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  • Writer's pictureSophie de Albuquerque

Five ways to recover from lockdown: 4) make space to be creative

Under the sudden, intense pressures of lockdown, we've needed to focus on meeting our most basic needs. For parents and carers, we've had the needs of others to manage too. It's understandable if our creative lives have suffered in the process.

As we slowly emerge from lockdown, finding some time and space to be creative is a powerful way to revive ourselves, bring joy to our lives, reduce stress, and look after our mental health.

Here are some suggestions for finding your way back to creativity.

Feed your imagination

Taking in things that inspire you is a really good way to re-energise your creativity. Ask around for new book or music recommendations, visit an online gallery, or schedule in a film night.

Art Fund's museums online links you with lots of exhibitions, virtual tours, and films to explore. Eventbrite lists all the online arts events coming up, from comedy to poetry to street art.

Slow down & switch off

Taking a breather can give us space for intuition and wondering that we just can't access when we're busy, hurrying, or checking messages and consuming content.

So open a window and look out of it, go for a walk in nature, switch off your phone for a while, listen to some music -- do whatever you need to open up some space in your day.

Protect your time

Pick a time of day when you want to do your creative work, and put it in your diary, so it's sacred. It can be as little as a half-hour slot.

Prepare everything you need to make the most of that time, whether it's noise-cancelling headphones, a cup of coffee, or your devices disconnected.

Set judgement aside

Each time you begin, give yourself permission for what you write/sketch/play/create to be good, bad, or whatever it may be. What matters is that you're practising, and as you get into a routine, and keep working at it, it's very likely you'll improve, and find your groove.

There will be a time for getting feedback, adjusting and editing, but it's impossible to create freely when you're also judging harshly, so the best thing you can do is get out of your own way -- less thinking, more doing.

Connect with others

Finding other people to talk with about your creative work can really help with motivation and moral support. You might find it useful to have a weekly check-in with a fellow creative, where you set intentions and share your progress.

Write & Shine offers morning creative writing workshops, retreats, talks and an online library of writing courses. Open University offers free courses in the arts, and FutureLearn offers online arts courses from renowned universities and cultural institutions.

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