3 Physical Ways to Boost Your Creativity

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Ah, winter. The quiet, cold, dark season of the year. The holidays are over, the new year hardly seems new anymore, and audition season is fast approaching. Before we know it, far less celebratory thoughts plague our minds.

“It’s going to be freezing standing in line for that EPA tomorrow.”
“I cannot sing that song one more time.”
“It’s too cold to go to class.”
“I hate my monologues.”
“I’m so sick of myself.”
“I overdid it at the holidays and feel so out of shape.”

...And so it goes. But for better or worse, here we are, knowing we have to make some changes. It’s easy to feel stuck, and so hard to motivate, so how can we snap out of it?

Sometimes we work from the inside out, by journaling, visualizing, or setting goals, and then taking physical action. But sometimes it doesn’t have to be that deep. If you don’t feel like making a vision board right now, it’s OK! You can work from the outside in.

Here are a few tricks that can help you feel creative, productive, motivated, and ready to rock, in just a few minutes. And all you have to do is move your body.

1. Take a lap. Yes, it’s cold. Put your coat on and take a walk around the block. The combination of fresh air and brisk movement will wake you up, raise your heart rate, and snap you into the present moment. Studies have shown that walking at just 50 percent of your maximum heart rate can reduce anxiety significantly, so by the time you get home, you’ll have a calm head and a robust heart, ready for action. Note: Do not bring your phone or use this time to run errands. Just walk and listen to your thoughts. You’ll be amazed what brilliant nuggets are swirling around in that head of yours!

2. Stretch it out. Lie down on the floor and bring your knees to your chest. Rock from side to side and feel your sacrum (tailbone) on the floor. Experiment with lowering your knees and then bringing them up again as you rock. Then, let them fall to one side of your body, keeping the opposite shoulder on the floor. Take three deep breaths and then switch sides. Twisting detoxifies the internal organs, so as you breathe, imagine toxic thoughts and attitudes leaving your body with each exhale. When you return to the middle, stretch your legs straight on the floor and arms above your head, and enjoy the feeling of lengthening your limbs and breathing deeply. Detox twists + increased oxygen + a good long stretch = win. Doing 50 crunches while you’re down there? Always a great option!

3. Drop it like it’s hot. Close your door, crank up the new Justin Bieber album (What? It’s really good!) and dance like no one’s watching. But here’s the key: Make an effort to dance with all parts of your body—feet, hips, fingers, hands, head, and butt! Why? Because moving in different ways than you’re used to unlocks physical blocks you didn’t even know you had. And whether singing, acting, or dancing is your thing, all of the elements of performance are physical. You can learn a lot about what you don’t do to get closer to what you want to do, and provide variation to what you overdo. Whoa. Read that again. Make sense? Good!

I love hearing what is working for you, so if you try any of my tactics or discover your own outside-in exercises, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Once you’re ready to get back out there, check out these audition tips:

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Erika Shannon
Erika Shannon is a choreographer, teacher, and movement coach, working with dancers of all levels, singers, models, and fitness enthusiasts to help them move their bodies with confidence and connect to movement so it makes sense. Her signature online dance program, Don’t Dodge the Dance Call, has been featured in several theatrical publications, including Backstage!
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