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Creativity vs. Stress


Stress is almost a given in any professional setting. We talk often about work-life balance, stress management, and professional burnout. Still we find ourselves saying, “well, that’s just part of life,” “I operate better under stress,” and other excuses, allowing ourselves to be pushed to the edge. This can have a lot of consequences, but one that doesn’t get enough discussion is the stifling of our creativity.

For some, creativity is the lifeblood of their career: writers, artists, designers, and many PR- focused jobs. If your goal is to constantly be creating new content and new ideas, your creativity is the most valuable asset you possess. Still there are others who might say they aren’t in a creative field and their job doesn’t require brainstorming and new ideas. Even if your field of work isn’t blatantly labeled as “creative,” your job requires you to get creative every single day. Whether it’s troubleshooting an issue with a customer or problem solving amongst a group of coworkers, you have to use your creativity at some point every day.

You can find plenty of advice on stress management from previous blog posts. However, in moments when your stress level is already at its peak, how do you tap into your creativity? Here are a few tips:

LET IT MARINATE

When you’re in panic mode, trying to come up with something creative under pressure, you’re not utilizing the part of your brain that comes up with creative ideas. Instead of spinning your wheels trying to force an idea, brainstorm and then walk away. Even if that’s just a quick five minute break away from your desk, distance can often provide clarity.

FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE

Our output is often a reflection of our workspace. That’s not always something you can control, but take advantage of this at whatever level you’re allowed. Some might have the freedom to work from a beautiful office patio on sunny spring day. For some, it may just mean a few pictures of people or things that make you happy around your desk.

BRAINSTORM

Another one of your biggest assets is the people around you. Sometimes they can even serve more as a sounding board than someone with whom to actively brainstorm. It often helps just to say things out loud, and occasionally a coworker or friend will say something that sparks an idea you had never considered.

The ultimate goal is, of course, to manage our stress and workload seamlessly, and we certainly hope you do! However, just in case you find yourself overwhelmed by work and life and your creativity smothered, use these tips to get you through a rough spot.