Note: This is part three of my series Getting Things Done−Creatively, a collection of time management and project planning resources for creative individuals. To read parts one and two, click here!
Every year when Christmas ends, I feel depressed--for a myriad of reasons, but mostly because I know that the holidays are over and I don't have anything exciting happening for another 4 months. (My birthday is in April and I always look forward to that.) I watched this #HowToBeHappyJanuary video by Nikki Philippi and it inspired me to find new ways to enjoy the new year and really use this time to really get creative. I want to tell you what's helped me stay fresh and actually enjoy this wintery season.
1. Set Goals
Like I mentioned in this blog post, setting goals helps me find direction in my life and forces me to fill my days with purposeful activities. My goals right now are to find fun ways to exercise and develop my creative skills.
2. Go Shopping
Even though I'm trying to be less materialistic (another one of my goals), visiting my favorite stores and seeing new inventory helps me get ideas and feel refreshed. As a designer, I'm very aesthetically driven, so I feel very inspired by colors and patterns and even the layout of a store. I also enjoy buying a few fun things that are on my wish list, like these adorable shoes I ordered yesterday. Shopping with friends is great because it doubles as exercise and a social activity!
I like to think of January as an opportunity to "prune" my life. I try to take the time to sit down, evaluate what my priorities are, and then try to eliminate as many of the little branches that get in the way of me becoming the kind of person I want to be. For example, I cut out "doing dishes" by buying a bulk package of paper plates and I cut out "getting ready" by cutting my hair. It might sound silly, but these little actions have helped me make room for bigger ideas and other goals.
4. Clean & Organize
I know everyone wants to get organized in the new year and I'm glad! I think cleaning your physical space helps you clear your mind and find new inspiration. If you want to really go crazy with cleaning this year, I would recommend this book.
5. Find New Music
Since I've been listening to Christmas music nonstop since September, January feels very quiet. I made a playlist of songs that feel wintery and fun that I've been trying to listen to whenever I feel a little off. I think music is a great way to bring a little pizazz to your life and it's fun to find songs that sound like "Winter" without sounding depressed.
6. Devour Pop Culture
January is a great time to visit a museum, watch the Oscars, or get into a new TV show. And obviously, don’t forget to read a good book! As we all know, inspiration can come from anywhere, so it's a great idea to go somewhere new to get new ideas. Bonus points if you document your experience with pictures or a write-up.
7. Hang Out with Friends
I think one of the biggest reasons I feel sad after the holidays is because I got so used to being surrounded by my family and friends. When everybody went home and I had to go back to work, I just about lost my mind. Find people you enjoy and spend time with them. There's nothing more inspiring than good people.
There's a lot of other ways to "beat the blahs," but if I had to sum everything up, I think the best thing you can do is find one thing that makes you excited and DO IT. Buy a new lipstick, take a staycation, make your own salsa, rearrange your bedroom, go hot tubbing, doodle in your journal, etc. Try not to waste time feeling sorry for yourself, get out there and do something!
For a bigger list of creative ideas, check out The Little But Really Useful Guide to Creativity by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.