Written by Founder and CEO, Sara Potler LaHayne
Earlier this year I was in serious need of recharging. I was six years into founding Move This World and the time had come to take a step back and refocus my energy on my own emotional wellbeing. So I took a six-week sabbatical to explore two pieces of both myself and the ethos of this organization – contemplation and creativity.
Now that I’m back in the office (and back on the grid), it’s important to me that I continue to find ways to push my own limits and seek out new sources of inspiration. Join me as I share ten easy ways that you too can unlock your inner creative each and every day.
#1 Be Alone.
It’s difficult to be inspired when you’re preoccupied with responding to someone else’s needs. In order to access your inner creative spirit, you cannot let your own voice be squashed or quieted by someone else’s. When you give yourself a moment to breathe, you can focus on appreciating yourself. Before starting off your day, take five minutes to just be alone in peace and quiet. Closing the door to the outside world, gives you space to tune in with yourself.
#2 Get In Your Body.
Often times some of the best ideas live inside us and we have to stand up and move in order to allow them to flow through us and surface. Turn on some tunes and shake it. Take a quick walk. Work standing up. Go for a run. Clench your fists and then release. Get your blood and endorphins flowing.
Our stream of consciousness sometimes feels buried and needs to be uncovered. Ideas are constantly percolating and we don’t even know it. Open up a notebook or grab some scrap paper and just write for 30 minutes. Write about your stomach ache or the windy morning weather. Or perhaps you’d rather vent about the incessant horns blowing outside your window or reminisce about the beautiful person you ran past on the westside highway. Write whatever comes to mind.
This activity allows you to clear out your internal “cache” to make room for new ideas & resurface any buried ones you may have missed.
#4 Get Going.
We are our own worst critics. Do yourself a favor and get out of your head. Who cares if you have an idea that has never been done before? Why must we constantly require a map or guided course to get where we want to go? Don’t rely on the beaten path. Whatever you do, just get going. That’s the first step to beginning your journey.
#5 Put Your Phone Away.
As we all know, being alone and being alone with our phones are two entirely different things. This tip is to straight up turn off that phone. No emails, no texting, no tweeting, no posting, no snapping. In an office setting, the average employee experiences a distraction every 3 minutes. Whether it’s an assignment, a question or just getting tagged in a new, hilarious meme, each distraction takes you out of your creative flow state and on average takes at least 23 minutes for your brain to re-calibrate and return to your previous task. Release the phone from your thumbs and allow yourself to connect with the the world through your own eyes rather than through a screen.
#6 Immerse Yourself In Nature.
Find some foliage to inspire you, or go create next to the east river. Nature is not only proven to reduce stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety, but it also restores depleted attention circuits, which can then help us be more open to creativity and problem-solving. Remove yourself from the over-stimulation and find comfort in the beauty of the earth and how each leaf grows and turns into its own shade of gold; without hesitation it becomes its own work of art. Think of what you can do to create art yourself.
#7 Surround Yourself With People And Situations Who Are Not Like You.
When we spend time with people who share our beliefs and values in situations that we’ve seen before, it’s hard to imagine how our boundaries could be pushed or our limits stretched. Try intentionally putting yourself in a place of discomfort with new perspectives all around you to awaken new feelings and sensations. Although that might mean trusting a different barista to make your precious coffee in the morning or getting lunch with a new coworker, it creates opportunities for inspiration to blossom into creativity.
Reading a story, poem, or even just a quote can ignite a spark that begins your flame of creativity. A friend once told me that a book is the result of someone else’s creativity, and the book’s purpose is to inspire creativity within others. Knowledge is power in many ways, and the more you learn, the more powerful your ideas will be.
#9 Create Structured Rituals.
Find a structure through which you can feel at ease and find comfort in the consistency. Love a certain scented candle? A blanket reminds you of warmth and family? Re-create those pieces that give you comfort and build your own personal safe space. In practicing these rituals, you create an environment of stability in your life that will allow you to feel more comfortable in seeking out new, creative possibilities. When we have structure that grounds us, we can be more free in our creative risk-taking.
#10 Look At Yourself And Smile.
Often times we are our own biggest obstacle. We constantly question ourselves. Even in instances as small as second-guessing that new jacket you just bought. It’s important that we continuously remind ourselves that we are capable human beings. Being happy with ourselves is what gives us the confidence to be open to expressing all of our thoughts and ideas, allowing us to put ourselves in vulnerable spaces that allow for personal growth. So make an intention today to take a long look at yourself and just smile.