Carrie sat staring out the window, mesmerized by the glittery sunlight reflecting off the water. Longing to be out on the water, she let herself sink deeper and deeper in to the recesses of her mind. “Carrie?” a voice jolted her out of her hypnosis. She tore her eyes away and looked up. “Phone for you,” her assistant said. “Take a message,” Carrie replied. She glanced around at the piles that awaiting her attention; she felt the impending doom reach up and tighten around her airways. Deadline week.
I wrote that little paragraph on a “mind break” in between posting for my social media clients and writing blurbs for our March Linked Magazine issue. Deadlines are stressful. Work in general can be stressful, but don’t have a panic attack like Carrie. Staying healthy is important—physically and mentally. Here at High Five Media, we believe that a healthy mind is a creative mind, and vice versa.
A study on creativity at Saybrook Universtiy showed that students engaged in a creative activities reported feeling “significantly happier.” The researchers wrote: “Engaging in creative pursuits allows people to explore their identities, form new relationships, cultivate competence and reflect critically on the world.”
So regardless of whether or not your job is inherently creative, it is important to allow space for your brain to exercise its creativity.
Maybe you aren’t a writer, singer or dancer. So what? The key is to be open-minded. Creativity can be applied to all aspects of life—from making your bed to sorting through data. Submersing yourself in a creative activity allows your mind to stop fixating on problems and think more broadly. It allows you to take a step back and see the big picture; it gives you the insight and clarity of mind that you'll need to think through other problems throughout the day. If that isn't enough, it makes you happier, too.
Essentially, being creative helps you grow in insight, self-reflection, and how you interact with others. It grows you as a person.
How can you be more creative in the office? Here are some tips and ideas for you:
1. Surround your workspace with fun images that make you happy.
There are several research studies out there about designing offices. But what happens when you’re stuck in a building that was already there? Well, at High Five, we believe in making your space special to you. We are constantly finding fun posters or memes to print out and put on our personalized bulletin boards. Not only do the images and pictures make us h-a-p-p-y, they help us get a deeper glimpse inside our co-workers’ minds. The way that the people around you use the space that is given to them—their humor, favorite quotes, the way they construct their to-do lists—can all be ways to let you see just how unique they are.
2. Keep a creative activity in your desk drawer. Pull it out and work on it from time to time.
I almost always have some sort of embroidery project that I keep in my backpack. When my brain gets in a fog and I need to physically step away from my computer, I pull it out and find a seat by the window to unwind my thoughts. Knitting, embroidery, calligraphy, water coloring, and writing are all great ways to relax your mind so that you can go back to work refreshed.
3. Brainstorm visually—let the ideas flow.
Sometimes brainstorming is taxing … but it doesn’t have to be! Brainstorming visually and creatively is a great way to get everyone involved because there are fewer hindrances in sharing ideas. Plus, there are fewer distractions and everyone can focus more on the project before them.
4. Have fun with your co-workers.
If we merely see creativity as “work”, we forget the beauty of it. Don’t forget to have fun with your co-workers. The more you can play off each other, the more great work you can create together. Laughter truly is the best medicine, and can keep everyone happy and working together effectively.
5. Be supportive, be encouraging, be rewarding
Part of creating and working together is supporting and encouraging one another to keep the creativity going! Sometimes the hardest part about keeping the creative juices flowing is having the courage to keep them flowing. By being supportive to those around you, you provide a safe environment for people to branch out and dream their big dreams.
Almost just as important is being supportive, encouraging, and rewarding to you. Stuck in a rut? Love yourself. Express yourself. By taking care of yourself, you can be the best that you can be for your workplace and those around you!
How are you being creative today? Tell us!