[AD] Elements of this post have been gifted or sponsered, however, all opinions are my own. For more information see the disclaimer.
As we grow older it becomes harder and harder to increase creativity. Our artistic side is cultivated less and less, and we have to start thinking about working as a means to pay our way. But as children, we’re taught to use our imaginations in order to play with toys or create artwork in pre-school. There was endless time to spend colouring our favourite books or creating worlds out of nothing. Now, there’s barely enough to make our evening dinner. That feeling of having lost your creativity isn’t unusual and you’re not alone. But the good news is that everyone has the ability to be creative in some way whether it be in the kitchen, the office or even playing video games.
Creativity promotes new ideas, helps our ability to solve problems, reduces stress and anxiety, and also acts as a way of self-expression. There are so many mind-altering benefits to being creative that not only encourage development in children but can also be very useful as a fully-fledged adult.
Why be creative?
I’ve talked about the many benefits of art on our mental health before, and honestly, the effects of creativity are very similar.
- Being creative, no matter how you choose to do it, is an excellent way of promoting self-expression. Children are encouraged to paint, draw, and colour as a way of expressing how they feel. At a young age, we’re not adequately able to say what we mean, however as we get older we better learn how to communicate our wants, needs, and feelings to others in different ways. Therefore many of us feel like we no longer need art or creativity to convey these things. We fall out of the way of tapping into our creativity and, eventually, many forgot they even had any, to begin with.
- Stress relief is honestly my main reason for tapping into my creativity. I thought I’d left it behind me when I entered my ‘dream‘ career. Before I would have spent hours writing fiction, sketching, painting, and even designing Sims on the PC. But as soon as I clocked in, my creative side clocked out. I had no way of relieving my stress and so it just continued to build until my cup was completely empty.
- By tapping into our creative side we’re better equipped to come up with out-of-the-box, problem-solving ideas! Not everything requires a straightforward answer, and often when at work or leisure, we’re faced with unusual circumstances. Having the ability to see beyond the usual solutions, and to come up with something completely different is a very useful skill to have and one that employers will often praise.
- Oh, and let’s not forget creative freedom! The freedom to create what you want, in whatever way you want. When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings he not only created an entire universe, but he also created various languages, and creatures to go with it!
10 Small & simple ways to increase creativity.
1. Keep a journal.
Journals give us the opportunity to express ourselves in private. Although you can choose to keep a public journal, I find keeping a physical, private one to be much more freeing. Whether it’s physical or digital, you should use your normal as a way of being creatively free. You can draw, colour, write, and scrapbook; The possibilities of a journal are endless.
2. Paint ceramics.
Sometimes trying to create your own clay models can be stressful, especially if you aren’t skilled with the medium. But you can buy already shaped and fired ceramics that are just waiting to be painted. This is a great way to destress and increase creativity without the added step of clay work.
3. Create decorative stones for your garden.
Next time you’re out in nature be sure to keep an eye out for smooth stones. These are perfect for cleaning and painting! And you can create whatever designs you want! During COVID-19 the local kids were creating rainbow designs in support of essential workers. Some of our neighbours have even painted their house numbers on stones instead of getting a plague!
4. Upcycle old furniture.
Since moving into my own home over two years ago, I’ve acquired my fair share of vintage furniture. Many items came from family and friends, while others came from thrift stores. I love sanding, stripping down, and re-cycling various pieces of furniture and decorations. It’s fairly simple too! Head onto Pinterest or Youtube and follow a simple tutorial to get started. But be warned, once you start you’ll never want to stop!
5. Try crocheting or knitting!
You can increase creativity even when following a Youtube tutorial and a traditional pattern! It’s all about letting your mind wander and learning how to move your fingers. My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was a kid. But it wasn’t until I began recovering that I had time to pick up the hook and needle again. I’m not a master knitter but I find it helps keep my hands busy when I’m anxious.
6. Create graphics.
Whether you’re a blogger, Instagram influencer, or just like to update your Facebook timeline with personal quotes, there’s nothing like messing around on photoshop to get the creative juices flowing. If you’re a bit like me and useless with Adobe, you can always opt to use browser-based apps like Canva!
7. Create art using old, outdated canvases.
Have you bought a few canvases, and put them up but now you’re sick of them? I do this all the time, especially when they’re cheap or on sale. But I don’t buy them to put up immediately. I buy them to paint over or modify to suit the vibe of a certain room. I’ve recycled so many canvases using acrylics, wall stickers, leftover wall paint, etc to create images more suited to what I need.
There are always cheap canvases available in thrift stores or bargain shops. Even if you don’t like the design, buy it anyway and jazz it up in any way you want. It’s one of the best ways to leave your own mark on your home or the home of a friend.
My husband is notorious for painting over cheap, unused canvases. We recently got the opportunity to work with Funcil’s acrylic paints and chalk markers. While I used the markers to work on ceramics, Ryan created this colourful masterpiece with acrylics!
8. Send decorative letters.
COVID-19 has left a lot of people communicating via messenger and even snail mail. My late grandmother and I always used to send letters to each other and these would often be beautifully decorated with a variety of stickers and coloured paper. Just sitting down to write and decorate a letter for a loved one can be a cathartic experience. Not only are you being creative in the way you write and design your letter, but you’re also putting thought into a personal letter for someone you love.
9. Create your own ‘worry’ jar.
Grab an old mason jar and write your worries on coloured paper. You can crumble them up, shape them into stars or fold them; it doesn’t matter! As long as they go into the jar and stay there. It’s a great way to get our worries out onto paper and the act of putting them into a jar seals them from sight. While it won’t take the worry away, it symbolically removes it from your mind and contains it somewhere safe.
10. Try your hand at scrapbooking.
Scrapbooking is one of my grandmother’s favourite past-times. She loved creating books of old family photos, things she liked, people she admired and even quotes she loved. It’s not a tradition I’ve carried on, but I know of many people who use collages and scrapbooking as a way to relax.