Refilling Your Creative Cup
Go with me on this journey.
You’re living your life, doing your job, being good to your friends and family, trying to eat right, getting those steps in, and maybe even volunteering on occasion to give back to the community. But slowly, you start to feel your well of energy drying up. You’re less excited to hang out with your friends, your work suffers from a lack of creativity, and overall, you’re kind of a snooze.
Are you broken? Is something wrong?
Short answer: nope! You’re fine, it sounds like you’re simply worn out and in need of a refill. Why?
Because you can’t pour from an empty cup – that’s just science.
The idea of “drink as you pour” comes from yogi Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, who teaches how you can’t be expected to give and give and not take care of yourself.
This hits home, especially for those in a purpose-driven field. Whether you’re working directly for a nonprofit or impact organization, or like us here at Media Cause, working with many to help them achieve their goals, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the amazing, important work and forget to take care of yourself. When you continually tire away – whether that’s on bold new designs, innovative copy, or creating thoughtful media strategies – but never take time to find fresh inspiration, your work can get stale, and all of a sudden, Comic Sans looks like a fun choice to add some spice to the day.
It’s imperative to “refill your cup” – whether it’s with giant glugs or small sips, getting a fresh perspective can add folds to your grey matter (read: it’s good for your brain health) and make you a more interesting person (read: hate being asked “what have you been up to?” – now you’ll have something to talk about).
There are countless ways to ignite that spark – here are three buckets to consider:
Learn Something New
Don’t get the test sweats yet – we’re not advocating that you go back to school (unless you really like that style of learning – then, by all means, study up).
Central Connecticut State University conducted a study on the seven benefits of learning new things. Some of the results include: changes in brain chemistry, learning speed increase, connections are made between skill areas, you become a more interesting person (see? It’s backed by science!), and you adapt better to change.
Unfortunately learning something new isn’t a “one-and-done” situation – becoming a lifelong learner reinforces those benefits. But since you’re an adult, no one is telling you what to learn. Go wild!
Take an improv class, go to yoga, try your hand at pottery or just dance in your kitchen and move in a new way (pro tip: shut the blinds first!). Find something to tinker with around the house, or do a deep dive of Googling on someone you’ve always been curious about. If you’re more inclined to enjoy a “formal” teaching environment, explore community classes or seminars at your local public institutions (libraries, parks, and cemeteries – yes, cemeteries – can all offer day classes and lectures). You never know when you might find yourself in a setting where that information comes in handy. Added bonus your social circle will expand, and you’ll be swimming in new friends.
By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll be adding glug after glug to your reserves.
Maybe learning something brand new is a bridge too far – it takes time, resources, and effort, and sometimes those things just aren’t in alignment. There are other ways to refill your creative juices.
Simply taking a walk can help improve brain functionality – and if that walk is in nature, there are added benefits. Nature has been proven to make us happier, healthier, and more creative. You don’t need to go full-on National Parks to get your fractal fix, even walking down a tree-lined street has its fair share of benefits.
You can also reignite a passion for an old hobby. Hobbies help by giving a sense of self-efficacy, as well as being a creative outlet. They give you something to look forward to, even if you love your day job, it’s nice to come home with purpose and give your brain something to work on without any consequences.
Pick up an old musical instrument, grab a new book, or try a different recipe in the kitchen. All count as hobbies and add wrinkles to your brain (remember: those are good wrinkles).
Or Just Have More Fun
Approaching daily life with a good outlook sounds like a swell choice, although sometimes it can get difficult. But just by injecting a little more fun into your every day, whatever your definition of “fun” might be, you can still add to the benefits of having a rich, interesting life.
When you have a mindset that’s focused on joy, it can improve your relationships at work and in your personal life, reduce stress, and make you more energetic. Chasing joy at work can also help your company attract (or at least retain) quality employees – improving client satisfaction and generally making the work day more enjoyable.
It can be hard in the face of deadlines, conflicts, and potentially an empty well to pull from. But as any flight attendant will tell you, you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. In order for you to show up as your best, bright, shining self, you need to take some you-time – in whatever shape it takes.
Now go forth, and drink up!