Well…I thought about writing this in last month and just didn’t quite get it published. It's been a challenging year for my creativity and motivation due to COVID and quarantining. And now that we're vaccinated and things are opening up more, all I feel like doing is getting OUT of this house!
Fortunately, with some safety precautions, we're able to take advantage of life outside these four walls.
To help with balancing the predicament of needing to motivate and get out and about more for our moods, I’ve come up with 7 tips and tricks to help pullout of a rut when our brains and creative energy feel blocked.
1. Get some Fresh Air.
An important part of nourishing our bodies, minds, and souls.
No matter what the weather's like during a given time of year, it's crucial to adjust either timing or clothing so you can get and take a walk outside (preferably without a phone in your face or noise in your ears).
Hot, humid summer days? Head out as early as possible and revel in the morning bird songs. Cold, blustery winter or fall days? A post lunch or late afternoon stroll when it tends to be warmer or use an hourly weather app to figure out the least stormy time block.
While you're out, slow down a bit and take notice of the trees, sky, animals, and foliage in all their inspirational glory.
It's a fun experience to block out one sense for a few moments to heighten others. Close your eyes (only in a safe spot please!) and just listen to chirping, leaves rustling or the water. Or throw on noise cancelling headphones and pause to explore a view – you'll likely be surprised by details you'd normally overlook.~ Elizabeth Curtiss, Happy Mom Life Lab Founder
On nature walks, as well as with any creativity-sparking endeavor, it always helps to have a journal on hand to jot down the thoughts and ideas that are sure to come your way. Or once you've taken in the sights and sounds of the moment, use your phone or voice app to record things and thoughts.
2. Have a New Experience.
Almost any new person, place or thing will wake you up and spark creativity.
This can be as simple as taking the bus to an undiscovered part of town or trying out a new class, or as big as jet-setting to foreign lands (as much as health safety allows).
One upside of the past year+ in quarantine is the development of easy exploring online. These days there are so free or low cost online options being offered. You can do everything from taking a cooking course, checking out library books to virtual travel.
Or instead of your usual go-to nearby hike, try a similar route but experience it in a different way. So for instance, instead of walking try biking or perhaps kayaking.
The point is, when our brains are on autopilot, with the same schedules and surroundings every day, it can be hard to spark creative thoughts. I personally tend to do my best writing when I’m on vacation and inspiration can to be found around every unknown corner.
3. Visit a Virtual Library or Bookstore.
There are no limits to where your mind can go when exploring fiction or non-fiction.
It is probably no surprise that I love libraries and bookstores, and really, who doesn’t? Not only do I find it incredible to peruse the boundless subjects and authors available, my creativity is always sparked by one or two books or periodicals I happen upon.
And since traveling isn't fully open or safe, a book can be a great substitute, transporting readers to another place and time, unlocking new thoughts and ideas.
4. Creativity Combo: Cardio + a Hot Shower.
I know this sounds a little funny, but I get some of my best ideas during both high-intensity cardio and hot showers, so putting the two together (which is often a necessity) is a knock-out creativity combination.
I’m inclined to believe this is because both of these activities calm my thoughts, opening up space for new concepts, and I emerge refreshed and ready to put in some great work.
Although not my go-to, many people use the opposite tactic: calm, low intensity movement followed by a cool shower or dip in a pool.
Try which ever appeals to you most. I can guarantee one or the other will do wonders!
5. “Tell” a Story to a Friend.
This idea can be taken literally or figuratively, both often resulting in creative ideas.
FaceTiming with a friend to brainstorm concepts, or really even just talk about life, yours and theirs, can spark ideas and give you a new perspective. If you’d like to try a group brainstorming session, check out Zoom’s free accounts.
As a writer, I also use this tactic figuratively when I’m at a loss for new ideas, writing “faux” letters to a friends about anything that comes to mind, because sometimes you just need to get something down on paper, be it a sketch or a written entry, to get a flow of thoughts started.
If writing isn't your jam, use a voice recording app on your phone. Elizabeth, Happy Mom Life Lab Founder, does this to problem solve while getting fresh air.
Talking things out can be both cathartic and inspirational.
6. Refresh Your Workspace.
The more enjoyable our workspaces are, the more we’re going to want to get down to business.
Desks often feel like a canvas to drop everything that needs doing. Give this creativity-killing clutter the boot by addressing your to-do pile, or finding a more appropriate and organized solution for your stuff.
Upgrade any tired supplies or technology with simple steps such as tossing the hundreds of mismatched pens for a fancy new set, or splurging on a new wireless mouse.
Additionally, adding a little beauty to your space, be it a vase of flowers, a new plant, or a meaningful piece of artwork can lift spirits and inspire us to create a little beauty of our own. Check out our Office Tour post for some inspiration!
7. Revisit Your Role Models.
Most of us have someone we look up to in our careers or creative endeavors, and if you don't take time to consider who this might be for you.
For me, it's women like:
Jene-Godfrey June, Beauty Editor at Goop, who started her career as a young fashion writer by sending unsolicited articles (which got published!) to Vogue
Martha Stewart (I know big shocker), who was in her early 40’s when she got started in the publishing world.
When in a rut with one’s career or creativity, revisiting the stories of those who inspire us can be the kick in the pants we need to get back in our groove.
If you’re lucky enough to have a relationship with a role model/mentor, it might simply be time to reconnect over a cup of coffee or glass of wine on a patio.
If you're at a loss of who you find inspiring, try checking out podcasts about female empowerment. I've been listening to the podcast Rebel Girls with my daughter and it's women (and girls) worth admiring one after another, plus she loves it. Or do an internet search connected to a particular activity or trait.~ Elizabeth, Happy Mom Life Lab Founder
With all of the uncertainty we've been facing, it’s pretty impossible these day to avoid feeling a little uninspired.
But we all need to lean into Positive Mindset and getting out of your rut with my 7 tips to unblock your creative energy is a great place to start. And, if all else fails, there’s always Pinterest, Youtube or your favorite magazine !
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Feature photo by Social Squares, ©Happy Mom Life Lab. Article images licensed through Adobe (family) and Nicole Vaughn (books), all in the context of this article are ©Happy Mom Life Lab.
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