I’ve been caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of too much schoolwork and all the home chores I wanted to catch up with in the first weeks of the summer holiday – achieving not very much in either sphere. No surprises there! When you’ve been working from home since late March, the lines become somewhat blurred. It’s hard to know where to focus the limited energy you have left after spending hours on Zoom. A few days away beside the sea in Pembrokeshire, walking, reading and spending time with those I love did me the world of good. Yes, the very ones I’ve been holed up at home with for three months.
I never fail to return from a holiday with some ideas for lessons, a determination to maintain a healthy work-life balance and renewed vigour with which to tackle the pile of work which is waiting for me. Usually I have an idea for a novel too – but that’ll have to wait until I’m retired. A break allowed me to recalibrate my relationship with social media and curate my Twitter feed – an excellent idea on a regular basis. It turns out this was the start of a general declutter which there simply hadn’t been time for during the height of lockdown remote teaching. I’m already feeling more energised and creative. I hope my students are taking time out and will be able to return to school refreshed and determined to be equally creative in their approach to their studies when they return to school.
Here are my top tips.
- Establish some rituals. If you get up at the same time every day, check your emails or instagram feed at certain times, exercise on the same evenings every week, this will become second nature and you’ll free up time to be creative.
- Have fun, connect with others, especially those who have different ideas to you. Be open-minded and kind.
- When thinking about solutions to problems believe that there are no bad ideas. Don’t self-filter. Jot everything down as viable. Then think through the options.
- Watch films and read books – especially the read books bit.
- Exercise and do it alone, without music and your phone at least some of the time. Silence and exercise = creative energy.
- Practice devotion not discipline. The former has more of a positive vibe.
- Learn to love lists. Unloading your cluttered mind onto paper is another beneficial way to shift a creative blockage.
- Know when your peak work moments are. These are the times when you are at you most creative. Leave the mundane jobs for when you’re more tired.
- Create something every day. Practice makes perfect. Sowing a seed which will become a beautiful plant, making the best scrambled eggs on toast you can, knitting -yes, I know. Me recommending knitting – anything you’ve made is beneficial to your mental health and your creative confidence. If you can do something small then the next step is much easier.
- Do it now. This is about having the confidence and an open-minded approach to allow you to take risks, have a go, avoid the shackles of perfectionism.
I’m following my own advice.