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My Top Four Tips to Staying Creative During the Coronavirus Quarantine

5 Min Read
Lifestyle

The spread of the current pandemic and the resultant quarantine is affecting all of us at the moment, and for each person its effects are unique. Something I know I've been struggling with in the midst of this change is holding onto my creativity, and somehow I don't think I'm alone in that fact. So I thought I'd share my top four ways to stay creative no matter the circumstances.

1. Let yourself not be creative

I know this might sound "backward" or counterproductive, but if you're really struggling with staying creative, then I suggest trying not to be creative. To me, forced creativity doesn't really count as creativity anyhow, especially if you're not enjoying it. The amount of creative-less time may vary per person before you're feeling naturally creative again, so just let yourself feel out what's right for you. If you're stressed or struggling, and the idea of writing, drawing, or creating in any way sounds daunting, don't push it.

It's my opinion that if you love creating — and deep down you are a creative person — then that love will present itself again, especially after some time away from it. That's the stage I've reached. At first, I didn't feel like doing much of anything, much less being creative. And for a while, I beat myself up over it. It was only when I allowed myself to take a true break for a second did my motivation start to seep back in again. Being without it for long enough made me crave creating again, but this time it felt genuine — and I truly enjoyed myself.

2. Let yourself do other things as well; procrastination doesn't always have to be the bad guy

This tip goes hand in hand with the first, and I know it may seem like I'm telling you to do what you've already been doing. But right now everything is completely different; it's a sensitive and unique time and so it requires a unique approach. And embracing the act of "doing nothing" may be the key. The point of putting these two tips at the top is to let you know that it's okay to not feel like doing anything productive or creative or anything you're "supposed to" be or do in normal times.

It's okay if you need to give yourself some time to adjust — some time to mentally acclimate or emotionally recover. Go ahead and procrastinate. If I don't feel like doing something I "should" be doing, I usually do feel like doing something else. For me, during this quarantine, that has been reading, playing games, or cleaning. Part of me wanted to fight the desire to do those things in order to complete a more "important" task, like songwriting or utilizing my creative side. But I've learned through all of this that, after letting myself sit down and read through a handful of books, I felt better about diving into the creativity that I had been loathing at the beginning of this situation. I've found that, in moderation, procrastination can actually help you during this challenging time we're all experiencing. I think it's important to give your mind, body, and soul what it wants rather than what you or others think it needs or "should be doing.

3. Remind yourself why you're creative in the first place — rekindle your passion

Something I've been spending a decent amount of time on is reminding myself why I'm even doing the creative things that I love to do. Whether it's looking back at old photos or videos, watching others I look up to, or just talking with mutual friends who have the same passion as I do. Going back and connecting with these things or people, reminded me of how it felt to create, which made me want to feel that feeling again. It can be a slow process, but it's little things like this that can start to set aflame that creative fire inside that's just been in the shadows for a little while. It can remind you of the goals you had, what you wanted to do, and how much you've already done to achieve them — which for me started to bring back that stronger desire to actively be creative again

4. Start with a project that may not be as "important," but one you've always felt like doing, and then take it slow

I know that some things just need to be done. But if you can help it, allow yourself to create something else, even if that something is for your eyes and ears only and will never see the light of day. After all, part of creating is enjoying the process, isn't it? The more you enjoy yourself, the more likely you are to continue and eventually get to those tasks that hold more importance or need to be created, and the less likely you are to not hate or regret every second of it. Create something weird, something dorky — who cares, as long as it's creative and you enjoy it. With this tip, you're courting creativity itself — tempting yourself to fall back in love with the creative process. And what you create in order to achieve this doesn't really matter.

I know this may not be some quick, four-step trick to jump immediately back into the creative realm again. But to be honest, I'm not sure if that's even possible or healthy right now. It's a scary and unusual time, and you're allowed to be scared; you're allowed to sit and watch Disney movies for twelve hours. That's okay. Maintaining your mental health should be the top priority. And if that means procrastinating like hell for the time being, then, by all means, allow yourself to. A project can wait. Whereas your well-being and mental health really cannot.

3 Min Read
Lifestyle

Tempted To Dial Your Ex: 5 Ways To Know Whether Or Not You Should Contact An Old Flame

Thinking of ringing up your ex during these uncertain times? Maybe you want an excuse to contact your ex, or maybe you genuinely feel the need to connect with someone on an emotional level. As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I was surprised at the start of the coronavirus quarantine when friends were telling me that they were contacting their exes! But as social distancing has grown to be more than a short-term situation, we must avoid seeking short-term solutions—and resist the urge to dial an ex.

It stands to reason that you would contact an ex for support. After all, who knows you and your fears better than an ex? This all translates into someone who you think can provide comfort and support. As a matchmaker, I already know that people can spark and ignite relationships virtually that can lead to offline love, but lonely singles didn't necessarily believe this or understand this initially, which drives them straight back to a familiar ex. You only need to tune into Love Is Blind to test this theory or look to Dina Lohan and her virtual boyfriend.

At the start of lockdown, singles were already feeling lonely. There were studies that said as much as 3 out of 4 people were lonely, and that was before lockdown. Singles were worried that dating someone was going to be off limits for a very long time. Now when you factor in a widespread pandemic and the psychological impact that hits when you have to be in isolation and can't see anyone but your takeout delivery person, we end up understanding this urge to contact an ex.

So, what should you do if you are tempted to ring up an old flame? How do you know if it's the wrong thing or the right thing to do in a time like this? Check out a few of my points before deciding on picking up that phone to text, much less call an ex.

Before You Dial The Ex...

First, you need to phone a friend! It's the person that got you through this breakup to begin with. Let them remind you of the good, the bad and the ugly before taking this first step and risk getting sucked back in.

What was the reason for your breakup? As I mentioned before, you could get sucked back in… but that might not be a bad thing. It depends; when you phoned that friend to remind you, did she remind you of good or bad things during the breakup? It's possible that you both just had to take jobs in different cities, and the breakup wasn't due to a problem in the relationship. Have these problems resolved if there were issues?

You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you.

Depending on the reason for the breakup, set your boundaries for how much contact beforehand. If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

If you know you shouldn't be contacting this ex but feel lonely, set up a support system ahead of time. Set up activities or things to fall back on to resist the urge. Maybe you phone a different friend, join a virtual happy hour for singles, or binge watch Netflix. Anything else is acceptable, but don't phone that ex.

Write down your reasons for wanting to contact the ex. Ask yourself if this is worth the pain. Are you flea-bagging again, or is there a friendship to be had, which will provide you with genuine comfort? If it's the latter, it's okay to go there. If it's an excuse to go back together and make contact, don't.

Decide how far you are willing to take the relationship this time, without it being a rinse and repeat. If you broke up for reasons beyond your control, it's okay. If your ex was a serial cheater, phone a friend instead.

If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

As life returns to a more normal state and you adjust to the new normal, we will slowly begin to notice more balance in our lives. You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you. Some do's and don'ts for this time would be:

  • Do: exercise ⁠— taking care of you is important during this time. It's self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: shower, brush your teeth, and get out of your sweats.
  • Don't: be a couch potato.
  • Don't: drink or eat excessively during this time. Again, remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: think positive thoughts everyday and write down the 3 things you are grateful for. Look at the impact of John Krasinksi's SGN. It's uplifting and when you feel good, you won't want to slide backwards.
  • Don't: contact a toxic ex. It's a backward move in a moment of uncertainty that could have a long term impact. Why continue flea bagging yourself?