this idea of what a morning routine could look like for you. Just be gentle. Because remember, this is like, this is for your, again, self care. And it shouldn't be a some kind of a contest or some kind of a, you know, high bar that's going to make you feel bad because you don't reach it.

Jennifer Wilson 50:54

Nope, you get to do it.

Jill Allison Bryan 50:56


Jennifer Wilson 50:58

So Jill, can you share a little bit more about what you do as a coach and where we can find you online?

Jill Allison Bryan 51:05

Sure. So I work with people that you know, creative people that are really wanting help to focus and follow through with their either personal or professional creative projects, passions and pursuits. I, you know, help them to move past the blocks that are keeping them from that which are normally procrastination, perfectionism, overwhelm, inner critic, voices, those kind of things. And they can find me on my website is And if you go there, you'll be able to see, I have a couple things coming up. I think if this is going to air in February there, there will be every month I have a Magic Action Date. So that's a free workshop, where I'll share a little bit of some of the tools that I share with my clients that I'd love for you to join me for that. And I think I'm going to be doing another challenge. I did a Do it in December challenge that was really well received and a lot of fun. Jennifer, you joined me for that.

Jennifer Wilson 52:11

I did. Yes, I got a lot done that week.

Jill Allison Bryan 52:16

That's fantastic. So I'm going to be doing that again, at the beginning of March. And you can find any of that either on my website or if you follow me on Instagram @creativeoasiscoach. I talk about that kind of thing there as well.

Jennifer Wilson 52:33

Fantastic. We will include links to all of these things in the show notes for the episode.

Jill Allison Bryan 52:38


Jennifer Wilson 52:38

Which you can find at Jill, this has been so amazing. I feel so relaxed and grounded every time I talk to you, but especially today, so I want to thank you for spending time with us.

Jill Allison Bryan 52:54

Thank you so much for inviting me. This was so fun to get to do. I'm just thrilled to have been to spend the morning with you. I feel like we just had a cup of coffee together and just chatted. It was really lovely.

Jennifer Wilson 53:05

And I can't wait till we can do that in person again.

Jill Allison Bryan 53:08

Oh, me too. Yeah. 2021 maybe.

Jennifer Wilson 53:12

We will see. Thank you, Jill. And thank you everyone for listening. And please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

Jennifer Wilson 53:19

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