Get out of the 9-5 and find your outlet.

Get out of the 9-5 and find your outlet.

Having been in the field of Engineering for five years now, things can get quite monotonous. But don’t get me wrong. I do not equate monotony with a menial job. Every day, we face loads of stress. One after another, the problems that need immediate attention come and go.

But the constant level of stress has made me feel like everything is just a cycle – an unchanging pattern of sleep – work – eat – sleep. Yes, I do get to take vacation leaves. But the ease and relaxation it brings are very momentary. They end the moment I realize that “I have to get to work.”.

I used to paint in college. It has been a great outlet for me, especially when I had overwhelming academic requirements. It did not only let out the creative side of me – but writing also helped me calm myself and regain focus. But now that work is consuming me, painting has become a “those were the days” memory.

This coming year I’d like to break the cycle I have created in the last five years. No, I am not going to shift to another field. I am simply going to put an effort in painting again.

Here are some tips I have rounded up on how to get back at it again.

  1. Find the time to start again.

This must be the very first step that we all should take – finding the time to commit ourselves to starting. Squeeze in a couple of hours in your busy weekend schedule for painting. It can start with cleaning those old brushes, preparing a canvas, or buying new materials. These are all mundane errands – they are not even the actual painting yet. But! These are all good starting points.

With the stress we’re all getting from work, every hour that we can spend just lazing around is such a luxury. We tend to push back the other things that we want to do – like painting – because we don’t like missing the chance to bum. How do we get away with that? Simple! Recall how great it felt for you when you painted. Try to see your favorite artworks and remember how fun it was to have successfully poured out your heart and effort into something that beautiful. Don’t be hesitant to miss the change of lazing around in exchange for such a productive activity.

  1. Relax yourself and your mind.

I have grown accustomed to having multiple things running in my head at the same time – whether I am in the shower, office, or at the breakfast table. This has made me become an uptight person. Relaxation has been equated to blankly watching TV shows or Netflix while thinking of how to resolve issues in the office or projects. I just realized how un-relaxing this activity was until an old friend from college came over and brought weed. Marijuana for recreational use was just legalized then. I have almost forgotten how it was to relax. This prompted me to get a marijuana vaporizer online (I got mine from, tried the FlowerMate Swift Pro).

Being unable to relax is one culprit as to why I cannot start again with painting. I am always, always distracted. Every time I begin entertaining the thought, it is always overshadowed by other concerns. It is pushed back on my list of priorities. That is why it is important to relax. It helps you get your head in the game and start wholly.

Find an activity that helps you unwind yourself. No, I don’t mean burying your face in your phone, computers or iPads. Find something else – something that does not require connecting to the internet world. Listen to music, read a book, have a drink by the fireplace. Do something that will allow you to exhale all of your stresses out and let you clear your mind.

  1. Don’t push yourself to finish a piece.

Just as what I always tell my colleagues, “Don’t be too hard on yourself.”. Painting is easy once you have gained your momentum. It comes to the point that as if it is already your brush that is taking the lead. But, starting it – we have all been there! – it can be very challenging.

Our creative juices do not run like an open faucet. Just let it drip at its pace, and go along with it. After all, this is something that you loved doing. It is not a work deliverable – there is no set deadline! Finishing one might take a while. But just enjoy the whole process of it.


Once you have finished one, also remember that our skills can become rubbish. Painting is not like riding a bike, which once you’ve mastered your balance, you can hop back anytime even with long periods of no practice. Painting is like most other hobbies. The skill can degrade with time if not used. Our outputs may not be as beautiful as with those we’ve done before. But regardless, you have put both love and effort in all outputs. It is for the love of painting after all.

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