I’m convinced that one of the worst “funks” is the “creative funk.” Moments when you so badly want to access your creative capabilities in your job, at home, or in a relationship but you just can seem to shake your innovative drought.
You’re creatively “funked up,” as Bruno Mars might say.
As a stay-at-home-mom, I spend most of my days going through the playtime/naptime routine I’ve established with Olivia. Routines are good—important and wonderful when your baby feels rested and ready for the next designated playtime. But some days, our routine can feel incredibly boring and monotonous (particularly for me…Olivia could be happy playing with a measuring cup for an hour).
Finding moments to be creative does not necessarily have to mean DIY projects (though I’m certainly a fan of those). Sometimes our creative sparks lead to spontaneous afternoons at the zoo, a morning of finger painting with your kids, new ideas for that project at work, or a fun twist on an old recipe.
We all are creative in our own, beautifully unique ways. But when you’re feeling an itch to create something—anything—and feel like those creative juices just aren’t flowing, here are 10 ways to boost your creativity.
- Go outside: Fresh air does wonders for the brain. And for the body. Most of my brainstorming sessions usually take place inside, while I’m sitting down. Forcing myself outside causes a kind of “brain cleanse” that makes room for new ideas.
- Write: Forget the kind of structured writing we all had to learn in grade school. Try writing down anything and everything that comes to your mind in a 30 minute period. If your mind wanders to your grocery list or a story about your dog, then so be it. Write it down. Get your brain muscles moving. If you need more “structure,” focus on that work project you need to complete and write down anything that comes to mind concerning that project. You may find a few surprisingly creative ideas hidden in those messy pages once you’re done.
- Listen to Music: Athletes like to crank up their favorite music artists so that they’re inspired to creatively play their sport. I think that moms, hoping to brainstorm a list of fun summer activities to do with their rambunctious kids, or employees, trying to come up with an innovative mechanical design, could definitely do the same.
- Exercise: Get your heart rate pumping. Maybe sweat a little. Send a whole pack of endorphins and adrenaline to your brain before you start demanding creative ideas from it. You may feel refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to get to work.
- Call Your Mom: Or your Dad. Or your best friend. Talk out your ideas with someone you not only trust but also someone you’d feel comfortable sharing even your dumbest ideas. Because we all know we’ve got those too. So brainstorm with They might have some great insight that would’ve gone unnoticed had you refused to call.
- Try Learning Something New: Tapping into a new part of your brain by learning something new—something that may even be out of your comfort zone—could be the key to solving the other problem you’ve been facing. So try learning something new. Stretch that brain of yours. She can handle it.
- Read/Watch/Listen What Inspires You: Perhaps this is obvious, but I always feel creatively inspired after I’ve seen an incredible play or listened to an extraordinary piece of music. Acknowledging the creative gifts in others and discovering ways in which their gifts inspire me often helps me move past my creative funk.
- Turn Off Your Criticisms: There’s no point in trying to come up with a creative concept or idea or event if you’re going to spend the entire time figuratively incinerating every little idea like a mean kid over an ant with a magnifying glass. So tell that negative voice in your head to go to her room. She doesn’t deserve to spend time with you if she’s going to be so rude about it.
- Seek Some Solitude: I know. I just suggested that we all call our moms to help boost our creativity. But for some, solitude might be best. Too many voices with too many different ideas can be stimulating, but also overwhelming. Set aside time to give yourself some space. To quiet your mind so you can focus on the creative brainstorming task at hand.
- Explore Different Spheres: Often times being involved in different spheres of thinking or action gives our mind something new to consider. If you’ve got a desk job, go out and garden. If you teach an exercise class, spend some time reading on the couch. Mix up your routine so that it incorporates activities that might seem out of the ordinary. Maybe your mind will start thinking beyond the ordinary as well.
As much as we like to imagine creativity as something that just “sparks” so easily within us, the truth is that creativity takes work. It takes practice and discipline. It takes time. Hopefully some of these practices can help you out of whatever creative “funk” you find yourself.
And if you know of any other ways that help boost your creativity, please share them! I’d love to read about the methods behind your creative madness.