“Are we there yet?!?”
Well, no...not quite. We’ve still got a little ways to go on this wild ride. With rumors of phase 2 social distancing lasting anywhere from 12-18 months (wince), our pre-coronavirus lives will likely be on hold for just a tad longer.
While this news of continued isolation may be a dream come true for some introverts, most of us out here are feeling all kinds of cabin fever. We miss our friends, our kids miss their schools, and we all miss our regular ol’ lives. Our response to all of this is what really matters. There’s only so much we can control in the world (I mean, on a good day I can maybe control myself a little). What we CAN control is how we’ll choose to spend this quarantine.
That said, how’s everyone doing out there? Are we ready to pull up our bootstraps and make the very best of this time? Let’s do it together. We have a few ideas to share about how to move forward with our mental health intact, and that involves getting in touch with our creative side!
Whether we want to establish a brand new creative practice or build upon existing creative outlets, many of us now have the time to do just that. Wallowing in boredom and frustration isn’t going to do any of us any favors, so what d’ya say we get our collective creative juices flowing? I mean, think about it. When we’re doing something creative, we feel happier and more care-free. If you don’t believe me, go and color in a coloring book for 15 minutes and tell me you don’t feel a little better.
Here are 10 ways to rekindle that creative spark that may have been missing from our lives...
1.Set up your own personal creative space.
So you want to get creative? Let’s make room for it. And by room, I mean a space to unleash your inner artist. It doesn’t have to be an entire room, but maybe a happy little nook by a window. Or even a spot outside that you love. For some of us, the first step is going to be decluttering and re-organizing to make room for new things. But let’s not let this hold us back from getting to our goal. We’re not here to be perfectionists, we’re here to be creatives! So pick your spot. Clean out the crap. And make it happy. Surround yourself with whatever it is that uplifts and inspires you.We’re here to help you out with that (check out our collection of storage solutionshere). When you enter this space, your creative spirit should feel excited to be there. Welcome to your new creation station.
2. Let your imagination run wild.
Give your thoughts permission to go wherever they please. If you have a window to gaze out of, I hope you also have a comfy spot to relax for a little while. If not, try to create a space for yourself outside. Leave your electronic devices behind, relax, and let your mind go. Daydream to your heart’s content. Allow the journey of your wandering mind to inspire you. Take a mental vacation. Travel to places you’ve only dreamed of. Detach from the activities of your day, from the noise, and unleash your thoughts to roam freely. Some of our best ideas come when we’re not trying, which is probably why we often have those light bulb moments in the shower! 2
3. Curate your own creativity playlist.
Music has the power to affect our moods and emotions, to help us relax and unwind. Music takes us on a journey. Familiar tunes can instantly take us back to another time in our lives, bringing up memories we thought we’d forgotten. Musical preferences are a very personal thing. What stimulates happiness and creative juices in me might feel distracting or negative to you. Some of us can read and listen to loud music at the same time, no problem. Others of us can’t flow creatively unless the music is instrumental, maybe even unfamiliar. The point of all of this is, find what works for you. Experiment with genres, volume, beats, and new artists. When you discover that magical combination, capture it in a playlist and use it as the background for your creative endeavors.
4. Get your blood flowing.
As if we need another reason to get up and get moving during this time of “sheltering in place,” here’s another. Regular exercise acts as a creativity booster. Bodily movement can help us overcome mental blocks, boost our mood, and promote mental health(and don’t we all need that right now!). Being physically active frees up our minds and delivers a dose of much-needed oxygen to the brain. Taking a walk outside might be all you need to do to clear your head, spark new ideas, and head into your creative zone feeling refreshed and inspired. Think of exercise as a form of moving meditation, an important foundation of creative work.
5. Connect with your creative genius friend.
We all have that friend who blows us away with their artistic talent, their knack for making something out of nothing, for pulling the most out-of-the-box ingenious ideas out of thin air. If we’re not too lost in comparison and feeling inferior to their innate gifts, we can gain so much from these relationships.Just being in the presence of our artistic friends is often a wonderful source of fresh inspiration.But if we’re not fortunate enough to be living with such a person during this global pandemic, we have to find new ways to connect with them for the time being. Most of us have learned our way around Zoom and FaceTime by now. Why not schedule a virtual face-to-face with a friend to share inspiration and brainstorm about new creative ideas?
6. Channel your inner child.
Do you ever find yourself watching a child play and feel envious of their uninhibited freedom? They don’t give a darn about what anyone thinks. Early on, there’s no concept of self-consciousness or comparison with others. Oh, to be a kid again! Even with all the anti-aging skincare in the world, we can’t turn back time. We can only choose to move forward and let loose. Recall the things you loved to do as a child that maybe you gave up because you felt you weren’t good enough. Maybe life’s circumstances forced you to give up on a dream. And at some point along the way, you stopped creating. Get back in touch with the younger you, re-discover what really makes you come alive, and do that. Don’t hold back.
7. Collect images that inspire you.
Sometimes we just need a little something to get us going, a little spark to ignite our creativity. If you have any old magazines lying around, there’s never been a better time than the present to bring them out, sort, and browse. Save the images that really speak to you, then give away or recycle the rest.
Whether you paste those images to a journal, create a vision board, or pin them to your wall, just be sure to put them in a place where you can see them often.Don’t have any magazines? Try creating a new Pinterest board of your favorites to refer back to. Or print them out and arrange your inspo pieces in your new creation station.
8. Write a little bit every day.
This tip is not just for the aspiring writers among us. Daily writing can benefit everyone. If you’ve heard ofThe Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, then you might be familiar with the concept of Morning Pages. While there’s an entire book and even a 12-week program you can follow if you really want to dig into it, the basic gist is this: you wake up and journal in bed every single day. The goal is to fill 2-3 pages long-form in a notebook with your raw, unedited, stream of consciousness thoughts. (You can always shred it or burn it when you’re done.) Many people enjoy daily writing as a form of meditation, a magical part of their morning routine, and a way to unlock their creativity.
While putting pen to paper is recommended, there are those of us who just won’t do it unless we’re typing. Check out750words.com, an electronic version of logging Morning Pages. The site even provides you with feedback about your feelings and mindset from your daily entries, which is kind of fun to see!
9. Put your creative hands to work.
What is it you want to do? The options are seriously endless. Knitting? Cooking? Landscaping? Drawing or painting? The list goes on and on. It doesn’t have to be something you’re good at or anything you’ve ever tried before. Just choose a creative outlet and go for it!Pretend you’re 8 years old again and you’re just looking to have a good time. No one ever has to see it. Dust off your sketchbook. Color in a coloring book. Take a stab at watercolor painting. Plate a beautiful meal your family (Lord knows we’re all in a cutting rut by now!). Doodle on a drawing pad while you talk on the phone, listen to a podcast, or watch a movie. Just let your creative juices flow and create new daily habits that free up your hands to lead the way.
10. Sign up for an online course.
With the current quarantine going on, many companies have released free online courses to take advantage of for the time being. What a great time to learn something new at little to no cost! Have you been wondering how to tell your life story in a memoir? Do you want to study up on how to launch your own photography business when all of this pandemic stuff is over and done? Or do you need some support in overcoming self-doubt? Check outCreativeLive and answer your creative calling! The list of on-demand online classes and virtual conferences is incredible. Now’s our chance to reclaim our creativity, discover our passions, and come out of this quarantine feeling more alive than ever!We can do this, friends!