Are you in need of a creative outlet?
Maybe you have a day job where the most creative thing you do all day is formatting Excel sheets. Or maybe being creative is your day job and you’re feeling burnt out from constantly needing to generate ideas.
Whether you’re a full-time creative or don’t have a creative bone in your body, it’s still worthwhile to have a creative outlet that’s separate from your daily work.
Why is it so important to have a creative outlet?
As human beings, we possess an innate desire to express ourselves. We need a way to communicate our experiences and emotions, which in turn, helps us cope with our daily lives and understand the world around us. Merely talking about our problems isn’t enough. We need a creative refuge to help us connect with ourselves on a deeper level.
Plus, there are science-backed studies confirming the numerous benefits of creativity. It can help lower our stress and anxiety levels, improve our physical and mental health, and boost our intelligence. Sign me up for a pottery class!
Luckily, there are so many different ways to unlock your creativity. And you don’t have to be Picasso or Mozart to take advantage of them. In fact, a lot of them you already know how to do because you did them as a kid.
Below are some ways you can carve out time for yourself and have a creative outlet.
Things to keep in mind when finding your creative outlet
Have a sense of play. As adults, we tend to be overly concerned with achieving positive results. We’ll abandon a creative project if we find ourselves not immediately crushing it. When it comes to having a creative outlet, let go of expectations. Think back to when you were a kid and played make-believe or doodled with abandon. Try to channel that sense of fun and enjoy the process itself.
Have structure. Is it possible to have fun and have rules? Yes! Having structure and a routine will actually help you get in touch with your creative side. There’s a reason that writers find themselves paralyzed by the blank page — the sense of possibility can be overwhelming.
- Try scheduling a regular day and time where you can plan to be doing creative activities, whatever they may be.
- If you’re dipping your toes into creative writing, try using a word prompt journal. Instead of feeling pressured to write something from scratch, you can use the word prompt as a springboard to discovering ideas.
Personally, I’m a big fan of taking classes because they provide structure and guidelines, and it’s easier to discover my creativity within those parameters. It’s always fun to take a class in something that’s in the opposite field you’re in. For example, if you’re a journalist, maybe take a cooking class. Or if you’re in tech, try taking a children’s book writing class.
What kind of creative outlet do you need?
Here are some ideas based on the kind of work you might do on a daily basis.
Are you always in front of a computer? These creative outlets will get you away from your desk and get your blood flowing,
- Coloring book - Adult coloring books are a popular creative outlet and for good reason. Studies have shown that coloring can lower stress and anxiety levels. The simple act of coloring allows you to get out of your head and focus on the task at hand. So much of our adult lives is spent problem solving, analyzing, and balancing work and home. Coloring gives our brains a break from all the thinking and worrying, and instead is a chance to unwind and be inspired simply by colors on a page.
- Dance class - The best way to get out of your head is to get in touch with your physical side. Try a salsa class or a flamenco class, or really any class that will allow you to express yourself through movement. A dance class can be especially therapeutic if your job requires you to write and communicate all day, since it allows you to tap into your physical body.
- Watercolors - You can buy affordable paints and brushes and get started right away. You’ll find the smooth strokes of the paintbrush and the soothing palette of the water colors to be so peaceful and calming.
- Create a collage - Make yourself a real-life Pinterest board by gathering your magazines and catalogs and cutting out any image that resonates with you. Maybe you’ll end up with a vision board or an inspiration board — follow your instincts and see what you create. You can glue these images to a page or pin them to a corkboard.
Are you tired of using your creative muscles all day? The following activities can provide a much needed outlet.
- Build legos - Like adult coloring books, Legos are making a comeback with the grown up set. Let your imagination run wild as you build entire worlds, one brick at a time.
- Cook a meal - You don’t have to take up a new instrument or write a poem to be creative. In fact, cooking a meal can be a creative act when you’re inspired by ingredients and flavors. Plus, the tactile feel of chopping, dicing, and stirring is sure to be a great stress reliever, and the intake of flavors and smells will awaken the senses, which can make you more receptive to creative ideas.
- Play the drums - Did you know that playing the drums can actually provide health and creative benefits? The act of drumming can relax and soothe you into a meditative state. And banging on a drum is sure to release any stress! If you’re tired of crunching numbers or looking at words all day, sign up for a drumming class or just buy a bongo to bang on at home along with music.
- Play with puzzles - If music or dance isn’t your thing, maybe board games and puzzles are more your speed. Brew some tea and break out a puzzle. And by putting together the pieces, you might just be able to see the bigger picture — not just on the board, but in your own life as well!
Remember: when it comes to finding a creative activity, the simpler the better. Think about the activities you loved to do as a kid -- the pure joy of doing something fun that unlocks your creativity is what childhood fun is all about.
Whether you’re making a collage or coloring in a book, we hope you find a creative outlet that is both relaxing and enjoyable. Let us know what you end up trying and what your favorite creative outlet is!