Do you remember spending hours as a kid drawing an elaborate dream house, complete with things like a slide, trampoline room, or cleaning robot? How about summer days spent developing elaborate play set-ups… spaceship, spies, or restaurant? Did you see a hundred possibilities for items that were on their way to the trash?
Years later, I found myself… not so creative. Not so imaginative.
What happened to that little girl with the big ideas? And how could I bring her back?
I set out to intentionally bring back my creative side and found that it’s still there.
Here are a few simple ideas for reconnecting with your own creativity.
1. Find quiet moments.
With Spotify, podcasts, and Netflix literally in my back pocket, it’s easy to spend the day being entertained. From getting ready in the morning, driving to work, and after the kids are in bed – we constantly fill our day with noise and ideas – just not our own.
Choosing to make room for quiet moments in my day allowed my brain engage, think creatively, and solve problems instead of merely being an information consumer.
Creativity Challenge: Spend an entire car ride in silence, and see where your thoughts take you. If there’s a lingering parenting problem you’re facing, take time to brainstorm some possible solutions.
2. Take a break from Pinterest.
When it came to birthday parties, I used to spend what felt like hours scouring Pinterest, looking for ideas for my kid’s parties, only to realize that nothing I’d pinned really fit our family.
A few years ago, I began party planning in a different way… with a blank sheet of paper and pencil. I found that activities, food, and decorations came together within a few minutes when I simply sat down, focused, and used the resources of my own experience to plan a fun party. Now that my kids are a little older, they chime in with their own ideas, too!
Creativity Challenge: The next time you’re faced with a project, pull out a blank 3×5 card before getting online. Spend at least five minutes jotting down ideas.
3. Take a walk.
A recent study by Stanford University researchers found that walking, both indoors and outdoors, boosts creativity by an average of 60 percent. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has been known to hold meetings on foot, and Steve Jobs was famous for it.
If it’s good enough for some of the most innovative minds of our generation, it’s good enough for me. Some of my best ideas have come to me during a walk around the neighborhood.
Creativity challenge: The next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, lace up your shoes and take a long walk. Expect to come home with fresh ideas and a renewed perspective.
4. Record ideas right away.
As a mom, my brain is often juggling many tasks at once. I’m not just responsible for remembering to brush my own teeth, but my kids’ teeth too. Not to mention keeping track of everyone’s activities, lesson plans, household chores… the list goes on and on.
Despite how convinced I am in the moment that I will never forget the brilliant idea that strikes me, the truth of the matter is, I am going to forget it. My favorite way to record ideas is using the Evernote app. You may use a different app or Post-it notes in your calendar, but the key is to stop whatever you’re doing and write down that idea.
5. Play alongside your kids.
Confession time: Even though I didn’t play with them as a child, I’ve discovered I really love playing with Legos as an adult. When I finally gave myself the freedom to dive in and build my own projects alongside my children, I had so much fun – and was creative in brand new ways.
Whether it’s drawing, building, or acting out creative play – join your kids!
Creativity challenge: Schedule time on your calendar each week where you set aside other priorities and simply play with your children. Really let loose – not just for their benefit, but for yours, too.
6. Say no to comparison.
I was at a ladies’ pottery night recently, and was struck by how often we as women compare our work to others – and believe our own creations come up short. All of us were new to pottery, and none of our finished pieces was going to end up in a museum – but that wasn’t the point. The point was to create, learn something new, and have fun along the way.
The bottom line is, comparison is the thief of creativity and joy. So just, don’t.
Creativity challenge: The next time you’re creating something – whether it’s a decorated cookie, a scarf, or a painting – commit to saying only positive things about it. Don’t worry about whether it’s perfect, enjoy the process.
Creativity isn’t just for kids – it’s for moms, too!
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