We’ve had so many challenges, disappointments and losses during COVID so there have to be some upsides. One upside is the increase in creativity, for instance. If you’re someone who is creative, or took to your creative side during COVID, you’ll know the benefits of creativity for wellbeing. Importantly, creativity plays a vital role in helping people manage their way through times of crisis.
This is a paradox, given that the creative industries were hardest hit during COVID-19 and there was nowhere to go for theatre, live music, dance and galleries . If you worked in a creative industry, you most likely lost your job or struggled to find an outlet for your creative work. People who kept their jobs have either enjoyed working from home or felt isolated and more pressure to work longer hours. More people have experienced stress, anxiety and depression. In these times it is even more important to make space for creativity and some down-time. What has your COVID experience been?
People engaged with creative activities very early on in COVID
It may surprise you to know that people engaged with creative activities very early on in COVID. As a result, you would have seen people come together in cultural and creative activities. For instance, in virtual choirs and balcony soirees. Online dance and yoga classes. Cooking, crafting and gardening were all opportunities for creative activities at home.
Research was conducted on Australians’ creative and cultural engagement and creativity during the COVID-19 lockdown (Australia Council for the Arts, April 2020). 1,006 adults over the age of 18 were surveyed across Australia in April. More than a quarter said their creativity had increased since the lockdown. For instance, forty-three percent of adults creatively participated in the arts, typically art and craft activities, music and creative writing. Typically, online arts access provided a third of people a creative pursuit. For example, accessing virtual art collections and museums. Interestingly, the most popular activities were watching films and television, accessing arts and cultural venues online, listening to radio and podcasts, listening to music and reading.
The main reasons people gave for engaging with the arts and creativity were for entertainment and to have fun. Just over half of people surveyed said it helped to pass the time. Further, almost half said they engaged in this area to improve their wellbeing.
How have you looked after your wellbeing during COVID?
One of my creative COVID projects was to re-design my website and start teaching music online. I hadn’t had the time to focus on these fun projects previously. It was also important to my personal wellbeing to maintain an exercise program. With gyms closed and online classes not quite meeting my needs, I took to my bike and cycled my way through COVID.
On one of my daily rides, I came across Wondermama putting out her wheelie bin. I was struck by the simplicity and glamour of the situation. It made me laugh and I got off my bike to have a chat. It is important to find fun in ordinary, everyday moments and to give and share joy with others.
Why is creativity so important for personal wellbeing?
Creativity is defined as “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness”. Importantly, creativity is one of the top three skills that people need in order to thrive in 2020 (World Economic Forum report in Performing Arts Connections (PAC) Australia). Most importantly, the benefits of creativity for wellness come from engagement in creativity, rather than expertise in the area.
Creativity has immense healing power. For instance, it increases your sense of wellbeing. It improves your mood. It also helps you to manage stress, anxiety and depression. Creativity helps you to face challenges and explore solutions. Moreover, creative activities can take you to another realm where you experience joy, hope and connection.
Here are the main benefits of creativity for wellness:
- Creativity reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
- Creative activities have a calming effect on the mind and body.
- Creative activities help you to focus and be in a state of flow in the moment.
- See different perspectives and solutions to problems instead of feeling stuck.
- Develops confidence when you immerse yourself in a creative activity or learn a new skill.
- Creativity develops resilience and the ability to manage pain.
Coaching to enhance your creativity for wellbeing
If you’ve enjoyed being more creative during COVID-19, you may want to continue the practice for your everyday wellbeing.
Tips to enhance your creativity for wellbeing:
- Prioritise time for yourself.
- Put aside some time for creative activities on a regular basis.
- Introduce a new activity or learn a new skill, or re-acquaint yourself with one from the past.
- Think of ways to bring creativity and fun to everyday activities (dressing up to put out the wheelie bin!)
- Look after your physical health.
- Spend some time in nature most days.
- Release yourself of any expectations to ‘create’; just immerse yourself in what you’re doing and enjoy it.
I hope you’re finding some pleasure in these times and making some space for your creativity to thrive. If you’d like some help with your creativity for wellbeing, please contact me. I offer a professional life coaching and counselling service for individuals and couples. If you want to engage in one of my services, please explore my website further. Stay safe, stay well and creative!
Australia Council for the Arts. Arts Engagement during the COVID-19 Pandemic (survey April 17-20, 2020)
Performing Arts Connections (PAC) Australia. Future Job Report published by Word Economic Form (June 2020).
The Fabulous Wonder Mama