Wouldn’t it be great if we could turn on our creativity like we turn on the tap?
Unfortunately, our brains don’t quite work that way. The creative process is unpredictable and finicky—especially when we need inspiration now!
While we can’t force creativity, there are plenty of tricks we can use to open our minds and live more creatively.
6 Ways to Be More Creative and Break Out of Creative Ruts
Look outside your niche for inspiration.
Feeling stuck? Look to others for inspiration. Not just others in your field or niche, but other artists, creatives, and industries.
When you look within your own field for inspiration, you’ll find ideas that have already been done. Here, it’s easy to slip into comparison mode and feel even less inspired and motivated than before.
Instead, go beyond your niche to trigger novel ideas and new ways of thinking. For example, if you are a painter, try diving into a book on architecture or the magical world of fungi. If you’re a health coach, try reading up on negotiation tactics or Montessori methods. Spending time with a different subject matter can help you create new ways to develop or communicate your craft that’s unique to you.
Take a bath or shower.
Have you ever noticed how you seem to have the best ideas in the shower? It’s not all in your head! There’s a scientific reason why these thoughts come to you in the shower instead of at your workspace.
“We did a multinational study and found that people reported more creative inspiration in their showers than they did at work,” says cognitive scientist Scott Barry Kaufman. He explains that showers offer a safe place to experience “a dopamine high, relaxed state, and distracted mind.” The perfect recipe for an ‘aha moment.’
Next time you’re feeling in a creative rut, stop and hit the showers. Or better yet, take your relaxation to the extreme with a CBD-infused bath and let the ideas flow.
Take a break.
If you’ve been spinning your wheels trying to summon creativity, take a step back. Some things just can’t be accomplished with hard work. What you can do to restore your creative spark is take a break.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but taking a break from your creative work or hobby might be exactly what you need to feel inspired again. In fact, research even shows that active daydreaming can boost cognitive function and open the doors to creative thinking.
So, put down your pen or paintbrush and do something else—anything else! Take a walk through a new part of town, don your apron and cook, meditate. Revisit the project you’re stuck on later with a fresh head and a new perspective.
“Invoke the Muse” with a ritual.
Epic creatives like Homer were no stranger to blocks and ruts. To get their inspiration flowing again, they had a simple ritual: an invocation to the muse.
The nine muses of Greco-Roman mythology were believed to hold all the inspiration, skill, knowledge, and emotions for artists to complete a masterpiece. When stuck, an artist could call upon (or invoke) the muse to ask for guidance.
Whether you believe in mythical muses or not, a simple ritual can put you in the right state of mind to feel inspired and create. Your ritual may be as simple as lighting a candle and saying a mantra, listening to a favorite song, or even wearing a certain outfit. Whatever that ritual may be for you, do it regularly to train your brain that this is the time for a creative session.
Nip burnout in the bud.
Nothing kills creativity like burnout. Unfortunately, burnout is increasingly common in our go-go-go culture, especially among those who need to be creative or problem-solvers at work.
Feeling overwhelmed and uninspired by the work or hobbies you used to love are common signs of burnout. To make matters worse, burnout depletes the mental energy you need to reignite your creative spark.
There are many ways to reverse burnout and get out of your rut. Managing stress is step number one. Along with integrating stress management habits into your daily schedule, CBD tinctures can help. CBD may help to promote relaxation, stress relief, and mood balance so you can focus your energy on your creative pursuits.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Your mind needs rest to be able to function at full capacity. When you’re rested, your brain is better at coming up with novel solutions and seeing inspiration in unlikely places. But if you’re missing crucial hours of sleep every night, trying to come up with your next great idea will feel like drudgery.
Make your sleep routine a top priority, and allow yourself at least 7-9 hours of rest. If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep at night, consider a nighttime CBD and melatonin supplement to help lull your brain into a restful state.
To stay fit and healthy, we need exercise and rest. The same goes for staying creative. We need both mental stimulation and plenty of downtime to give our brains the energy and space to create.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.