Some people say the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. They might even knock on your door and sing to you about it. But if you’re in the business of selling your art online, the holidays can be mentally exhausting. There’s so much to stay on top of, and by the end of it all, you might feel like your tank is on E. If you’ve started the new year burned out, being creative can feel impossible. You need a recharge.
Whenever you reach that point, it’s important to refresh your mind and do the things that make you feel good—even if they have nothing to do with making art. This could lower your stress, improve your headspace, and ultimately help you reignite your creative energy. Here are 10 tips for practicing mindfulness and stoking creativity.
Okay, don’t just breathe. Concentrate on your breathing. Take deep, slow breaths. Notice your belly expanding and contracting with every inhale and exhale.
Still with us? Mindfulness is about becoming aware of where you are and what you’re doing in the moment. To be fully present, rather than engrossed in obsessive thoughts and losing touch with your body. Daily breathing exercises not only promote calmness, but also help you disengage from your distracting thoughts.
2. Try forest bathing.
First we told you to breathe, now we’re telling you to jump into a muddy pond in the middle of a forest. Well, not quite. Forest bathing is the ancient Japanese practice of “bathing” your senses in the forest’s atmosphere. Smelling the leaves, feeling the sunlight, hearing the sounds of nature. According to scientist and author Qing Li, these sensations “ease our stress and worry” and “help us to relax and to think more clearly.”
The good news is you don’t even need a forest to forest bathe. You can do it in your favorite park or even in a garden. Just let your body be your guide and soak in your surroundings.
3. Start a gratitude journal.
Turns out, writing down the things you’re grateful for is good for your health. According to multiple bodies of research, expressing gratitude can improve sleep, increase positivity, and boost self-esteem. Any of these outcomes can make you feel rejuvenated. Having a good hair day? Write it down. Catch up with an old friend? Write it down. Happy you woke up this morning? WRITE. IT. DOWN.
4. Watch documentaries.
Seeing real people use their brains to accomplish great things can get your own creative juices flowing. There are so many quality documentaries about art and creativity you can find on your favorite streaming services.
Need a few suggestions? Finding Vivian Maier (2013) tells the story of a Chicago nanny and housekeeper who was quietly one of the greatest street photographers of the 20th century. Even the people closest to her didn’t know much about her work until her death. Then there’s Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (2016), which looks back on the legendary career of the first African-American animator hired by Disney.
Take a look at this list of art-themed documentaries by Highsnobiety for more ideas for movie night.
5. Lose yourself in the flow of doing things you love.
Focus on the tiny nuances of your favorite songs. Really savor the flavors of your favorite meal. Disappear into a good book. In other words, allow yourself to fully experience and enjoy the things you love doing most. It not only improves your mood, but it also puts you in a more positive headspace where you can be creative.
6. Give your workspace a makeover.
If days start becoming indistinguishable from each other, the monotony can wear you down. That’s when you can benefit most from change. Invite new energy and ideas into your workspace with a makeover. You don’t have to do anything too extensive. Put up a new picture. Replace a few items at your desk. Add new colors to switch up the look and feel. Small adjustments here and there can go a long way.
7. Minimize distractions.
The biggest obstacle to creativity is distraction. When you’re ready to focus on making art, your phone diverts your attention every time it buzzes and dings. Consider turning off your notifications during creative sessions so you aren’t tempted to check in every other minute. The world will still be there when you’re done drawing. Hopefully.
8. Make a list of your most absurd ideas.
As creative people, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to come up with the best ideas. But what if you took the opposite approach? Try making a list of your worst, most absurd ideas instead. Chances are a few of them might actually be good since you used a different creative approach. You might surprise yourself!
9. Go on mindful walks.
If you find yourself on autopilot, get up and go for a walk if you can. Take in the environment around you and pay close attention to your movement to clear your mind. You can do this anywhere—in a hallway, down the street, or in nature. According to Stanford research, the act of walking can also improve your creative thinking. So you might return to your workspace with a fresh mind and fresh ideas.
10. Do nothing.
If you really want to recharge, what you need more than anything is rest. Many of us tend to overbook our day with tasks and overwhelm our minds with too much information. You don’t have to be productive every waking moment. In fact, that hurts, not helps, your creativity.
Unplug from social media. Look out the window. Listen to silence. Give yourself permission to take mental breaks between tasks. Inactive moments like these can be “an incubation period for future bursts of creativity,” as stated by management scholar and psychoanalyst Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries.
No matter how busy you get throughout the year, always carve out time to recharge and practice self-care. It’s not only essential to your mental health, but it can also help you unlock your full creative potential. Come back to Creative Resources for more tips, announcements, and guidance on selling your art online!