Lockdown. Isolation. Social distancing. Quiet streets. Cancelled parties, shows and gatherings. While the world is currently in lockdown or self-isolation, being in lockdown can bring about a range of emotions from boredom through to loneliness, feeling overwhelmed, and even fear and anxiety.
It may be tempting to numb our emotions with Netflix or endless scrolling through dog or cat videos in a world that seems to be getting smaller because of isolating at home. However, tapping into our creativity can be a wonderful antidote to a range of negative emotions especially boredom and anxiety.
Boredom may be your brain telling you to get creative. A 2014 study found that people who are bored look for activities or sights that engage their minds to stimulate the brain’s reward centers. As a result, boredom could encourage people to think more creatively. Author, Stephen Shapiro, suggests that in an environment with some healthy constraints, a new idea is more likely be born because the constraints can sometimes guide us along the creative process to come up with a better idea.
Constraints in our lives can sometimes be helpful. Rather than focusing on the things that we cannot do during lockdown; we can choose to focus on the things that we can do. And this can be helpful for our creativity. Here are some ideas to help you stay creative during lockdown:
Study God’s word and engage in worship of our Creator, the ultimate source of all creativity. As a creative being who is made in the image of God, we can all tap into deep reserves of creativity if we spend time regularly in God’s word and praise and worship of our creator (Genesis 1:1). He is the source of all creativity so it makes sense to go straight to the source!
Setting aside 15 minutes to an hour a day to do something creative. With events cancelled, restaurants, cafes, gatherings and sporting activities closed, commute times to work and school reduced or in many cases removed completely because of schooling or working from home, scheduling an hour a day as ‘creative hour’ can be an great way to channel our emotions and develop our creativity.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic, suggests finding an hourglass or simply setting an alarm on your phone or a conventional kitchen timer to go off after 15, 30 minutes up to an hour before you start your creative activity.
Creativity is a bit like a muscle and needs to be exercised as frequently as any muscle in the body, so dedicating some time during the day is a valuable investment of time just like physical exercise. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. To combat procrastination, scheduling a fixed amount of creative time can be a useful method of getting past the first hurdle.
Participate in online creative meetings for remote collaboration. Many music or art teachers are using Zoom or other video conference meeting apps and software to conduct their music lessons with students. These are a great way to continue practicing and finetuning your creative skills while keeping safe and practicing physical distancing. Apps such as Zoom can allow multiple users to communicate or engage together via their meeting function. While there may be some technical issues with delay for musical collaborations, this could be a great alternative to creative collaboration during the lockdown. Get in touch with our Head of Instrumental Music, Mr Andrew Raymond if you would like to find out more about our online music lessons.
Set yourself a creative goal. Goal setting can be very useful as a motivational tool. If you are a writer, you could set yourself a goal of writing 100 words a day of creative writing, a musician could aim to write a song a day or a painter could paint a piece a day. Author, Norman Vincent Peale, said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Setting yourself a creative goal is a great way to aim high and accomplish some goals.
Stream of consciousness writing can unlock new innovative ideas. Stream of consciousness is a method of narration in literature that describes the flow of thoughts in the minds of characters. Our subconscious mind is always ticking away in the background as it controls the vital processes of your body, so tapping into our subconscious can help us to think innovatively. Inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, said, “never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” And it is common for successful people to direct their subconscious thoughts while they are sleeping.
One method for tapping into your subconscious mind is to take 10 minutes before going to bed to write down the things that you want to accomplish. Make some ‘requests’ to your mind and ask questions that you want answers to. While sleeping, your subconscious mind will work on finding solutions for the questions you have asked. 10 minutes after waking up, rather than checking your phone to fill it with chatter, quiet your mind and have some dedicated prayer time to settle yourself and start writing in your journal. Here you can ‘dump’ your thoughts on paper for 10 minutes without restrictions – write whatever comes to mind – in this way you can tap into your subconscious workings during the night and you may be surprised by the ideas and solutions you may come across.
Try something new. Creativity requires us to ‘think outside the box’ and in order to do so, sometimes we must engage in something new to our normal activities. Engaging in a new hobby or creative activity can help stimulate our creativity and trigger off new ways of thinking. If you are a musician, try painting. If you are a writer, play an instrument (dust off that ukulele that your aunt gave you) or try cooking a new recipe. Colouring books, knitting a beanie, doing an online course on acting, learning a new dance in the living room are just some ideas, we are only confined by the limits of our own imagination!
As we find ourselves in unusual circumstances that have upset our normal routine, I invite us to explore our creativity. Choose to see this as an opportunity to create, solve problems, learn new things and accomplish goals free of distractions that would normally have stood in the way before our lives were ‘locked down’.
Ms Cheryl Lim
Marketing and Publications Officer