How to be Creative

Imogen Bond, our expert on all things creative, is ditching New Year’s resolutions in favour of something more inspiring…

I’m not a fan of January. The cold days and dark nights don’t help, but it’s New Year resolutions that really get me down. However hard I try (usually I vow to eat less, move more and drink two litres of water), they never seem to stick. By the 5th of January I’ve usually failed on all fronts: lie-ins, buckets of coffee and ALL the carbs always seems preferable when it’s chilly outside. Plus, whoever came up with the idea of dry January needs to have a firm word with themselves. 

If you love a New Year’s resolution, I take my hat off to you – you clearly have stronger grit and determination than me. 

This year, I’ve decided to try something different. Instead of making resolutions that feel restrictive, I’m getting creative and planning a few ideas to expand my horizons. Surely January will be much more bearable with a couple of mindful creative additions to life?

I’m thinking of them as New Year Inspirations – perhaps you’d like to join me!

Make a happy jar

I’ll start by spending a Sunday afternoon reflecting back on 2021 and remembering all the things that brought me joy. From tiny treats – meeting a friend for coffee or baking flapjacks – to bigger things  like dinner out at a fancy place or visiting a gallery. (Note to self: perhaps I find it hard to stick to New Year’s resolutions because most of my joy is food related?!) 

Each moment will be written on a piece of paper and put into a ‘Happy Jar’. I might also add in things I would love to do, or places I’d like to go to but haven’t yet got round to. Every time I spot a cool place on Instagram, it’s going in the jar instead of me just scrolling past.

Then, each time I’m feeling a little low over 2022, I can reach into the jar and pick out a happy inspiration. It may be that the memory alone is enough to jog a smile and cheer me up, or maybe it’ll be a reminder to call that friend, or treat myself to visiting a cool place again. Either way, I’m hoping the Happy Jar will provide me with some mood-boosting moments across the year. 

Create a compliment chain 

I don’t know about you but I’m very good at focusing on the things that aren’t so great, and I sometimes find it hard to notice the good stuff. One great tip for better mental health is to write down three things you’re grateful for at the end of each day – it really does help your brain to notice the good stuff. But in 2022, I’m taking this tip a step further… 

Whenever I’m given a compliment or something great happens, I’m going to write it on a strip of paper and each piece will then be made into a link on a paper chain. I’m hoping by the end of the year the chain might be quite long! I might even hang it around my mirror so that I see it every day. 

However, the chain of good stuff doesn’t stop there! Research from the University of Melbourne shows that giving a genuine compliment can be even more mood-boosting than receiving one. So each time I add a link to my paperchain, I will also give a compliment to someone else. I might text a friend to say that I love them, or let someone at work know that I appreciate them. 

Whatever happens in 2022, something good for me will mean a moment of joy for someone else too. I quite like the sound of a world where good stuff multiplies! 

Wishing all readers a happy, mindful and creative year.

Imogen Bond

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