how to get out of a creative rut in a month

time flies when you’re having fun?? two question marks because although this month has truly flown by, it’s largely consisted of me procrastinating about my dissertation (which was very confusing btw) and also trying to figure out how i should deal with february cos it’s such a limbo month.

it’s always a difficult balance between law and creating, and that’s why some months i tend to lean more towards one of them. it just so happens that i was also stuck in a creative rut these past few weeks but…march is just round the corner (think blossoms and butterflies and all that new growth stuff) and i just upgraded to a new camera this month. so as february closes to an end, i wanted to share a few tips which helped me wriggle out of a creative rut.

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be inspired by the word – even if i haven’t physically been creating, i’ve tried to use my mind creatively, by journaling and meditating on the scripture, re-writing verses in cursive or calligraphy, making some coloured swashes over the leaves of my bible. it also happens to be the most positive and life-affirming book out there. so give it a try!

chat to your friends – i’m always thankful for the people around me who are so filled with creativity and talent. when i share my troubles, they would always give me a kick and be sure to support me in my dreams – so go inspire each other!

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always be on the lookout. be spontaneous too – inspiration strikes at the least expected times. some of my most favourite shoots happen to be places i just stumble across, like the cafe just above 180 the strand.

go out and explore. – sitting in your room staring at a blank wall isn’t that helpful. go out and be exposed to people, smells, tastes, experiences. when i went back to london last weekend for chinese new year, i was immediately swept over by inspiration again. p.s. look out for my chinese new year inspired photoshoot soon.

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pick up a new hobby – try something new and distract yourself. connect with different people over a new hobby, be it a sport, music, writing, cooking. do something out of your comfort zone or something not routine. i’ve never been into sports myself, but surprisingly i’ve been finding my groove in squash with my flatmates lately.

self-care – you’re most likely stuck in a creative rut because you have overworked yourself and thought too hard about everything. get a haircut, read the book you’ve always wanted to, indulge in a cheese platter (don’t forget about the camembert).

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stay calm – this is only a season. you will find your touch again. understand that it is ok to be in a creative rut, because it gives you time to renew yourself before embarking on another adventure. relax and take a deep breath. after all, you can’t achieve big dreams without the right mindset.

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photos courtesy of kelly leow (@kelleow)

– heather sham

5 things you should do right now

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1. check your bank statements 

taking control of your finances is the first step to growing up. check up on the ins and outs of your money so that you can plan efficiently and achieve your goals. mind you, it also helps detect any fraudulent behaviour in your account.

if you are reallyyyy into controlling your finances, and you still see little progress with that car you’ve been saving up for, try downloading a spending app on your phone to log and categorise where your money is going.

2. unsubscribe to irrelevant emails 

how often do you look over on your friend’s phone and see they have 1745 unread emails? or am i talking about your own phone? fair enough you like to stay up to date with the latest sales, but what is the point of subscribing to emails you know you will never read? it also helps to remove yourself from online shopping emails if you want to save money – it’s better not to know!

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3. brain dump 

journalling and writing is a healthy way to unload your brain and is particularly helpful for the over-thinkers. dedicate one of the notebooks you got from aunt betty for christmas to brain dumping. write in it when you wake up to refresh yourself, or at night so that your brain can stop dancing when you are trying to sleep. if brain dumping isn’t for you, try gratitude journalling – this will help you reflect and inhibit more positivity to your day.

4. chug a glass of water 

we all need a gentle reminder with this one. do it now!

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5. unplug

it’s ironic because i really want you to read my blog right now. but in this day and age, it is so important to unplug. not just because it has many health benefits, but it will help you not to overlook some of the more important things – quality time with your friends and family, realising that your instagram-able cake doesn’t just look nice but tastes like heaven, God’s beautiful creations…

-heather sham

the 5 minute hack

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do nothing for 5 minutes.

take a breather, stare into space, reset.

unplug.

yepppp your phone, laptop, tablet, them weird watches that speak to you. in all seriousness, isolating yourself from the endless emails flowing in and the distraction of social media acts like a reset button. realise the beautiful and positive things that you’ve been missing out if you weren’t unplugged. enjoy it for 5 minutes.

compose yourself.

it’s monday morning, you’ve probably got a mountain of work sitting at your desk, your to-do list probably looks like a 7-year-old’s christmas wish list. and you just want to dive straight in and get lost in the stresses of it all. but stop! take 5 minutes out to just compose yourself and reassess your situation – realise that you’ll be fine, and that this is doable. this optimism will pull you through.

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mental unblocking

in this modern day and age, mental health cannot be stressed more. be true to your emotions and take time out to reflect, meditate and find peace. 5 minutes of doing nothing sounds minuscule and useless but if you give it a go you will realise how long 5 minutes really is, and that it’s pretty effective.

self-love

indulge in food you love, go for a walk around the block, get some well deserved rest, play with your dog, get some retail therapy in, explore a hobby you’re interested in, think about things you love. and if you don’t have enough time to do any of this, the 5 minute hack is just as effective in re-asserting some self love. this culture needs more love.

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we are God’s creation and we are wonderfully and fearfully made. love a precious child of God – yourself! 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that our bodies are temples of the holy spirit, who is in us. we are not our own and were bought at a price. therefore, we need to honour God with our bodies.

i.e. God says care about yourself. do this by developing talents that God has given you so you can serve others. make sure you’re physically and mentally healthy so that you can fight God’s battles. dwell into God’s word so you can learn of the plans and purposes God has for you. learn to love yourself so that you can love others – the fuller your heart, the more you can give to others.

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-heather sham

a love song for you

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pen – muji // journal – gift // watch and bracelet – daniel wellington

“did you know the Lord is celebrating you today? even now He is singing a love song over your life.”

when i read these words, it makes me feel oh yeah great God loves me. but when i think deeper and realise that i’m imperfect and have sinned in so many ways, i feel unworthy of the love song God is singing for me.

why would God sing about such a person like me? who am i to deserve this love? who am i to deserve God’s love so that He would send His one and only son Jesus to die for me?

during my devotions this morning, i read in james 4 that our lives are like a mist, and before we know it we’ll vanish from earth. this whole thing about love is not about us – it points towards God. this life we’re living: it’s not about us because our existence is so short, but it’s about God and His infinite existence. we all need to see this bigger picture.

God loves us purely because He is love. He is so great that He will love those who are imperfect and those who are sinners (that’s you and me by the way). we’re sinners, yes, but doesn’t that elevate God’s love so much more?

when i read these words now, i know it’s not about me – but God’s big fat love for me. God’s perfect love.

-heather sham