An invisible enemy has brought the world to a standstill and forced millions of people to stay at home. With kids doing homeschooling and families being around each other 24/7, a whole new dynamic has emerged in many households around the globe. With my online business and being a writer, I am used to working from home and still have to adapt to our new normal.
One way I do this is by writing a lockdown diary. What I also found helpful is asking the following questions:
What are the positive sides of this situation?
What can I learn from it?
How can I use my time wisely?
I find that exploring your creative soul is a good way to become more mindful and get a new perspective on things. If you don't know where to start, go out walking and let your surroundings inspire you. Keep your eyes open and your mind excited and opportunities will present themselves. And, most importantly, let go of this old belief that you are not creative!
Try one or all of the following five things to spark your creativity.
1. Engage with art
As we can't visit art galleries in person as long as Covid19 is still having its grip on the world, jump online to visit Together in Art, a new online project from the Art Gallery of NSW. It aims to encourage engagement and meaningful encounters with art. There is a wonderful selection of blogs, videos, and tutorials to get creative.
And you can even inspire your kids. Learn from renowned Australian artist Ben Quilty and his daughter Livvy how to draw a face. Loved this one!
Just the mere act of immersing yourself in this online art space triggers positive emotions and makes my heart sing.
Daniel J. Levitin, the author of The Organized Mind, bemoans the fact that our world is becoming increasingly linear. “It seems we take less time for art. In doing so, we may be missing out on something deeply valuable … Artists contextualise reality and offer visions that were previously invisible. Creativity engages the brain’s daydreaming mode directly and stimulates the free flow and association of ideas, forging links between concepts and neural nodes that might not otherwise be made.”
To engage with art pushes the Reset button in your brain and will give you a break from our daily reality in lockdown. Try it and feel inspired.
2. Go for a walk
Walking in fresh air is one of the best creativity boosters. I have been out for lunchtime walks almost every day since the social distancing rules were enforced.
Letting your mind wander and wonder – while appreciating the beauty, sounds, and smells of nature – will often bring up a new approach to a challenge or project you are dealing with. Transform your exercise into a walking meditation to find new inspiration.
3. Start a morning routine
Routines are the most powerful levers to get things done. A morning routine is a wonderful way to set yourself up for the day.
I start my day with a cup of herbal tea and meditation. Then, I write my journal because often a new idea or solution to a problem presents itself during my meditation, and I want to capture it right away. I also write about three things I was grateful for the previous day. Practising daily gratitude will motivate your brain to find more things to be grateful for.
Writing a journal or Morning Pages can be a deliberating exercise. Let your thoughts flow out of your brain and onto the paper, no matter how weird or unstructured they may be. This exercise will empty your mind and allow you to start the day with a de-cluttered brain.
I also use the quiet morning hours to listen to positive affirmations, which I recorded with the ThinkUp app.
In days of isolation, regular exercise is vital to keep our bodies and minds healthy. Make time for daily exercise, which can be as easy as going out for a walk by yourself or with your kids. Or, engage with one of the numerous online fitness or dance classes available. As a passionate ballroom dancer, I am excited that even ballroom dancing is being taught online these days.
I have been practising yoga for over ten years and, luckily, my studio has switched their timetable to live-stream classes. Apart from building up strength and flexibility, yoga has helped me to step out of my comfort zone, become more courageous and creative. Mindful activities, such as yoga and meditation, increase the dopamine level in our brain and help us start the day in a positive mood. After a morning yoga class, I feel calm, positive and prepared to make most out of my day. Practising detachment and equanimity, which is a constant challenge these days, in particular, has influenced my level of happiness. The happier and more content you feel, the better your creative outcome will be and the more can you inspire those around you.
5. Establish a system
Research has shown that information overload leads to decision-making overload, which can result in procrastination and not being productive, let alone creative.
To relieve your brain from the burden of trying to remember everything, it is helpful to establish systems in the physical world.
Often, the most creative ideas come to me while meditating, walking, or having a shower. A friend told me that she gets most inspired while cooking. In order not to forget your flashes of genius, I recommend capturing them somehow. A simple thing is having notebooks scattered around your house or using the notes app on your smartphone to jot down whatever you feel important to remember.
Working with notes and lists is a clever way to stay organised and in control of our daily tasks and creative ventures.
What are your tips to boost your creativity?