Your creative mindset two years into the pandemic may differ greatly from before the pandemic. Are you still creating? Are you more focused or less focused? Some of you may have encountered pandemic-based stressors like loss of income, concern about the health of family members or your own health, and the shortage of necessary supplies. For some of us, the stress has been more distant and less personal. There are those who are suffering from long-haulers symptoms, continued loss of income and associated losses. And there are far too many have lost loved ones either to COVID or for other reasons. No matter how distant or personal, the stress of two years of pandemic life is real. Let’s make an assessment so we can make realistic goals for the new year. How is your creative mindset after two years of pandemic?
The Creative Mindset
I believe everyone has some creativity. Those who doubt their creativity, or whose focus isn’t on their creativity, may deny they, too, have a creative mindset. There are some people who have very little creativity or choose a non-creative path. There is nothing wrong with that way of living, with that choice.
If you know you are creative, you have at least a gut-level understanding of what creative mindset means.
Having a creative mindset means you are open to opportunities and possibilities. You allow yourself to think “outside the box,” make fresh connections, and discover innovations or creations. A creative mindset can be limited if you doubt your abilities or cannot focus on creativity because of you are focused on other things, often life responsibilities. If you embrace your creative mindset, it can encompass many skills and become an attitude, a way of thinking, and a lifestyle.
Erman Misirlisoy Ph.D. posted There’s a Way to Actually Measure Your Creativity on Medium. The tests he’s suggests measure general creativity. They do not measure how you’ve managed through the past two years. I would like to suggest a more practical measurement. Answer the following questions. There are no right or wrong answers and you don’t have to share your answers with anyone. Be honest so you can assess yourself.
Have you made connections (Zoom, email, Skype, etc.) with your peers through the pandemic?
How many projects have you finished during the past two years?
Did you learn anything new about your chosen creative outlet?
How many new projects have you started in the past two years?
Did you finish any projects you started in the past two years?
How many days a week did you practice or work on your creative endeavors in the past two years compared to before the pandemic?
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions.
If Your Answers Disappoint
Give yourself one day to be disappointed. Then reframe your disappointment. What do I mean by reframing your disappointment?
Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique of identifying thoughts or feelings, then changing the way you view them.
How do you cognitively reframe something? First, record your thoughts or feelings. For example, you might say, I am so disappointed in my productivity that I state: I was too lazy and too depressed to do anything creative in the past two years.
That’s a negative and self-destructive, creativity killing kind of thought. So let’s turn it around, reframe your thoughts. For example, you might say, my creative mind took a break so that I would have enough energy to survive these past two years. Or, my creative mind protected itself by taking longer periods to recharge, since I needed time and energy to deal with how the pandemic changed my life.
If Your Answers Satisfy You
If you are saying to yourself, I did pretty well for all that was going on. Congratulations. You have been creative and during the pandemic. Good job. I hope you are being supportive of both experiences.
If you’re saying, I did okay. Do you secretly feel as if you could have done better? You may also benefit from the reframing technique. Try reframing it something like, I was strong enough to deal with all the pandemic stressors and even though that was difficult, I was still creative.
If Your Answers Please You
Congratulations. You’ve sailed through the pandemic with your creative mindset intact. Answer a couple more questions.
Did you use your creativity as a coping method to get through?
Did you use your creativity to hide or ignore the stress of the past two years?
Again, there are no right or wrong answers. These questions are so you can be self-aware. You might suffer some creativity burnout or fatigue as the pandemic marches on. Or you might need to take time to face and deal with the stressors in your pandemic life. Be aware that you might need professional help. If you are telling yourself needing professional help is a sign of weakness or a person defect, reframe your thoughts. Getting professional help is a sign of self-love and a desire to survive your stressors and be your authentic, creative self.
Your Creative Mindset Going Forward
Unfortunately, we are still dealing with a pandemic. There will continue to be stress and shortages and adjustments we must make. Review techniques that may help you and your creative mindset going forward. Do you have a mental health toolkit? Have a plan. Reach out to a creative friend and agree to support each other every day, once a week, or on an as needed basis.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It provides 24/7, free and confidential, support and help from trained counselors.
If you or a loved one are in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911.
Your creative mindset two years into the pandemic is naturally different from it was two years ago. That’s okay. You’ve survived. No matter how much or little you’ve created in the past two years, your creativity is surviving, too. Be kind to yourself. Recognize that you are, that we all are, in survival mode.
What have you found helpful for maintaining your creative mindset during the past two years?
Title Image by motihada from Pixabay
Top Image by chenspec from Pixabay
Second Image Image by David Bruyland from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
I’m an introvert, so I have done rather well during the pandemic. The isolation that oppressed many people was mostly “Yes! Extra creative time!” for me. Fewer social obligations meant I could focus my socializing more freely, on the people who mean the most to me. I am deeply grateful to be living with people I love and respect, who have maintained their own varied interests. I finished several major projects, and discovered that my focus shifted in a few unexpected ways. I have no time for fear-mongering, so I’ve been able to keep my social media interactions focused on interesting ideas and supportive messages (it also helps not to spend overmuch much time there). More changes are inevitable, but for now I’m okay with where I am. I just wish more people were able to say that! I know I am extremely privileged.
I’m glad you’ve found new focus in the pandemic, Jan. As you say, not everyone has been able to do that. I think it helps that you not only have a supportive family, but that you had projects you care about and were able to work on. Thanks for sharing.
The answers please me. I have been slow at times due to medication – and I’ve adjusted that, plowed through the brain fog, and found a way to keep going.
The second volume in my planned half-million total words mainstream trilogy is almost ready for publishing. I have a few more scenes to write, and then, since I only work in finished scenes, it will be finished.
I don’t get out much anyway – even the limited social life at our retirement community has taken a hit (staff illnesses), so dinner is delivered to our door – and we see almost no one.
So I don’t feel anti-social for being anti-social – we’re in the same boat.
My wonderful beta reader vets each chapter as it is finished, and so far so good.
The pandemic is a major problem – no doubting that. The existential dread has been a heavy pall. I worry about the kids, the nation, my friends on- and off-line. But the work goes on, and I can bury myself in it.
Excellent news, Alicia. I’m glad you’ve been able to see the situation in a positive light. And what an accomplishment!
Yes, unfortunately the pandemic has had a major affect on many, many lives. And it probably will continue to affect many more for years to come. But the work does go on–at least for us writers.
My creativity has ebbed and flowed post retirement (2 years ago). Sometimes I can hardly type fast enough. Other times I can’t hardly type. LOL But I do the best I can and carry on. In the midst of Omicron, I am having the hardest time since this began. but there is no alternative – either show up for myself or sleep the days away.
I love the phrase you used, “show up for myself.” Doing the best you can is all any of us can do. Eventually, this will pass and your “doing the best you can” will carry you through and you’ll have more words than if you’d chosen to sleep the days away.
This is me: Did you use your creativity as a coping method to get through? Did you use your creativity to hide or ignore the stress of the past two years?
Absolutely. Head down, ignore the world. Absolutely relying on my creativity as a coping method. Starting to get tired, though.
Oh, Lisa, I hear you. On all counts. It’s been an exhausting two years…and it’s not over. All we can do is try to pace ourselves and treat ourselves to some breaks and restorative rest when we can. I hope you’re doing that.
I’ve been trying to do that more of late. Just can’t keep up the pace.