It’s 2021 and we’re all still in the midst of the pandemic. Most of us are still stuck inside, scrolling endlessly or staring at screens 14 hours a day. It’s hard to stay creative when every day feels the same. The good news is we’re close to being out of it! In the meantime, here are some easy ways to take care of our minds and get that creative juice flowing.
1. Take a long shower
Have you ever noticed you come up with the best ideas while you’re in the shower? According to Dr. Alice Flaherty, one of the most acclaimed neuroscientists researching creativity, the brain releases a lot of dopamine when we do activities that make us feel good and relaxed. Dopamine is one of the main ingredients in being creative. The more dopamine that is released, the more creative we are. So when in doubt, take a long warm shower.
2. Stare Out a Window
Off-screen activities take us momentarily away from the pressure of our work, and allow us to refresh ourselves. A report led by organizational psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper found a 15% increase in creativity and well-being among people who work in spaces with natural elements. So take off-screen time seriously and go for a walk or play with your pet.
3. Question E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G
Creativity is a form of problem solving. Many great creative ideas start with a simple question. Why is the moon round? Do trees talk to each other? Or how many times can the announcer say “free” during the NBA finals? *insert #client Chipotle’s Freeting campaign here* Simple questions like these help take the pressure off of coming up with ideas and keep you from overthinking. Your questions could eventually lead to some pretty great ideas, or spark some thoughts in territories you don’t usually think about.
4. Look For Indirect References
When we think of ideas, many of us tend to start looking for references that relate to whatever we’re working on. Sometimes those references can feel redundant and you may feel like you can’t find anything new, as the photographer Ernst Haas once cautioned. And a Haas-approved way to steer clear of feeling stuck is to explore something entirely different. Read some unrelated articles, look at abstract art, or go to a museum (or a virtual museum). These will give you some new perspectives and inspire you in coming up with fresh ideas.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Start Over
Be okay with telling yourself to start over, or saying “this concept doesn’t make sense.” Continuing to push an idea you know isn’t right just leads to frustration. Rather than go round and round in a circle trying to make it work, give yourself a clean slate. Starting over may not be ideal, but it’ll help you save time and stress in the end.