Friday – sweet, beautiful Friday. As much as I love my work, I also love taking days off to charge my creative mind and prepare for the upcoming week. Proper relaxation is the key to staying creative and inspired.
Even if you have to work this weekend, remember to take some time for yourself. Any little moment will do. Do things that make you happy and for that precious moment, forget about your responsibilities. They will still be there when you’re relaxed and more ready to tackle them.
I came up with some weekend activities to help you charge your creative mind. Treat them as suggestions, but please: don’t set yourself up with a massive to-do list for this weekend. Let your mind rest and find yourself more creative as the result. (And yes, that includes the things on this list. Don’t treat it as a set of tasks to be accomplished.)
Here are 10 delightful weekend activities to charge your creative mind.
1. Take a walk early in the morning.
Watching the sun rise is one of the most inspirational moments of the day for me. I love being awake before everyone else, because it fills me with a sense of possibility.
Outside the air is fresh, practically overflowing with inspiration. Listen to the birds sing and notice the relative silence before the hustle and bustle begins.
If you want, take some pictures, doodle, or scribble in your notebook. Find a place you’ve never sat in before and observe the world from there.
2. Listen to classical music.
Classical music fills me with nostalgia. Growing up, I’d hear a lot of classical music, so it instantly makes me smile. Listening to familiar melodies makes me feel at home, and maybe it can do the same for you.
I love this playlist of classical piano pieces. Open your window, find a comfortable position, breathe in the fresh air and let your mind wander.
Have a notebook handy for fleeting thoughts you might want to record. Listening to classical music will expose your creative mind to a different form of storytelling. So you will probably notice that certain pieces will bring forward mental images. Write them down if you want.
3. Watch some YouTube.
Whether you’re looking for inspirational lifestyle advice or just a good hearty laugh, YouTube is the place. I will never stop recommending the Holy Trinity (that is Hannah Hart, Grace Helbig, and Mamrie Hart), because I love them so, but I’ve recently discovered some other vloggers whose videos I’ve found really inspirational.
One of my newest favourites is Lavendaire. Aileen’s videos are really encouraging and inspirational. I just love listening to people talking about their experiences and sharing their advice. I really connect with Aileen’s vision of people being the artists of life.
4. Read a book.
As a writer, nothing will spark your creativity like reading. Pick an old favourite or read a book you know nothing about.
The beautiful thing about reading is that anything you read has potential to inspire you. If you read a bad book, your brain will probably start thinking about how to make it better. If you read a good book, the skill of the author will inspire you.
So, reading is basically a win-win situation. Just don’t set yourself expectations like “I’m going to finish this book today” or “I want to make my TBR pile lower”, because that way, you’re just creating a chore. This weekend, I’m telling you to forget chores.
5. Try free writing.
After a busy week, I’ll have so much clutter in my brain it’s amazing I can produce a sensible thought. Free writing is a useful tool to dump everything from your brain onto paper.
We all know decluttering our space is important, but decluttering your mind is just as crucial to staying a happy and healthy artist. Set yourself a time limit (anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes), or a page limit (like three pages), and then write without pausing for anything.
Free writing is a wonderful tool, because you can write about anything. You could
- write about what stresses you out
- write about what makes you happy
- write about what you look forward to
- write about events in your past
- reflect on your life
- improvise scenes
- create and get to know new characters
Basically, the most important thing is to keep writing, no matter what. Start from the first thought and just build up from there. Jump between thoughts if you find your mind skipping from one subject to the next.
Sometimes I’ll start writing about a noise that’s bugging me and end up describing my relationship with a childhood friend. There’s no knowing where free writing will take you.
All I know is I feel a lot lighter afterwards.
6. Play 2048.
Okay, I know that 2048 is old news by now. But I love that game. I’ve only finished it once, but that’s not the point. I find myself thinking freely when I play it.
Because there is no time constraint, the game doesn’t really stress you out. Watching the tiles merge is surprisingly relaxing, and it gives you time to think about other things.
Sometimes I’ll catch myself after an hour of just playing the game over and over again without really thinking about it. Instead, I will have thought about a problem I’ve had or brainstormed plot twists for my WIP.
7. Write down your worries and what you can do.
Even the most uneventful of weekends will feel stressful if you’re worried about things. Worrying is not a lucrative way to spend your time, but I know that everyone does it. Sometimes I’ll spend days worrying about all my problems instead of doing something about them.
And you don’t necessarily have to do something right now, if you don’t want to. But if you find yourself staring at the wall, worrying about what’s to come, I suggest you talk yourself out of worry.
How? Write down each one of your worries. Then, as if you were talking to a dear friend, tell yourself why you shouldn’t worry. If possible, make these things actionable. For example:
I’m going to run out of money. → I can apply for jobs. I can declutter and sell things I no longer need.
I’m never going to finish my novel. → I can make a schedule and follow through with it. I can write one paragraph every day.
I’m afraid people don’t like me. → I can be kind towards people. If they don’t like me after that, they’re projecting their own negative thoughts on me and it actually has nothing to do with how I am.
And so on. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend.
8. Take a nap.
Put some comfy clothes on and wrap yourself in your softest blanket. Listen to some music, or podcasts, or make your surroundings completely silent. Make sure there’s fresh air (and if possible, a little cool).
Let your mind wander and daydream. Whether you fall asleep or not doesn’t matter. As long as you’re relaxing.
I love the drowsy feeling that napping during the day brings. Falling asleep usually involves some odd visions of daydreams, and combined with instrumental music, it’s perfect for letting my creative mind wander.
It might be odd, but I love waking up from a nap and for a moment, not knowing what day it is. There’s something so peaceful about realising there’s still more day left to be lived.
9. See your friends or family.
Go to the park with your friends and do nothing at all. Go for a walk with your mom. Watch football with your dad until you both doze off on the sofa (true story). Watch bad movies with your best friend, or explore your hometown for the best Instagram photos.
Or call someone you miss. I think I’m horrible on the phone, but there are a couple of people I can talk to on the phone for hours on end. My family, my grandparents, and a couple of my best friends. Is there someone you miss talking to? Give them a call.
10. Make a mess.
Yep. Make a mess of something. Try finger painting, or build a sandcastle. Bake something that gets your hands dirty.
Jump on your bed. Build a pillow fort.
Dump all your photographs on the floor and look at each and every one of them. Rip some paper.
Making a mess can help you release the stress you’ve been building up all week. Putting things out of place for a moment gets your brain working a little differently. And putting things back where they belong will hopefully bring you peace of mind once more.
I’d love to know: What are your weekend plans? What do you do to unwind and charge your creative mind?
Now go write the world more beautiful, you awesome little human!