I’ve felt like I’ve lost my creativity over the last month or so.
Im referring to the passion I once felt around my blog and the way I express myself.
I am talking about creativity in the form of writing, photography and ideas.
I lost a sense of inspiration and curiosity around my world which might be sparked or expressed by wearing interesting pieces of clothing or jewellery, exploring local markets or galleries, noticing beautiful moments or being creative about daily routines and being open to possibilities and opportunities.
Overall I just haven’t felt like me on a creative sense and I knew I needed to change that. I haven’t had the urge to write or read in weeks and this makes me want to cringe because I use to find so much joy in these everyday rituals.
Last Sunday I decided enough was enough and I would use the next seven days to figure out 1. Why? 2. How to fix it. 3. Fix it!
Here’s what I asked myself:
Why do we lose our creativity?
Of course there are many reasons. I think part of why my creativity has been lost because there is no space for it. Other things have been prioritised or workload doesn’t seem to allow it. However creativity can add a sense of richness that can make life feel far more fulfilling.
If you want to stay connected to your creativity, you need to see the value it brings to your life, prioritise it and give it some time and energy.
Five ways to get your creativity back
1. Move your body
You might feel that you’re being more productive sitting and working. However if you find you’re getting stuck, research conducted by Stamford suggests that walking stimulates creativity both during the activity and for a short time afterwards:
“A person walking indoors – on a treadmill in a room facing a blank wall – or walking outdoors in the fresh air produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down, one of the experiments found.”
So don’t feel guilty about stepping away from your desk and taking time for a walk while you think about your projects – it’s a proven way to boost your creativity.
2. Get off social media
It can be a fine line. Social media can be a source of creativity, with Instagram a current fave for many. I love it too!
However we all know how easily social media can go beyond inspiration and become a source of procrastination, comparisonitis, distraction, frustration or envy. And the fun and creativity of sharing photos, or anything else online, can also cross into pressure, or occasionally, into a carefully curated online image which conflicts with reality.
Social media can be a slippery slope and I’m sure many of us can relate to Sian Richardson’s words in her article, How to Stop the Death Spiral of Consumption:
“You check Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter the second you wake up. You launch into you emails before you’re even out of bed.
And before you know it… You’re all up amongst the death spiral that is mindless consumption and information overload. You don’t even realize you’re doing it until at least a week or two into it, when you find yourself constantly mind-f-d and really un-productive.”
Be honest with yourself: if you check your social media accounts or share photos and feel creative and inspired – great!
If you know you’re spending a lot of time on social media, and feeling creatively blocked yourself, or other unhelpful feelings and thoughts are being triggered, maybe it’s time to take a break. You might remove a few of your favourite social media apps from your phone for a while, or create some guidelines for yourself about how you want to engage.
It’s hard to feel creative if you’re filling every moment of downtime with images and stories from other people’s lives.
3. Plan or write on paper
If you usually work and create at a computer, it can be easy to sit with numerous tabs open in your browser (guilty!) and flick between different sites while you’re also creating or working. Needless to say, it can be distracting to create in such an environment.
Quite aside from the ability to be distracted, there are actually clear benefits to getting offline and handwriting some of the time.
Writing or taking notes by hand is so simple, but this Wall Street Journal article suggests that “writing by hand engages the brain in learning… (and) research highlights the hand’s unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas.”
4. Take breaks
Sometimes people struggle to stay productive and focused as they work – and then they admit they don’t take breaks and expect to sit at their desks and stay productive indefinitely.
If you have developed bad habits around this, you might find it useful to develop a list of short, life-enhancing activities that you could incorporate into breaks during your day to boost your wellbeing, focus and overall happiness.
It can be a mental shift to realise that taking these breaks can make you far MORE effective and productive.
Examples of short breaks:
• Do a short guided meditation – try one of Sara Brooke’s
• Turn up some of your favourite upbeat music and dance for 5 or 10 minutes
• Do a ten minute workout – you can find plenty on YouTube, like this 10 min arm workout from Tracy Anderson
• Make a green smoothie
• Take a walk around the block
• Do fifty squats, or push ups, or burpees (50 is a lot of burpees. Maybe 20!)
• Stretch, or do some restorative yoga
It’s pretty easy to see how incorporating any or all of these “breaks” into your workday is going to have positive flow on effects. Start your own list!
Get conscious about how you’re fuelling yourself, in all ways:
• What kind of nutrition are you feeding yourself?
• What are you reading in terms of books or magazines?
• Have you been to any concerts, live music, art shows, Festivals or great movies lately?
• Could you spend some more time in nature or at the beach?
• Are you spending enough quality time with those you love?
• Is it time to initiate some new relationships?
• Might you explore a new hobby or short course, or devote some time to an interest that brings you joy?
• Might altering your work environment help?
• Explore different cafes to write or work out of.
For the last seven days I worked on all 5 of these tips and guess what? I got my juju back. I have 45 different blog topics to write about over the next few months. I have ideas on how to grow Megan Motivates and meet new people. I have pages and pages of things that are new and exciting.
Stay tuned… good things are coming.