If you’re a creative, chances are you’ve hit that dreaded creative rut at some point. You don’t feel inspired, your work doesn’t excite you like it should, and you feel unmotivated. It’s quite the buzzkill, really.
Often times, when we become comfortable (okay, TOO comfortable) with our work, it starts to become dull to us and we find it difficult to come up with fresh, creative ideas. When this happens, we need to find ways to see things from different perspectives and challenge ourselves again—but knowing where to start can feel tricky when you’re unmotivated.
Almost a year ago, I wrote about how I get out of a creative block. Since then, I’ve discovered more great ways that have helped me get out of those uninspiring times.
Here’s those 10 ways that will help you break free from that creative rut.
1. Get inspired
When we get used to seeing the same thing everyday, things can get a little stagnate! Discover new artists and work that inspires you. Finding something new that sparks your interest is a great motivator.
Try searching “art direction” on Pinterest to discover new work, or take a visit to a local museum or exhibition. Take the time to reflect on the work that does excite you. Is it the colors? The textures? The lighting? Let those exciting elements inspire you and make it back to your own work.
2. Take a break
Sometimes we really just need a short break! Stopping while you’re trying to get something done may feel difficult, but giving your mind time to rest can really boost your creativity later.
Create a time to look forward to. Recently, I’ve been taking lots of tea breaks which always helps me to relax and come back with a clear mind. Take that time to focus on yourself, in the moment, and let your mind wander. Even a 10 minute break can do wonders for your creativity.
3. Find time for your own work
When everything feels too similar, we can become complacent and get bored with our own work. Experiment for yourself—try new angles, new props, new methods, new lighting. Go outside your comfort zone. This won’t be your best work since you’ll be treading foreign territory, but that’s okay! You may find something new that will spark excitement back into your work.
Challenging yourself will create new situations that you’ve never faced before, requiring—you guessed it—creativity to find the solution.
4. Take a nap
You can absolutely tire your mind out. Our body need rest, as does our mind. Getting plenty of sleep is needed to reset your mind. When you’re well rested, you’re more capable of finding solutions and handling problems (AKA that creative rut).
Take a nap if you can. If not, then try to get your sleeping schedule on track to make sure you get plenty of rest. Go to bed earlier that night and make it habit. That way, you’re always running on a full night’s sleep and ready to tackle whatever may come your way!
5. Try something new
Is cooking not your thing? Try it out! You just may surprise yourself. Experiencing new things forces our minds to think differently, which could spark some new ideas for you.
Find a new hobby that allows you to be creative in different ways. If you’re a designer, try painting something. If you’re a photographer, try your hand at some lettering! You never know, your new hobby could eventually make it into your current work!
6. Catch up with a friend
Spending lots of time inside your studio can get you into a dull pattern. Routines are great, but if you don’t switch things up every now and then, that could be a cause of your creative rut.
Meet up with a friend over coffee, or go to dinner and the movies. Engaging in conversation is a great way to get out of your own mind and start seeing things differently.
7. Connect with nature
Nature is a great reset. Staring at your computer and phone all day, inundated with information, can be overwhelming to your mind.
Try taking a walk at your local park or take a little road trip somewhere. Spend time away from your phone and let your mind relax. Spending time disconnected from the rest of the world is also great for helping to reset your sleep rhythm!
8. Have a spa night
Ever notice that sometimes your best ideas come to you when you’re in the shower? That shouldn’t be surprising—showers and baths are extremely relaxing. When you feel at ease, your mind is relaxed, and thus, more open to creative ideas.
Get yourself a nice face mask, bath bombs, have some tea, and relax in the tub. You’ll come out feeling 100% better! Try making it a weekly habit, that way you’ll always have that precious reset for the week.
9. Surround yourself with people who motivate you
We often mimic the behavior of the people we surround ourselves with. There’s nothing more detrimental to your creativity than those who zap it out of you. Luckily, if you surround yourself with people who are positive and motivated, that energy is also contagious.
If there’s people in your life that don’t make you feel like your best, take a step away from them and make room for those who do. The people we choose in our life should be enriching, not the opposite.
10. Take a trip
It doesn’t have to be a huge trip overseas; even just a 30 minute drive away can bring about places and experiences you’ve never witnessed before. Some fun activities could be seeing a play, visiting an interesting place you’ve never been to before, or experiencing the city (or visiting the country if you live in the city).
Inspiration comes when we least expect it. Taking time to discover something new helps our minds to see things differently and can often spark motivation.
It’s perfectly normal to hit a creative rut. It doesn’t matter what creative field you may be in—it happens to the best of us. The next time you find yourself in a creative rut, remember that it’s a sign that you need to switch things up.
Find new ways to challenge yourself by taking up a new hobby or discovering new artists. Let your mind relax with a trip somewhere, or a spa night. Once you start taking care of your mind, you’ll be surprised just how quickly that creativity will return to you.
What are some of your favorite tips for getting out of a creative rut? I’d love to know in the comments below!