Many aspects of our lives encourage us to think of ourselves only in terms of our productivity, what we’re able to offer to others, what we have that will make us money or prove ourselves worthy in the eyes of the world. Especially now, when so much of our life is online and many of us are more in charge of our own work schedules, it’s easy to feel like we’re never doing enough, never working as hard as we could, never reaching our maximum for productivity. But we were put on this earth for more than just work. Our worthiness isn’t measured in the number of hours we spend making money. We need to remind ourselves, often, that we are built for more than just being productive.
Every day you experience new things, sift through memories and process emotions. You are a unique mix of thoughts, feelings and desires and you deserve to honor those parts of yourself that make you different from anyone else on the planet. You owe it to yourself to hold a space for expression, to spend time with the sides of you that aren’t for consumption, to simply explore what it means to exist without any expectations or deadlines.
Is there an art or hobby that’s called to you? Something you loved as a child, or have always wanted to pursue as an adult? Make time for it. See how your deeper self reacts when you give it a nurturing space to be heard. Life always feels more meaningful with intentionality, and there’s no goal more worthy than one that honors your passions. Here are ways you can express yourself creatively, even if you have no experience. Creativity should be an aspect of everyone’s life, and I promise that you have creativity within you.
1. Creative writing, poetry or journaling
There are so many ways to express yourself when you sit down with pen and paper. You can create a new world and fill it with characters you love. You can write down memories from your childhood or your thoughts about the future, explore what they mean to you or how they’ve shaped the person you are today. If your thoughts feel scattered or difficult to express, even getting them down in loose prose or a short poem can help unlock new outlets for your thoughts and experiences.
Dance can be such a powerful, intuitive outlet for feelings you can’t even put into words. Whether you’re a trained dancer or totally new to it, dance has the ability to put physicality into your creation, using your whole body to express yourself. You can access this creativity simply by putting on your favorite playlist and finding a groove. Dancing has always been one of my personal favorite forms of expression, of course, and the rising popularity of TikTok dance challenges shows that people from all walks of life love to dance and that you don’t need classical training to enjoy dancing. As a bonus, dancing is also one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise and can keep you healthy and produce endorphins that make you happier.
If you’re new to dance, try playing a variety of tempos and styles of music, and just let your body move. If you’re shy, close your eyes and turn out the lights and just feel the rhythm. Remember, in creative movement you can do no wrong. Everything is perfect because it’s all about you.
3. Painting or Drawing
Artists leave a lot of perspective in the things they choose to capture and the way they choose to do it. Drawing or painting scenes from your everyday life, people or places that are important to you, self portraits or even small sketches of ideas that amuse you can help you explore what’s important to you.
Watercolors are a fun way to start learning to paint because they’re so forgiving— don’t be afraid to make mistakes! I like to start with a dot in the middle of the page and move outward from there. Often, I’ll play some music to help me find a flow. Sometimes I keep what I create and sometimes the end result doesn’t look like much. Either way, I’ve released some deeper emotions that were trapped and by looking at the art I created, I can sometimes better understand the feelings that I was experiencing under the surface.
If drawing and writing don’t appeal to you, collage is a great way to express yourself visually by rearranging media you already have. Combining words and pictures you find important or interesting in a new way can be a pressure-free, stress relieving way to create something new. The experience of playing with the way we see things can be rewarding and can even spark entirely new thoughts.
If you enjoy more direction or affirmation, you can use collage to create a vision board of clippings that call to you, putting some intention towards the energy you’d like to call into your life.
5. Learning a musical instrument
If you’ve always had a love for music, it can be so empowering to learn how to play a musical instrument. With a bit of practice you can start interacting with your favorite songs in a whole new way, or even start writing music of your own. If you’re a lifelong music lover like I am, sometimes there’s no greater joy than being able to recreate a song you’ve always loved all on your own.
If you don’t feel drawn to drawing or painting, photography is another way to show off your unique eye. Whether you want to invest in a digital camera, experiment with a disposable one, or just use your phone, the world is full of interesting people and places to document. You can start a new album or scrapbook of loved ones, favorite places or special moments, or create a photoblog online to share your work with others. Photography can be such a powerful tool for exploring the way the world looks through your eyes, and it’s one of the best ways to hold onto the memories that shape and define us.
Today, try to make some time to create something that’s just for you. Whether that looks like spending a whole weekend on a project that’s important to you or just finding five minutes to journal or draw before bed, investing in creativity will always be rewarding.