WASHINGTON – People across America are sheltering in place. The objective: to protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of the coronavirus. My advice: Whether you are quarantining with others or alone, use your imagination and be creative. That’s the best way to stay mentally and physically healthy. The act of creating helps us feel better.
Constructively Vent and Get Outside
I’ve got clients telling me if they have to endure one more video call, they’re going to scream!
But screaming (offline) might actually be a good idea. It’s good to get all your frustrations out in a constructive way. To ease the twin burdens of being tired and being frustrated, start out by finding your own space. Whether that space is inside or out, there is nothing wrong with having a good scream now and then.
Many people also find that simply being outside can help clear the head. That freer space can make it possible to become more creative.
What Inspires You?
Make a decision to be creative, and then use your imagination to determine your path. Embrace that decision, take action and make what you imagine a reality.
One of my clients told me he and his family love music. Each plays the instrument he or she prefers, or sings, trying to make those vocals truly “band-worthy.” While the family ensemble may never make it to a real stage, it can be fun to dream.
If you enjoy music – it’s a stress-reducer for many – there’s an online concert venue called “StageIt,” where artists perform live shows from their laptops. The shows are never recorded or archived. “StageIt” allows both the artist and fans to be part of the show. Check it out.
One tried and true way to use your imagination is by writing. Some people find inspiration in writing. Perhaps you do, too. It’s certainly one way to be creative. Whatever you choose to write doesn’t have to be long or be a masterpiece. Just get your laptop or a pen and notebook and start writing. Become your creative you. Write a story. The exercise itself can be amazing!
Another idea to keep you focused is to write out some personal goals. Put pen to paper and write down one short-term and one long-term goal. Visualize what you want to achieve and write out a few brief steps on how to make it happen.
Cooking and Baking
For all of us, cooking and baking can prove a great outlet. Whether you create new recipes or use old recipes, you can have fun, be creative, and enjoy your creative output.
Try Something New or Restart Something You Had Put Away
Remember that old model plane you were gluing together? Or that painting you started but never finished? What about the book club you’re still in even though you haven’t read the past two books?
Now is as good a time as any to use your imagination by developing a new hobby or rekindling a project that you started. Need something new? Many games, new and old, appear online today. (That old favorite, Scrabble, is just one.) You can access games that way and become as involved as you like.
Right now might be a very good time to set personal and professional goals you would like to reach. Then, get together with friends, family or colleagues and brainstorm some ideas together. Short-term or long-term, what would you really like to accomplish?
Keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be hard.
Yes, it is also very important to be physically fit. Prior to state and local shutdowns, you may have been a member of a gym or played team sports. But if your gym is still closed or if your team is out of action this season, remember one thing. You can simply do physical fitness routines like running and walking outside the house or the gym.
Something I did recently was to set up an in-house mini gym. Now I take on-line fitness classes. I’m taking everything from cardio and aerobics classes to barre and stretching.
In addition, I have also purchased a set of light weights, mats, a jump rope, and exercise bands. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Whew!
One word of caution: Don’t pressure yourself. You can’t force creativity. Check in with yourself and accept where you are. Let that be your starting point. After all, life is about cycles. Day gives way to night and the tide flows in and out.
Remember to be kind to yourself and do your very best.
To learn more about this and other topics, here is a link to my book:
Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Professional Certified Coach, Facilitator, Trainer & Author
Business, Life, Leadership & Career Coaching
Positive Self-Talk/Confidence Strategies, Resilience Techniques & Transition Work
Former ICF Metro DC President
Enhanced C-IQ Coach
Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the Stress Reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.