The start of any new year can be exhausting.
As of January 1, everyone seems to be racing toward all these grandiose goals, intentions, projects — it’s a whirlwind to say the least. And if I’m being completely honest, it’s hangover-inducing at it’s worst.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the promise of new beginnings and genuinely believe in the power of a clean slate. But sometimes, it’s that clean slate staring back at me that makes the first couple of moves really hard. Like really hard. Suddenly questions like: “What if this is a bad idea?” “What if I fail at this?” “What if I really never follow through with this past January 12?” become difficult to silence and the second guessing makes it hard to make even the first moves. I end up feeling sluggish and at times, uninspired.
I find it’s the initial creative spark that’s hardest to get going and I wanted to share a few ways I’ve been jump starting the creative juices around here.
ONE // Tackle a project with a new collaborator or change roles with a current collaborator: At the end of last year, my good friend Lydia and I had chatted a lot about planning an editorial shoot together, where instead of her being behind the camera, she’d be with me in front of it. I can’t tell you how refreshing it felt just to switch up our roles ever so slightly — we put together moodboards, discussed outfits, color schemes and different pose ideas. And while Christina (the lovely photographer behind these photos) wasn’t necessarily new to me, I still hadn’t shot with her in a long time — the result was a beautiful morning of friends exploring different territories together.
Even if you don’t work in a creative/media driven environment, I still think this idea holds a lot of weight. Pair up with a different member from your team to produce a deck or report; if someone else typically leads certain team meetings, offer to switch with them; propose to your boss that you’ll handle organizing a team activity. The idea is to hopefully get you out of routines that you quite possibly didn’t even know you had and to also see others (and yourself) in a new light!
TWO // Do something outside your comfort zone: Yes, yes, I know it often gets said, you should do something that scares you every day. I’ll be the first to say, I don’t know if that’s feasible ALL the time. But comfort zones, on the other hand, can be pushed and it’s relatively painless. I often try to find a few things each week that I can set up that push my comfort zones. Last week, I recorded my very first podcast episode. And later this month, I’m speaking on a panel with a few other influencers. Don’t get hung up on finding the biggest and scariest things, just find enough bite-size challenges for yourself and take them in stride. Pat yourself on the back — heck, reward yourself — once you’ve completed them!
THREE // Take a media break: Granted, this one is difficult to live hard and fast by, but my modified media schedule follows these rules: 1. No mindless TV (sorry, I’m skipping the Bachelor for now) 2. Heavy on the documentaries and classic movies 3. No TV or phone for an hour before bed — only reading. Because of these 3 rules, I have to say, I’ve been going to bed with my brain much more satisfied, if that makes any sense.
FOUR // Work in a new environment at least once a week: This goes for freelancers and full-time employees alike. You can always find a new place to sit and work. These days, I’ve been switching between our new office space in TriBeCa and a few favorite coffee shops and hotel lobbies (both old favorites and new discoveries) and let me tell you, it’s made ALL the difference! Just having new sensory triggers around you can really awaken new ideas and thoughts.
When I worked in a more office environment, I made a point to switch to new spots around our office. Sometimes in the kitchen. Sometimes outside (weather permitting). Sometimes in a common area. Assuming you work on a laptop, it’s pretty easy to just “set up” your desk anywhere!
FIVE // Plan a “get lost” date: Time allowing, of course, this one is my favorite. Plan one full day or afternoon of your weekend spent just getting lost around your own city. Line up museums you’ve been meaning to visit, check out a new cafe you keep passing on your way to work but haven’t stopped at yet, go see a movie you’ve really been meaning to see by yourself, walk around a bookstore and sit to read for a few hours. Whatever it is, INDULGE and enjoy that time to yourself. Don’t worry about time or getting back on track with work you feel behind on. Keep asking yourself, “What do I feel like doing next?” And actually do it.
What about you guys? What do you do when you’re feeling creatively stumped?
OUTFIT DETAILS: ON KRYSTAL — Prabal Gurung dress // Sezane sweater // H&M skirt (similar style here) // Zara boots (similar style here) // ON LYDIA — Natalie Off Duty X INSPR dress (sold out, love this yellow maxi dress here) // Martin Grant coat // Leopard dress (similar style here)
Photos by Christina Emilie