As college students, when we aren't studying for exams or doing assignments, we're either working, catching up on sleep or the like, rarely ever setting aside time to be creative. However, doing something that fosters our creative energy isn't only a fun break from our hectic college lives, but also positively benefits us as well. According to a New Zealand study, doing creative activities brings out positive emotions, which contributes to our mental well-being, making us feel like we're flourishing in life. Setting aside some time every day to engage in a creative activity that interests us could therefore greatly benefit our mental well-being and give us a more positive outlook on life.
In the study, creativity was defined broadly as "coming up with new ideas, expressing oneself in an original way or spending time engaged in artistic pursuits," leaving us with tons of wriggle room to find something creative that we personally enjoy. Being creative doesn't have to mean whipping out a paintbrush and a blank canvas. There are so many different ways to be creative, from doing art, to writing, to playing an instrument, to just learning something new. That's right—simply doing or learning something that we are interested in counts as being creative, even if it's only for a small amount of time each day. Small chunks of time eventually add up to a lot, and soon we'll be able to see just how much we have grown creatively.
Now without further ado, here are six ways you can find time to fuel your creative endeavors this semester!
1. Get on (not off) your phone.
It's amazing just how much time we spend on our phones, switching between the same four social media apps for hours on end. However, instead of scrolling through stories, you can now use your phone to fuel your creativity. There are plenty of apps out there that can help you with your creative calling. For example, if you're interested in learning how to code, download Encode or Udacity and try it out during your bus ride to school or while you're waiting for class to start. If you like drawing, but don't want to lug around a sketchbook, make your phone your digital sketchbook on-the-go by downloading a drawing app like Autodesk Sketchbook. We always have our phones in our hands, so why not use it creatively?
2. Sign up for a class.
If you'd like to be more creative, a good way to start is to find something that sparks your interest and sign up for a class to learn more about that topic. This can be an online course or a general education class that your college offers. By signing up for a class, you're holding yourself accountable to the goal of spending more time being creative. Registering for an online class is a great way to spend time being creative that you can cater to your college schedule. With online classes, there are numerous options on what you could learn, ranging from coding to business marketing to hand-lettering to photography.
3. Start a blog.
Blogging isn't only limited to those who enjoy writing. While a huge part of blogging is, in fact, writing, it also gives you a chance to explore and research various topics that you're interested in and to compile them into your own little corner on the internet. If you're interested in fashion, start a fashion blog and incorporate your designs and ideas into it. If you like writing, then by all means, use your blog as your creative writing outlet. (Or you can come write for Fresh U and have your content published for the world to see!) If you enjoy cooking as your creative outlet, then write down recipes and put pictures of your delicious masterpieces up on your blog. Furthermore, by blogging, your writing skills are bound to improve, which is a plus for when you have to write those 10-page papers for class!
4. Try journaling.
There's a hype currently going on with journaling and bullet journaling. If you enjoy writing, but don't want to put it on display with a blog, then journaling is the perfect alternative. With a journal, you can write down all your creative ideas, thoughts and doodles. If you want to be on the more artistic side of journaling, though, start a bullet journal! Bullet journaling not only lets you plan out your life in a creative and aesthetic way, but it also gives you the enjoyment of doodling in each weekly/monthly spread, habit tracker, expense tracker and more.
5. Make space.
Simply put, you need to make space to have time to do the things you care about. Learn to say no to invitations to things that you know won't serve you. Instead of going out all the time, try to invest that time in yourself by doing things that you enjoy and things that you know will benefit your mental well-being.
6. Make it a routine.
Carving out time to pursue your creative interests might seem easy at first, but the hard part is being consistent. Sometimes, you might find yourself with piled-up work and feel the need to set the creativity aside to complete college assignments or study for exams. However, remember that consistency is key. Make whatever creative activity that you choose into a daily routine, even if it's only for thirty minutes a day. Spending a small chunk of time doing something fun each day will benefit you mentally and emotionally, so make it a habit to set aside a daily slot of time solely for you to invest in yourself.
We're all capable of being creative in our own ways. The possibilities are endless and creativity can only affect our lives positively. So find something you love, attend to it every day and just enjoy yourself!
Lead Image Credit: Jonny Caspari via Unsplash