Let’s face it – constantly staying inspired? It’s hard as shit. If you’re anything like me, even finding the motivation to get out of bed some mornings can seem like the most difficult of tasks. Whether you’re an artist, writer, dancer, lawyer, barista, or anything else in this world, being mentally stimulated to do or feel something isn’t something we can always pull out of thin air. So what do you do on the days you’re feeling like everything’s impossible? The bad news is there is not a universal solution, however there are things you can do to help fight the block and set yourself up for success. I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of things that have worked for me.
1. Clean your fucking room.
This. This may be the most important thing on this entire list, and THE most important place to begin. As the famous W. Clement Stone quote goes, “You are a product of your environment…”, so clean your damn room! Wash your sheets, organize your closet and purge some unnecessary garbage. A clean room after a funk can help clear your mind and give you a fresh slate to take on whatever objective you set for yourself. It really works people, trust me.
2. Light a fucking candle.
This may sound crazy, but candles ARE MIRACLE WORKERS. Bad day? Light a candle. In the bathtub? Light a candle. Enjoying your morning coffee? LIGHT. A. CANDLE. Tuck yourself away into your favorite corner of your space and light that candle. Candles can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety and stress and induce quality sleep, so getcha ass out there and grab a candle.
3. Start an idea book.
Have you ever been laying in bed staring at the ceiling, or maybe in the shower and you think of something fantastic? Maybe you make a mental note you’ll forget later, or maybe you write it down in the notes app on your phone, never to be seen again. Enter: the idea book. Grab yourself a simple pocket-sized notebook from Amazon or a local store and carry it around with you. Write down anything and everything from cool ideas, to things you see that bring you joy and inspiration. Read your daily writings back each night before you go to bed, or first thing in the morning when you wake up to help spark some inspiration. Not only is this cool and helpful – it’s also just REALLY great to actually write something down on real paper, as opposed to typing it on your computer or phone.
4. Fiddle around with an instrument.
This is something I’ve been doing more and more lately and it’s been really helpful in getting my creative juices flowing. A friend of mine left her keyboard at my house and I’ve been playing around with song chords. Chords are pretty easy to use and e-chords is a great and mostly free resource tool with wonderful visuals for the most common instruments. If you find yourself hitting a wall, take a 30-minute break and mess around with an instrument. It not only exercises your mind, it cultivates creativity and helps produce patience and relaxation.
5. Go on a walk.
Sometimes if I’m struggling through a mental block, I find it incredibly useful and helpful to get out of the house for a bit and go on a nice relaxing walk. Depending on my mood, sometimes I will go during the day, sometimes I prefer to go at night, sometimes I bring music to listen to, and other times I try and walk with my thoughts and my thoughts alone. Find the right groove for yourself and then get out there and get some fresh air.
6. Book a weekend getaway.
This one requires a little capital, but it doesn’t have to be some extravagant production. This could be something as simple as driving a few hours out of your city and spending the night under the stars. I found that this one in particular helps me, especially if I’m working on a larger project and can’t seem to concentrate or get my creative juices flowing. Look into destinations driving distance from home, check airbnb for super cheap deals and go for it. Sometimes getting yourself out of your usual environment is all you really need to refresh and recharge.
7. Put down your phone for a few hours.
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes find yourself unintentionally glued to your phone, scrolling and scrolling through absolute nonsense until you shockingly realize a significant amount of time has gone by. Our phones are important, they keep us connected to many of the things we love and act as a source of incredible and important information. But they ARE distracting and addicting. So why not set a few hours aside each day and put that damn thing away. Don’t look at it, leave it at home, turn it off, ANYTHING will help. I will sometimes leave it in another room and try to focus all of my attention on my current task. This one can be especially helpful first thing in the morning. Instead of instantly reaching for your phone, go enjoy your coffee or whatever your morning routine may include in peace, and just be present in the moment.
8. Take a long hot shower or bubble bath.
When I’m stressed or need some deep thought provoking guidance, this is my number one go-to relaxation practice. I like to grab a few candles, throw on some of my favorite instrumental, ambient music, pour a glass of wine, and step into pure relaxation. I also find that some of my best ideas happen when I’m in the bathtub or shower. It’s a great way to sneak away from reality for a bit and just swim in your own thoughts.
9. Go for a run.
Now I do have to admit, this has never been my thing, but other people SWEAR by it. Throw on some work out gear, lace up those tennis shoes and hit the pavement. Some like to run first thing in the morning, and others prefer to run in the evening. This is another one that’s all about finding your groove. If you’ve never tried it before, it’s worth a shot. Exercise is proven to stimulate your body and release proteins and other chemicals that improve the structure and function of your brain.
10. Spend at day at the museum or library.
What better way to get your creative juices flowing than to spend an entire day looking at other people’s creative successes? Museums and libraries are incredible resources, because you’re literally surrounded by creative accomplishments. I’ve always found them both to be very relaxing and tranquil places that put me at ease the second I walk in the door. The best part? Museums are generally pretty affordable and always offer special discounted days, and public libraries are free! Grab your idea book from earlier and immerse yourself in a world of creativity and art.
So there you have it! 10 ways to hopefully get your brain moving and spark creativity. Again, these may not work for everyone, but there is definitely some science behind each and every one of these. Which one works for you?