I’ve decide to start a little series of helpful tips if like me your brain doesn’t always let you be the productive creative person you think you should be.
For a while I have wanted to write more as a way of exploring and recording my ideas. One of the subjects I’ve wanted to chronicle is the place of creativity and anxiety issues in my life. Both have been a part of my life for what feels like forever. They are often intermingled in situations. Unfortunately anxiety is a tricky monster. It tips the balance and can stop me making the things I want to make. At its worse it can stop me just functioning like a human being completely. Over the last two years I’ve been working hard on building processes to work my way around it and putting plans of attack in place in case it creeps up on me again.
Creativity and anxiety (as well as other mental health issues) affect a lot of people. But I feel my tips can apply to everyone. In general having an ambition that involves being creative is often challenged by just the normal day to day routine. The brain is a busy organ that is constantly challenged by the rush of life around it.
So i thought I’d write some tips I use when my brain wont let me create! First up is one I’m trying to build a habit of doing.
This week if you find castle ramparts rising up in your cranium and the flow of creativity stopping, I’d like you to firstly be kind to yourself. We spend so much time trying to care for and please others that ourselves often come last. Take the pressure off yourself with some self care. Do some yoga to stretch out your stress. Treat your skin to some nice moisturisers and have a home spa evening. Make yourself your favourite meal.
If you feel to worked up to go in to straight up relaxation mode maybe try a more constructive approach. Try and approach yourself from the outside and try to evaluate what this person needs to feel better. A healthy meal, a good nights sleep, a break at a local coffee shop with a large slice of cake. I find that I can be a lot more sympathetic to other peoples problem and very self critical of my own. This pressure can build up and before I know it, it starts to affect my work and ability to create.
It’s not rocket science but sometimes it can be difficult to take a step away from ourselves. Allow yourself space to reset yourself. Then your ready to get on with the project your working on.
There are times when you are sitting at your desk and it is just not happening. Staring at a blank piece of paper will still be staring at blank piece of paper an hour later if you don’t change something. So my next ground breaking tip is GO OUTSIDE! It seems a bit simple but it can really work. Chances are if you work at a desk you do not move around enough. Since I've been working on my anxiety I’ve taken up running. I might be the slowest runner in the world (seriously sometimes I think I could walk it faster) but movement really helps shift that buildup of nervous and negative energy that can stops me getting on with stuff.
I realise running isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes, when I’m stuck in the middle of a field in the pouring rain, I don’t really like it either. Just try to get in the habit of getting out of the studio, office or house. Maybe just a walk round the block is all you need. If you have a dog take it to the park and throw a ball around until your arms are tired. Go to a cafe and order a drink you have never tried before. Spend an hour cycling to the library and picking a book on a subject you've never heard of before. Go to somewhere that is full of nature like a forest or park and note the animals you see.
These may seem like trivial activities but it is removing you from the situation thats causing you brain block. Take as much time as you can to reset you brain. Even 5 minutes of fresh air and sunshine can really help. I like to take 40 minutes to an hour running like a mad person in the forest. Of course bad weather and climate can limit this tip. But I’m going to write lots of other ways to beat your brain in the coming weeks.
Get in touch if you have any questions or thoughts on the subject. I’d love to hear other peoples methods for keeping up their creative flow.