Staying Creative During COVID-19

Have you ever been so completely immersed in an activity that you lost all sense of time?

Have you ever been so completely immersed in an activity that you lost all sense of time? As a creative, I often find myself in that position. Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi defines this state of mind as “flow,” or “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.” While some activities I lose myself in happen for their own sake, I am also the creative director here at ANDERSON, where my 9-to-5 activities exist for the sake of our clients’ business and the agency as a whole. And like many agencies, we have adopted a hybrid remote working model. This flexibility has provided ample opportunity for us to recharge our creative minds and find ways back to our creative state of flow. Here are a few things that may help you channel your own flow.



The way we have come to consume media, in all forms, has drastically changed in the pandemic era. Some people lightly browse digital websites, getting caught in the clickbait of jumping from article to article…while others snuggle up with a hard copy of their favorite author. (And from time to time, all of us grab our devices and scroll until our thumbs fall off.) Surveys show that it isn’t just creative peoples’ relationship with reading material that is changing. If you need to jumpstart your relationship with reading, try using it to wind down, channel new interests, or brush up on a rusty skill. Personally, for me, it is a stress reliever, but reading can also be used in moments of minor distraction or for comfort. Here are a few recommended creative reads in case you’re not sure where to start. Not surprisingly, Mihály made the list twice.



Nothing allows for a better creative state of consciousness than an organized living and workspace. I find I am able to be the most creative when I am free of distractions, with a blank canvas. Additionally, there are efficiencies to be gained when everything has a dedicated space and doesn’t feel haphazardly tossed into or onto a deck, cubby, shelf, or otherwise unintentional space. Think intentionally about what you use most, what you need to get the job done or enjoy that space, and discard or donate the things collecting dust. Give purpose to your creative space, wherever that might be. Here are a few donation services that come door to door in a number of locations.



Flow into a skill building frenzy. DIY trends have become increasingly more popular as many have found themselves staring at the same 4 walls for longer than usual during this pandemic. Having just moved into a new home, there was plenty of DIY potential for making a house built in the 1950’s feel more “us.” However, the pandemic has affected this as well, in the form of a shortage in supplies and an increased demand for contractors. Consequently, I took matters into my own hands (literally) and shifted in another direction, jumping back into a passion from my college studio days: life drawing and painting. I gave it the good old “college try” as they say, and attempted palette-knife-style painting on a 36” x 48” canvas. While I may have felt a little like Allie from the Notebook, it was also a way to disconnect from the digital consumption I had been overloaded with and put a physical sense of ownership to my creative flow. If you are up to the challenge, I highly recommend this affordably gorgeous easel to help support your larger than life creative ambitions.



If tackling a massive canvas next to an open window with a breeze in the air and paint on your brush isn’t close enough to nature for your creative flow, fall is the perfect time to take a walk and clear your head. Disconnecting from technology for a few minutes is well worth the mental reboot. As an avid hiker, and biker myself, I find the endorphins that come from connecting with nature to be the best cure for any creative block. Getting lost inside the confines of a computer screen can be extremely restricting so get up, stretch, and put your body in motion to help physically launch you over any creative roadblocks. Nature does more than just hurdle those roadblocks, it can also lower your risk of depression, alleviate stress, and help you sleep better.



Breathing in Mother Nature’s fresh air while exercising can also increase the levels of oxygen in your brain, boosting serotonin levels that help improve your mood. If you’re anything like me, you need this positively altered state to get you off the couch, into some “athleisure,” and moving again. While my love-hate relationship with exercise was ingrained from day one, I’ve found that a dedicated time for this truly can change my entire approach to a day’s worth of to-dos. My personal trainer, Bruno, also holds my body and my wallet accountable for the things I’ve struggled to commit to in the past. But you don’t need your own Bruno to improve your creativity. There are endless home workouts that can be completed in 15 minutes or less that are enough to save you from a sedentary lifestyle and standstill creative thoughts.