Get out of that slump and create the idea that’ll get you places.
I’M IN LOVE WITH DA COCO.
And by “coco”, I actually mean cocoa. As in the cocoa I’m lacing my 4th grande coffee of the day with in an attempt to hopefully write the headline that’ll grab your attention (pause), tweak my portfolio, and get through work for the day.
For a lot of us twentysomethings in creative industries and the working world in general, it often falls on our shoulders to produce the innovative ideas within the workplace and advance things for everyone. Aside from being the ideas that get you promoted and noted as the creative workhorse to bet on when the chips are down, creativity is paramount to your success on the job.
And as you read this it’s probably mid week, you’re burnt out, on your 4th coffee of the day and batting heavy eyelids. Truthfully, the only idea that’s coming to you is how you’re four, five seconds from wildin’, and that it’s only a few more days ’til Friday.
As a writer, photographer and dancer, I know what it’s like to be in a creative slump. But there are two essential things you need to know about slumps:
- Like all things, it will pass.
- There are things you can do about it, right now.
Here are three things you can try within the workplace to get the wheels turning and boost your creative capacity within the office.
When In Doubt, Move
Famous Greek philosopher Socrates (not to be confused with Saukrates) often strolled through gardens to stimulate his mind and believed that a driving force behind philosophy and creativity was walking. Aside from dabbling in gymnastics, Socrates encouraged all of his students and disciples to do the same.
Turns out he was definitely onto something. Regular exercise has been associated with better memory, cognitive performance, and creative capacity. How? Vasodilation of blood vessels (fancy talk for better blood flow through vessel expansion), reducing cortisol (stress) levels and helping to boost key creative neurotransmitters like dopamine and GABA (dat happy chemical).
So how does this relate to you at the office?
Go for walks! Do bodyweight squats every hour, on the hour. Do wall sits. Do 10 pushups for everytime someone in the office mentions the words stapler, report or email.
Every single hour within the day, I attempt to either go for a walk, walk on my hands around the office, or do some form of exercise to stay physically and mentally sharp and keep writer’s block at bay. My biggest inspiration for this was da god himself, Casey Neistat (a renowned videographer who’s also pretty crazy about getting exercise at the office).
Even something as simple as taking a stroll outside can balance your thoughts and put you in a meditative, even spiritual state to bang out those graphics, articles and designs. Casual conversation around the water cooler with the cute girl from a few cubicles down never hurt creativity, either.
As a writer and especially as a dancer, I could never create half of what I have without music. Sounds, vibrations, and complex lyrics all lend quite well towards expanding my vocabulary and overall thought process. I mean, have you even heard To Pimp a Butterfly? Lyrics at it’s finest. In any case, put the headphones in and check out these tracks/albums for creative inspiration.Even ambient noises/instrumentals can help do the trick to get you thinking in the right mood. One of my favourite things to listen to on a foggy morning in Van is Rainy Mood, a 30 minute loop of rain recorded to make you think you’re indoors, or in a cafe on a rainy day. The ultimate combination? This, combined with the theme music from L.A. Noire. It’s the same idea of people listening to Bach and other classical music while studying, in order to better absorb information and process new concepts.
Interesting idea: While listening to music and processing patterns of musical composition, our minds show heightened activity in the same areas as when we go into REM, and dream. Basically, music is the key to livid and vivid imagination landscapes in living colour. Pause. (Sorry, I just watched the Dame Dash interview on the Breakfast Club and couldn’t help myself.)
Fueling The Fire
Because you are what you eat, right? Which hopefully isn’t jerk chicken as you’re reading this.
But seriously, that 4th sugar-laden coffee, decadent sweets, and salty snacks aren’t doing you any good, physically or mentally. From a biochemical perspective, foods high in sodium attract water to the bloodstream, increasing blood pressure and reducing circulation of key nutrients to your noggin’, as well as caffeine causing vasoconstriction in adrenergic receptors. Shout out to my honours nutrition degree for letting me actually remember a relevant thing or two about nutrition!
Those things might make you feel great now, but they’ll eff you up right around that 2PM sugar crash you’re about to/already had. And we all know how hard it is to think while in that type of mindstate! The takeaway? Fuel your creativity, physically, mentally and literally from what you put into your body.
The keys for nutrient delivery to the brain include plenty of water to encourage circulation, healthy fats (Flax! Omega-3’s!) that support nerve function, and dem leafy greens that are high in nitrogen dioxide precursors (things that help expand blood vessels…and your mind! Pause).
By applying these three concepts at the office, who knows? You might end up coming up with amazing ideas you wouldn’t have otherwise. I mean, you kinda have to. We’re counting on you, kid.
Featured image via Tumblr