A rut can mean something different to everyone on earth. Some of us struggle to get motivated for work, the gym or socialising on the weekends. Others may get negative thoughts and feelings that something just isn’t right.
Know that you’re not alone if you feel stuck in a rut, and there are ways to get the creative juices flowing without spending tons of time or money. A simple painting kit, logo maker, or music session can work wonders and get you back in the game ASAP!
Here are ten ways to blast away those mental cobwebs and jumpstart your creative energy.
Get out and explore nature
The great outdoors can revitalise our spirit and put the problems of daily life into perspective. It’s not wishful thinking–studies confirm that fresh air and scenic views positively impact mental health and alleviate psychological stress.
Sometimes breaking out of a rut is just a matter of changing scenery! Explore a nearby park, take a weekend in the mountains, or hit the beach. Unplug from technology and see how nature can heal.
Hit the gym and let off steam
Believe it or not, working out is a highly creative pursuit. You design your workout programme, move your body, push your mental limits, and enjoy some motivating music while getting that endorphin rush.
There’s a reason why top CEOs and creatives have a rigorous exercise routine: it helps keep them fresh, active and engaged on every level.
Play around with design software
You don’t need to be Claude Monet to flex your artistic abilities. Now that free design software is widely available on desktop, mobile, and other formats, you can express yourself artistically without costly supplies or years of study.
Play around with an illustrator program on your tablet, or tinker with a logo maker in your desktop browser with a mouse and keys. You may find a knack for artistic expression or find a niche as a freelance logo maker for small businesses.
Tap into your musical side
We all love music, but making beats and melodies is another story. Even if you don’t have skills on the guitar or piano, you can enjoy a digital jam session with software like Ableton or GarageBand.
These digital audio workstations come with a learning curve, but you can quickly learn the ropes and get the music flowing. Lay down some tracks and feel the groove, then share your creations with friends. Could you be the next Spotify sensation?
Do creative writing exercises
Storytelling is a fundamental art form, but when was the last time you sat down to tell your own story? Creative writing or journaling can be a fun and useful way to spend your free time, allowing your thoughts to flow freely and reflect on your past and present.
Getting stuck in your head is a common cause of anxiety or boredom, and creative writing fixes that by putting it all on the page. Start typing away and see what breakthroughs you experience for the better.
Cook something new and unique
The culinary arts are for everyone, and there’s no better way to shift gears mentally than with a new recipe. This requires that you follow instructions, pay attention to multiple concurrent tasks, and develop new skills on the fly with some trial and error as well.
You might not earn a Michelin star for your next dish, but you’ll be glad you made the effort to cook something new.
Explore an untapped genre of art
Ever seen a black-and-white film? Heard a Dixieland jazz record? How about reading poetry from a faraway time and place?
Breaking away from the mainstream culture of the moment and engaging with different art forms can clear your mental slate and offer a creative boost.
Handwrite a list of gratitude
In a world of constant comparison and envy, it’s easy to forget how much we have to be grateful for. Focusing on what you have–rather than what you lack–is a great way to spring out of a rut while flexing some creative muscle in the meantime.
Start listing simple things you take for granted and reflect on the good things in life, especially when you’re feeling stuck.
If all your social interactions involve the same people, places, and topics, it’s time to shake things up. Initiate conversations with unlikely people, go somewhere new, and discuss the subject matter beyond your scope.
Stepping outside your comfort zone will keep you humble and more interested in the world around you.
Do absolutely nothing (mindfulness meditation)
It’s an unlikely conclusion to a list of creative activities, but this step may be the most important of all! Sometimes a meditation session is needed to create space in your mind and separate yourself from stress.
Use a guided meditation online or just freestyle a session by turning off tech and tracking your breathing for ten minutes.
Time to let your creativity shine
The right type of creative expression can help you snap out of a rut fast and get back to living life in full color.
Keep this list bookmarked, so you always have a game plan when roadblocks arise. Who knows–you may even unlock a new hobby, career path, or an entire way of life.
Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.