Do you ever feel like you are in a rut, creatively? You may feel like your senses have been dulled and your creativity calloused. Like an extra-long winter of stagnancy, your brain just can’t seem to produce anything that feels fresh or progressive. You may feel you are stuck in a mood of dark gloominess that is blocking your creative light from shining. I know, I feel it too!
This can happen for so many reasons. It may be that we work in cycles, the way the moon circles the Earth. While sometimes we get to enjoy the gorgeous side in all its bright splendor; other times, we simply get the dismal and sometimes ominous darkness. (Science teachers everywhere, myself included, are cringing at this less than technical description of lunar phases, sorry!) But, we all want to feel…well, lit (a millennial term that is fitting, who knew!)
So how can you pull yourself out of those winter blues and prepare to shine moving forward into spring? Easy- challenge yourself to come out of your comfort zone. Yes, I know, it is so much harder than it sounds. Coming out of your comfort zone can be scary, painful, and awkward. But, I promise it is so worth it.
To illustrate, this past weekend I was styled by blogger Natalia Lilly, at the Macy’s Love event here in Miami. Going into it, I knew I would have to surrender my usual, albeit often lacking, fashion sense to someone whom I did not know at all. I admit, I was petrified. When I took a look at the carefully curated pieces Natalia had chosen for her closet, my over catastrophizing anxiety kicked in and I could see it all spiraling out of control before me in a scenario reminiscent of those frat house paint parties of the early 2000s. I never went to those parties for a reason. I imagined myself inside the explosion of art and color that had left this closet marred with cheer, and felt extremely awkward and out of place. There was no place in this bright and colorful space for my safe and solid A-line skirts or the usual grays and blacks I’ve grown comfortable in.
Minutes later, I am dressed in colorful allover-stripes wide-leg pants and matching top, and am mid-existential crisis pondering my current state in life. It seems dramatic, I know, but what I have found is that clothes and color can have that effect on a person. The rest of the afternoon was a blur. There was music, speaking into microphones, and photography; so much photography. As the afternoon went on, I felt my mood changing from sad and depressive to a mood so bright, it competed with the primary hues on my rather lively ensemble. By the end of the afternoon my attitude had shifted and my confidence had been elevated. I don’t remember the moment when my smile went from forced to genuine, and it doesn’t matter. I could feel myself having a breakthrough. I had been pulled out of the rut.
Yes, comfort zones are comfortable, safe, and less invasive. But they can also be limiting, suffocating, and stifling. We end up so immersed in these darker cycles that it becomes harder and harder to bring ourselves out of them and into happier spaces. So, if even for a day, I challenge you to do something uncomfortable, something that seems completely unlikely. Take a day off from work, wear a bright colored lipstick, or be a little more daring and dye your hair. As you writhe in the painfully uncomfortableness of it, feel yourself emerging into a happier, more efficient, and more productive state of creativity. Just in time for spring.