My creativity is trapped in quarantine with the rest of the United States. I know being trapped inside is trying for many and without being dismissive of those who have fallen ill, it’s important to acknowledge the effects of quarantine for the entire population.
People like me who use creativity as an outlet from stress and uncertainty are struggling. I enjoy being creative to decompress from everyday stressors such as schoolwork and being social. When there’s less school work to be done and every social event is canceled, the pressure falls on my creativity because it isn’t an outlet, it’s the new nine to five.
However, I’m so glad I do have a creative mind in this time of social distancing. Just yesterday, a lovely old man drove by as I was walking my adorable dog. He slowed down to get a closer look, he smiled, waved and drove on. My brain lit up like the Fourth of July. I rushed to my sketch pad and began to draw this man I’d only briefly observed and compos a short story.
This made me wonder, “what do those who don’t have a creative pull do in these times?”
To keep busy I’ve been working on my brand, because whether or not you choose to believe it, whenever someone looks at your profile on social media, they are looking for your brand. These days we like to call it an “aesthetic.” I have been crafting, which contrary to popular belief, anyone can craft.
No one said the craft has to look good. Crafting is fun and a different way to give your brain exercise. Many have been reading or watching documentaries. Catch up on the movies that have been on your list forever, or even compile a list of movies you’ve never seen but want to watch.
During this time of social distancing, challenge yourself to read the book you always said you would but never did, build that thing on your Pinterest page you keep looking at, organize the dreaded room of your house or the junk drawer in your apartment. These don’t have to be groundbreaking acts of creativity, but they keep your brain stimulated.
There are five ways to keep your brain healthy while quarantined, according to neurologist Dr. Sommer Ebdlahad of the Virginia Spine Institute. You should try your best to maintain a schedule, get exercise, spark the creativity inside of you, find a new hobby that stimulates your brain (and no, mindless scrolling through the TikTok is not a hobby) and lastly be sure you’re staying social. Hold study sessions, call your mom, or chat with the friend you haven’t seen in forever.
Social distancing is essential for the health of millions and that’s why we’re being told to practice it. During this time if your brain is hurting and your mental health seems worse than normal, that’s normal and you’re not alone. Journal your experience for the generations to come who will question the existence of COVID-19. Check in with your friends who struggle with being alone.
Whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together and the only way to get through it is together. Let your mind and your creativity break free from quarantine, because even though you feel trapped inside, your mind doesn’t have to be.