5 Ways to Boost Creativity

Hyde Park LondonGenerally speaking I rarely ever make “New Year’s Resolutions”. It’s not that I don’t think they’re a good idea. Because they are — giving myself goals based on areas I’d like to improve in my life has always been a huge motivator for me.

That said, I generally tend to over-reflect on my life and am continually creating “resolutions” for myself throughout the year. Not just at New Year’s.

So I don’t tend to make official “New Year’s Resolutions”.

But as 2016 comes to a close, I’m left wondering what my ideal 2017 looks like. What are my priorities? My actual goals? Besides hopefully keeping family out of the hospital as much as possible?


The one goal that really encapsulates what I want from 2017.

I’ve spent a lot of time fooling around with the aesthetics of this blog over the last two years. I’ve experimented with content, played with themes, and generally let Sed Bona be whatever creative outlet I’ve needed it to be. It’s brought me many lucky experiences, a deep awareness of my personal style, some truly delicious meals, and plenty of close friends.

But now that I’m finally getting into the swing of things, it’s time to settle down and really craft content I’m madly in love with. It’s time to synthesize my career change from finance. It’s time to prove to myself that I have a solid place in the creative field. It’s time to get professional, artistically speaking.

It’s time to get really creative.

5 Ways to Boost Creativity

1. Don’t Fret

Nothing ruins a creative streak like anxiety. Believe me, I know better than most. Much of my 20’s have been hit with extreme bouts of anxiety — no doubt much of it residual depression and bitterness left in the wake of my father’s early death. I’ve dealt with anxiety on a daily basis ever since 2010.

And I KNOW about the long-term effects of anxiety. One of the first things it damages is creativity. Creativity by natures requires you to have a certain degree of fearlessness. You can’t be afraid to fail. You have to be ready to fail. As Churchill says, “success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”.

To a certain extent, creativity is simply a matter of retaining enthusiasm, warranted or not. So try not to worry about it so much. There are always at least a few ways you can trick yourself into immediately feeling happier.

2. Orange Oil

For the past few years I’ve diffused oils at home to help with all sorts of issues and ailments. And orange oil is ALWAYS one of the oils I’m diffusing — it can single-handedly boost my mood when I’m feeling upset or depressed, not to mention ward off illnesses in winter.

But orange oil also happens to be one of my best-kept secrets for boosting creativity too. Orange oil is energizing and invigorating. It’s enlivening. One sniff and instantly you have your joie de vivre back. There’s just something about this happy fragrance that makes you eager to create.

I always have a vial next to my computer, in my car, and in my camera bag for whenever I need a pick-me-up before a project. It cuts through any mental fog I may be having to help me focus on the task at hand. And it does it all in a beautifully fragrant, 100% natural way. What’s not to love?

This oil makes an especially potent combination if I diffuse it while drinking a scoop of Brain Dust in my tea — no matter how rough the night before, this combination always manages to make me feel like SUPERWOMAN!

3. Visit a Museum

I like to call museums “the original Pinterest“. Museums are endless sources of true physical inspiration, filled to the brim with works and artifacts most of us have never heard of.

Museums are just waiting to be explored! And we have so many great ones to choose from in Chicago.

To me, there’s something so natural about turning to a museum for inspiration and a creative boost — you’re practically guaranteed to see something you’ve never seen before. And guaranteed to learn something new. And there’s nothing like a large influx of novelty to really get those creative juices flowing.

Just be sure to bring along a notebook to jot all your creative ideas in while you wander!

4. Take a Long Walk

Charles Dickens and Beethoven were both creative geniuses who KNEW the power of a good, long walk. Studies have continually shown that we feel significantly healthier and more creative while walking than we do while sitting down.

So the first thing I always do when I need to solve a problem creatively is take a long walk. This is the best part of living in such a big city since there’s always somewhere new and exciting to walk to. I love taking a new route to an old destination. I love how much walking instead of driving changes my perspective.

Whenever I’m angry, frustrated, depressed, over-worked, over-tired, or just plain spent, I can ALWAYS count on a long walk to boost my mood and creative juices.

5. Travel

Novelty and inspiration — the two things travel is guaranteed to bring that’ll boost your creative output. Just make sure you aren’t one of those travelers who has the SAME experience over and over again in a different destination. You know the travelers I’m talking about. The ones who go to handfuls of new destinations every year without ever seeming to be impacted or inspired by any of them. I’m always so shocked by how few people actually want to explore their destination like a local.

It feels like such a waste of money to me.

Don’t eat at McDonald’s every night. Don’t ONLY do activities on your cruise ship or ones involving tour buses. Don’t JUST travel to take pictures and brag.

Travel for the reward novelty brings. Find something beautiful and momentous from your trip and let it inspire you for weeks afterward. I may have visited London MONTHS ago but I’m still drawing inspiration from that trip each and every day (and I still have so many London posts to share with you!).

Let your travels surprise you. Be open to the experiences they bring. And don’t be scared by the curveballs they throw at you — those often lead to the most creative stories!

London Architecture September 2016What do you want out of 2017? If you had to list one resolution for the year, what would it be?

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