How to Keep Your Creativity Alive During Lockdown

Us creative folks thrive on variety, afterall it is the spice of life! Learning new skills, encountering fresh opportunities and facing new challenges helps us to grow and keeps our creative juices flowing. But what do we do when our rivers of creative thought run dry? When we’re faced with the same four walls of our home offices day-in, day-out? And how do we ensure our imaginations continue to spark when we have no one to brainstorm ideas with?

The Covid-19 lockdown has put a lot more of us into this kind of situation, limiting the stimuli available to our creative brains.

The Amplitude Media team is no exception. So, we put our heads together (virtually, of course) to come up with some suggestions for how we can all keep our minds active during these strange times.

1. Sleep Influences Creative Thinking

Studies have shown that thinking about problems, tasks, or ideas before you go to sleep can result in dreams that help you solve such problems. Our brains continue to work on problems while we sleep, and there are proven links between poor sleep quality and poor performance.

Lockdown has resulted in our schedules being thrown into the air, and has undoubtedly affected our sleep patterns too. It is more important than ever to maintain a routine, not only for creativity’s sake, but for our own wellbeing. By maintaining a sense of normality in challenging times, we give our brains the space they need to think creatively.

2. Engage With Other People’s Work

Soaking up the results of others’ inspiration is a surefire way to spark new ideas of your own. Museums, galleries, exhibitions or shows are perfect for generating ideas, but, of course, visiting them isn’t possible during lockdown.

Thankfully, there are plenty of resources online that can offer endless streams of inspiration. From online pin boards on Pinterest to artist portfolios on Dribbble & Behance, you can browse stunning pieces and collect ideas from the comfort of your own sofa. Even better, bring the galleries to you! We’ve seen numerous examples of this over the past weeks, and some of our favourites are listed below:

Getty Museum “Between Art and Quarantine” challenge – The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles challenged people to recreate artworks from their collection using household objects.

Art Galleries For Pets – Who says pets can’t enjoy art too? We have seen several instances of miniature art galleries sized for furry friends! They’re even showing parody paintings featuring the animals themselves.

Virtual Galleries – In the wonderful age of technology, many museums and galleries (including the Louvre Museum in Paris, Natural History Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) have developed virtual tours of their exhibitions and artworks that you can access from home.

And on a local level, here’s friend of the studio Colette Lavette’s new virtual gallery space. We look forward to Colette showing her pieces at our creative networking events when things get back to normal.

3. Minimise Stress To Maximise Creativity

Studies have shown that stress kills creativity, and even the Amplitude Media team sure feels a lot less creative when we’re bogged down. The Covid-19 crisis means that the traditional stress-relieving advice of going to the gym, visiting friends, attending a relaxing massage or spa trip etc. is, again, not possible.

We’ve watched as cases of anxiety and loneliness have risen since lockdown began, and must emphasise that the benefits of self-care extend further than your creativity levels. Self-care can improve every part of your mental state. You’re more important than your productivity, and only once you’ve taken care of yourself can your mind truly flourish.

There are plenty of ways to look after yourself and your mental health at home, which is paramount in times of uncertainty. Soothing activities such as hot baths/showers or practising yoga will help relax your body and mind, and online exercise or P.E. classes (we’re looking at you Joe Wicks) are great for a much needed endorphin boost! 

Social interaction substitutes come in the form of Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Houseparty… the list goes on! Virtual get-togethers are the new normal right now, and mean that you can still see your loved ones from miles away and reduce feelings of loneliness. We’ve seen examples of virtual pub quizzes, bingo nights, game nights, fancy dress parties, musical collaborations, poetry readings and much much more! 

However, if you do find yourself really struggling and in need of support, there is help out there. Many organisations such as Samaritans, Mind and CALM (to name a few) are still open to guide and support you through this time. A full list of helpful organisations can be found on the NHS website.

4. Collaborate & Create With Others

Collaborating with other people is one of our favourite methods of coming up with new ideas. In-person collaboration sessions are out thanks to social distancing, but there are still so many ways to collaborate! You can jump on a conference call with colleagues or friends and plan out a project before each going away to create your part. Or, if that sounds like too much coordination, try remixing or adding to something someone else has done.

This is what happened early on in the lockdown when our Project Manager Will teamed up with local musician Tommy Gardner to perform a lockdown version of Losing Me by Gabrielle Aplin and JP Cooper. Other local musicians picked up on the video and began adding their own parts, eventually resulting in a video featuring seven different people!

Of course, as well as collaborating with other people, you can still bounce ideas off them. Brainstorming sessions are nothing new, but lockdown might be the ideal opportunity to try “brain writing”. It’s a variation on the brainstorming idea, where instead of everyone talking through ideas at the same time, people write their ideas down. The ideas are shuffled virtually and passed on to someone else, then you develop the idea in front of you before passing it on again. It’s actually been shown to be more effective than brainstorming, as it gives people the opportunity to showcase their ideas without the fear of being judged, and without dominant personalities taking over.

5. Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention

Isolation and limitation provide a challenge for creatives, and problem solving is what we do best. Our current situation has led to innovation in technology, approaches to working, changes in attitudes, and has given us time (and in some cases lots of it!) 

Taking up a new hobby could act as a vehicle for gaining access to your own creativity. When you’re left with nothing to keep you busy all you have is yourself. Although it is not realistic for everyone to expect to become a baking guru or expert gardener, the extra time has allowed people to make home improvements, take up new hobbies, or find new ways to relax and recharge their batteries, all of which is pure creative fuel.

So there you have it. A few ideas to help you keep those creative juices flowing while also looking after your mental wellbeing. Why not give some of them a try? And if you end up creating something you’d like to show off, send it our way. We love seeing what people have been up to.

Stay safe everyone.

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