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how to stay creative while you’re cooped up at home02/04/2020
It’s easy to stay inspired when you are out and about, but now that you’re in lockdown, the walls are closing in. The kids are bored, the dogs are restless, and you’re struggling to keep your creative juices flowing. Worried your thoughts are going to go stale? We’ve got some great ideas that will help you stay creative for the long haul.
Tempted though you might be to sink into the couch, you’ll be more inspired (and productive) if you set up a dedicated workspace. Don’t make it the kitchen or dining-room table, if you have to clear up at the end of a long day, every day. All you need is a small table and a comfy chair, and an area to call your own. Set up with the tools of your trade, whether that means a pile of books, a pot of pencils or just a plug point for your device.
Everyone is looking for inspiration online while they can’t go outside. But be more deliberate about what you read. Instead of spending hours on social media, read about a variety of topics inside and outside your field of expertise. For starters, look to thought leaders in your field. Go to their personal websites and LinkedIn pages and see what they’re saying, doing and reading during these extraordinary times. Let them lead you down beautiful and bizarre rabbit holes. Or hit the books. Well, figuratively speaking.
As a Capitec client, you save 50% on all Educate24 online courses, so think about how you could broaden your current skill set. Simply sign up and pay for your courses directly on the Educate24 website. You can also qualify for R4000 off any GetSmarter short course from leading South African universities when you pay with your Capitec card. Value fiction over fact? Then read a novel. Dust off one of your favourites or try something that doesn’t fall in your go-to genre. We’re looking at you, romance novel. Don’t have a ‘to-read’ pile? You’ll be surprised to see the long list of classics that are available for free online. If now isn’t the time for escapism, when is?
You may not be able to leave the house, but you can still explore. Get stuck into some armchair travel. Want a dose of culture? Take a free virtual tour of 12 museums across the globe, from the Guggenheim to the Van Gogh. Wanderlust more your thing? Pick a few spots you’ve always wanted to visit and search for inspiring images online. Or take a trip to the opera. Well, without leaving the house.
The Royal Opera House in London is offering a free programme of curated online broadcasts of several classical ballet and opera performances, from Acis and Galatea to Gloriana. The programme also offers a peak behind the scenes of one of the most famous cultural institutions in the world. Opera too formal for your vibe? The theatre-streaming service Broadway HD is offering a seven-day free trial that allows you to watch performances from Broadway and the West End as well as other top theatres around the world.
For a change of pace, switch off the TV or turn over your phone and listen to music or a podcast. A recent study suggests that listening to happy music encourages us to think differently, which is key to creativity. But don’t just listen to your favourites: go on Spotify and Apple music and find playlists by friends or celebrities.
And if you haven’t already, get into podcasts. Where once they used to be a coping mechanism during long commutes to work, they’re now perfect background entertainment while doing the ever-growing pile of dishes, cleaning or cooking. Newbies should start with TED Talks, Freakanomics and Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations. Or maybe Serial. Or 99% Invisible. Actually, there are too many to list. Ask friends for recommendations and play (and listen) around the top charts.
Talk to people. Every day. Be careful not to become bogged down in the onslaught of memes, jokes and fake news surrounding the Covid-19 crisis. Instead, use the opportunity to connect with other creatives. Set up a Whatsapp group with colleagues and connections who inspire you. Share interesting images, inventive thoughts, inspiring podcasts and snippets of information that will challenge you to keep thinking out of the box, even though you may feel that you are literally stuck inside one.
Spending all this time alone actually does have its perks. If you can really switch off. Sometimes clearing your mind is the best way to make room for new ideas. Set aside at least 20 minutes every day to sit in silence. Switch off your phone, the radio, your computer and the TV. Find a quiet place to sit and ask family members to pipe down. Focus on your breathing, clear your mind and you’ll find ample room for fresh ideas.
In the much-lauded The Artists’s Way, author Julia Cameron introduces the concept of Morning Pages, which encourages you to take time every morning to write (yes, actual pen to paper sort of stuff) three pages of stream of consciousness writing. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s simply a way to jot down everything and anything that crosses your mind. If done regularly, it’s an excellent tool to cultivate creativity and personal growth.
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