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How to Tap Into Creative Outlets

I initially wrote this blog post to share on another site, so here it is again with a few photos and some personal anecdotes added in bold.

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You may or may not consider yourself a creative person, but what does the term ‘creative’ really pertain to? While the concept of creativity is most often connected to the arts, Oxford Languages defines it as the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. Creativity can be implemented in all aspects of life. A creative mindset is valuable in various settings, including at home and in the workplace. You may also hear the terms innovation, ingenuity, and vision used instead of creativity. They all hold similar meaning.

As a visual artist, writer, and art educator, I believe that everyone has the potential to tap into their creativity. The act of creating is a human instinct. It’s no wonder the social media industry is currently booming with content creators. However, maybe taking photos and making videos isn’t your thing. Maybe you don’t even use social media. If you are seeking a creative outlet and don’t know where to start, consider your own hobbies and interests. Change up your usual routine by trying something new and using your imagination. For example:

Do you like to exercise? Make up your own workouts that focus on specific muscle groups. Find new ways to incorporate exercise equipment. When I make up a workout, I find it helpful to write down the exercises (# of reps, amount of time, weights I plan to use, etc.) so I can refer back to them. It also helps me hold myself accountable for what I had written down, instead of just making it up as I go along.

Do you like to cook? Do an at-home Chopped challenge using only the things you currently have in your refrigerator and/or pantry. Make it as simple or complex of a meal as you want. Try new flavor combinations. We do this at home sometimes if we haven't gone to the store in a while or if we have random leftovers that could be reused in a new way. Sometimes I look up recipe ideas for inspiration on how to cook certain foods.

Do you like to spend time outside? Go for a walk and create a scavenger hunt of things to look for along the way. Imagine what a typical day would look like as a bug or a bird. Below are some faces I made using only the things I collected on a walk. This creative exercise challenged me to look at natural objects in new and different ways.

Engaging in creativity is not only fun, it also has health benefits. It can serve as a way to work through stress, express emotions, and provide a sense of accomplishment. I often lose track of time when I’m immersed in creating artwork. It’s satisfying to visually represent an idea or concept that would otherwise just live in my head. Writing is another helpful tool for me to reflect on personal experiences and thoughts, which I find therapeutic.

Children have a natural tendency to use their imaginations and think creatively. While imaginative play is encouraged in early childhood, there seems to be less emphasis placed on the value of creativity and imagination as children get older. Just like any skill, it is important to engage in creative exercises in order to train and strengthen creative muscles. Thinking outside the box may come more easily to those who flex their creative muscles regularly.

Tips for developing a creative practice:

  1. Set aside time in your schedule. Creative endeavors may be low on the priority list, but if you’re serious about developing an existing skill, learning something new, or just strengthening your creative muscles in general, you need to put the time in.

  2. Start small. Designate a few minutes each day or a few times each week towards your activity, whatever your schedule will allow. Over time, perhaps you will build creative activities into your daily routine.

  3. Look it up. If you’re unsure of how to do something or need ideas, there are many resources in books and on the Internet.

It’s never too late to discover your preferred creative outlet(s) and develop a practice to infuse creativity into your life!

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