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Neutralising Pressure – Empowered Creativity

71% of you said you had more creativity during lockdown.

So what’s making us feel more creative and why? Here I use my experience as a senior creative designer as well as psychology work within coaching to reveal ways to empower creativity.


At the beginning of February I had a week, amidst home-schooling to focus 3-4 hours a day on my work. Excited to research and give clarity to creativity I decided to focus and document this week. This is a series of blog posts investigating the creative journey so more of us can approach creativity with ease and action. I began with this...

A poll on Instagram stories showed 71% of you had more creativity during lockdown. So for the 29% and to access more of our creative potential I asked:

1. What’s making you feel more creative?

Life is too short 35% Creativity is my escape 65%

Escapism has been challenged this year with our usual go tos not being accessible or simply being not as fun as they were. There is negative escapism that involves things that don't give us energy but numb and sometimes drain us. These can highly influence our levels of tiredness. Examples are phone scrolling, some TV programs etc.

Positive escapism creates a sense of ease because what we are doing nurtures our energy and fills our cups. Examples can be where you find inspiration, an enriching conversation, making something etc. Creativity is known to create positive affects on our wellbeing. The poll implies it’s being used as a method to fill you with energy.

Quickly lets look as ‘life is too short’ – in many conversations I’ve had ‘what we want to create’ is often a wish but not prioritised. With more time at home, to reflect on self and our lives, more people are looking for change towards a happier lifestyle, be it in career, location etc. We know if we want change we need to know what else is possible, we begin to imagine. This could well be the reason we are jumping into a practise that promotes wellbeing and imagination.. creativity.

2. What makes your feel more creative?

Less pressure – 83% Have more energy – 17%

Pressure is one of the biggest un-serving hurdles that gets in our way.

For me it looks like leaving creativity till the evening.

This could look like when I worked at McQ Alexander McQueen. The peacefulness of the office in the evening aided concentration, or so I thought. A more sustainable approach and one I was speaking to a coaching client about recently was the need for boundaries on time in the day to allow her to concentrate.

Or perhaps being productive in the evenings was because we can lower our expectation of productivity in the evening when compared with other evening pursuits. Covincidently it can be linked to evidence of feeling more creative when we are relaxed and entering our alpha state. As we relax our mind naturally imagines more as we near our subconscious and dreamlike state.

How can we neutralise pressure?

1. See Creativity's Value to You.

Pressure often comes from a guilt on what we ‘should’ be doing. The creative task must be given a reason why it would create value. When we have more free time its obvious we would feel less pressure to be creative, there isn’t much else we ‘should’ be doing. It almost feels more of us have resorted to creativity because it serves us rather than for the outcome. Do we value creative time more than we used to? Now we’ve had to find wellbeing tools that work for us, could it be that pursuing more of our own creativity is the answer?This brings to mind the fact that when we practise creativity we build our resilience muscle too. How come? By practising patience with self, acceptance of mistakes and possibilities within the imagination.

2. Minimise its demand on you.

Seeing it as a time demanding, monster of a task? The best way to kick-start is practising it (in any form) everyday for a short amount of time. Try these 10 ideas to jumpstart your practise (coming soon). Choose something you can leave out or can be accessed quickly, it could be journalling, sketching or dancing, its so individual. Know it doesn’t need a long period of time. Add fuel to the fire for 2 reasons. 1 - you'd build value if this time which makes way for 2 - more chance of carving out that chunk of time, whilst feeling excited and ready!

3. See the beauty of its journey.

Notoriously there is a pressure to create something ‘good’ I can even see this developing in my daughter as she becomes more critical of herself. However have we done more of it recently because it is our ‘playtime/meditation/escape’ rather than what it turns out looking like? In practise it takes more work to show what good work we have. So the more we can play and less time expecting the final piece to fall in our laps, the more we can learn and the greater the piece. Take a look at the Free E-Book for more on Innate Beauty for Joy and Ease.

*By practise here I mean actually creating but this can also mean thinking and visualising what could be.

* Other times your initial spark can get there in a flash – I believe this happens more when we embrace a relaxed, courageous approach and build the muscle of imagination.

Creativity on Demand

In the creative industries we are often called on quickly to find a solution. 3 key things I have to offer here:

a) Find the meaning for you, the beauty behind a quest. It could be the smallest task mundane job, but even this can thrive from the most engaged, present you. It doesn't even have to take that long - just allow yourself to give to it. This is what inspiration does for us, it makes us see the beauty of its possibilities. So whether it is inspiration or better yet, start with 'what could it be' when asking your imagination.

b) Have perspective. If the task given or in hand seems non sensical to be doing, have that conversation with who it involves, better yet, do what does matter and ask for forgiveness later. It can be a fine line between a + b.

c) Crucially you must prioritise your energy. I have shown above that creative tasks are nourishing to our wellbeing. Its circular, the more creative we are the more nourished, the more nourished the more creative. It is imperative that a creative has a consistent 'top up time'. In the Artist Way Julia calls this the Artist's Date. Setting an hour or 3 aside each week to get lost in your world of inspiration, whether thats a museum, a book, a podcast, a mediation. Somewhere which evokes your joy, ups your inner energy and where you feel the true beauty, the true expanse of possibilities a creative mind can have. This is also a great place to start when we don't know where to.

Creativity can be our way back to our full selves, present + in joy.

Here we have began seeing the power of when we clear the way for curiosity to flow. This is the biggest tool to set creativity free. When we can follow curiosity our imaginations ignite. In this article I hope you find tools to allow and give permission to either begin or better - get lost in your pursuits.

In curiosity we find the beauty of where we want to go.

If you'd like to delve into your mindset behind creativity schedule a call with me here. I work with clients to empower their creativity, often who seek a change, more strength or a way to do things differently.

Photography of my work and inspiration images.

Stats from Instagram Stories poll asked Feb 2020