I believe my favourite word of the 21st century is the word “creativity”. Not only because of how much it is overused, but also because it always appears to make every role, position or task more desirable.

Creative people are said to rule the world. They can make great things out of nothing. They take boring or mundane items, add some “zazz” and build systems that inspire solutions or solve problems.

What does it mean to be a creative? Creatives are people whose nature of work involves using imagination to create or improve something. While creatives possess some of the wildest minds, they also suffer a massive amount of “blocks” since they are always one imagination ahead of the rest of others.

In this article, we take an in-depth look into what can potentially trigger a creative block or cause you to be stuck and how to loosen things up and find creativity for your next big thing.
A block is an entity that restricts, slows down or ultimately prevents movement. In thinking, blocks put a large amount of pressure on our creative process leading to overwhelming stress, anxiety and moments where we cannot produce any productive juices or keep up with the demands of imagination or innovation.

A mental block may be caused by:
1. Routine activities or tasks: for creatives to function best, there must be a level of randomness to their lives that should not be limited to the workplace, but even with personal interactions and activities.

2. Burnout: This is caused by repeated and prolonged stress mixed with unrealistic expectations (deliverables) on constant demand.

3. External factors: This can range from unresolved personal disputes to pressure from family or friends, and even feelings of criticism and rejection.

The first step towards eliminating a mental block is accepting that we have one. To own up to the problem is to agree that something is not right and needs to be changed.

But what needs to be changed? A mindset? A routine? A location? Or perhaps we need more time for things to normalize? From someone who has experienced creative blocks in so many ways and for extended periods, I know that sitting out the storm is not always the best option.

Here are three (3) tactical ways I have helped myself get out of the mud and get my creative juices back on track:
1. Create as your alter ego: If you have never pondered on the mystery of an alter ego. Simply put, an alter ego is an alternative personality you develop based on the traits you naturally would never possess. Imagine about having a twin that was your exact opposite or close to your extreme opposite. What interests, beliefs, activities would they have daily? Now try to create with the eyes and mind of this alter ego and see how much you can get to know about them.

The goal of this is to see life through a different set of lens and experience new thought patterns, activities and possible beliefs. Would I capture animals different if I were a vegetarian? How would I approach a protest if I were an optimist or a stone-cold pessimist? Our imagination, as well as our creativity, is moulded by the truths we accept and our way of life. If we can alter our realities slightly, we may be able to find new ways to express ourselves and bring our imaginations to life.

2. Increase your vibrations: I first came across this concept back in mid-2020 on my journey to self-care and self-love. Humans are spiritual beings made up of vibrations and alternating energy levels.
At certain times in our lives, we have high energy levels and our vibrations increase. We are more vigorous and tend to perform much better than we usually would when our vibrations are low. How do you increase your vibrations? Dance, move around, take a hike or a long walk, engage in some form of physical activity to get your energy up and free up some space in your mind.

The art of increasing one’s vibrations not only helps to get us out of a creative block but also helps us identify peak periods when our energy levels are highest, and we are most creative.
Be patient with yourself to understand the vibrations that work for you, the times you perform best and how it affects your thought process.

3. Set yourself up for challenges: But not just any challenge, the most basic of tasks. Hyper productivity is often a common cause of creative blocks as we tend to want to go the extra mile when it comes to results. If you find yourself not being able to do such high performance, high maintenance tasks, set yourself up for easy-to-win challenges to help you relax and feel better by gaining little wins.
Try fixing up a simple meal you didn’t know how to cook before, making some type of drink, playing games, writing a poem or a song, setting up a scavenger hunt, learning calligraphy/ doodling, learning yoga or have a costume night.

There are no limits as you create the rules and the winning criteria. Remember that the goal of this activity is not really to win, but to engage in something so basic, you’re going to make headway and feel better,

On a final note, remember that we are all humans and creative blocks happen to every last one of us. Even for non-creatives, it is a frustrating and offsetting feeling. If you can, talk to someone about what you’re going through and see if they have any other helpful methods to free up your mind.

If you do great work, you deserve to feel great. Try out any or all of these tactics to get out of a creative block and see what works best for you.
Thank you for reading.