Here is the latest article I wrote for ELTAS:
5 Things to do this summer to boost your creativity.
After a spring filled with the Covid-19 pandemic and worries and changes connected with it, we are definitely craving for a summer which is more like the summers we have known. Summer is the season to relax, take a break from our hectic lives, spend time outside, enjoy ourselves. In other words, it is the time of year to recharge our batteries. One thing teachers often run out of is their creative battery.
Creativity has been a buzz word for years across all industries and professions. A creative approach in classrooms (face-to-face or virtual) facilitates language learning so effective language trainers rely heavily on bringing a creative disposition to teaching. Unfortunately, creativity is a rather fickle mistress which tends not to show up when you need it most and to generate your next great idea when you least expect it.
Here are 5 things you can do to boost your creativity:
- Meditate for 40 days
In Scripture, the number 40 is mentioned 157 times, symbolising a period of testing or trial. In Kundalini Yoga, a particular mantra or set of exercises is practised for the same amount of time for 40 days straight to break any negative habits. Meditation itself has been the focus of various research studies worldwide. Several effects have been established, e.g. calming the mind, strengthening the bridge between left and right brain hemispheres, and connecting us with our subconscious mind, all factors which enhance creativity.
- Challenge yourself to try new things
The aspect of your personality that seems to drive creativity is called “openness to experience”. So this summer, give yourself the chance to experience something new. Pick a daily routine and change it, e.g. have a cup of green tea instead of coffee when you get up. Do 20 sit ups every morning instead of reading the newspaper, or add a new routine. You could go running 3 times a week, learn a new language or read a book (romance instead of a thriller?), go camping instead of staying at a hotel, try mountains instead of the beach. The choice is yours.
- Write morning pages
In her book “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity”, Julia Cameron introduces a brilliant tool to find your creativity: morning pages. They are three A4 pages of longhand writing, stream-of-consciousness, first thing in the morning. They are not meant be art or even writing, it is all about moving the hand across the page and writing down whatever comes to your mind. Nobody is allowed to read those pages and you should not read them yourself either for a few weeks. For more information refer to Julia Cameron: Basic Tools
- Take a digital detox
This may be difficult but it is still doable. We all use digital devices in many aspects of our daily lives. Despite all the advantages, various studies have shown that the use of internet, computer and smartphones has affected our attention spans, the ability to focus on important tasks and the ability to let our thoughts drift. The latter is key for our brains to relax, recharge and process information, and ultimately create associations and come up with new ideas. Daydreaming is the root of creativity.
Use this time of year to establish a new routine. Going offline for 2 weeks during your holiday on the beach to go back to your normal routine of being online 24/7 afterwards will not be very helpful. You may want to try something else instead. Switch off your phone and tablet at a certain hour in the evening, say 7pm. Do not switch it back on the minute you wake up in the morning. Wait until you have finished your morning pages or had your cup of tea/coffee. And switch it off again for 30-60 minutes during the day, maybe around lunch time. Try to extend the amount of time you leave your digital devices switched off.
- Reward Yourself
Do not forget to reward yourself in this process. In the true spirit of Julia Cameron’s “artist date”, once a week, you should do something which sounds like real fun to you. Check out Artists Dates for more information. Play boosts creativity, particularly playful play.
How do you charge your creative batteries? Share your tips with us in the comments section or let us know if you tried any of the above tips.
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 Richards, J. (2013) http://ijltr.urmia.ac.ir/article_20431_64df30b4b96c25e989b517df96132199.pdf
 Scripture Revealed (2015) http://www.scripturerevealed.com/bible-studies/numbers-in-scripture-the-number-40/
 EOC Institute https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/benefits-of-me...
 Smillie, L. / Antinori, A. (2017) https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/psychology-creative-people-see-world-differently-a7762596.html
Photo: Summer – Time to Recharge (Source: Pixabay)