10 Whimsical Ways To Think, Play, And Work More Creatively

Creativity is the key to living a satisfying and delightful life.

Woman creating a creative mess Khara Woods, Vadim Artyukhin | Unsplash

By the end of the year, it’s rare to feel full of creative energy. Many of us drudge through the holiday season aiming for the finish line and a fresh start. Instead of the creative juices flowing, we feel depleted from running the race of a hard year. But why not go out on a high note? One way to do that is to find your inner creative self.

Creativity is the key to living a satisfying and delightful life. The good news is that we all have it inside of us. We have to find ways to tap into it. Here are 10 ways to find your creative inner self before the new year even begins.


RELATED: Traits The World's Most Creative People Share That You Can Learn, Too

Here are 10 whimsical ways to think, play and work more creatively:

1. Embrace being a Kindergartener

One of the best ways to find our inner creative self is to learn a new skill. There’s nothing like being a beginner and learning something new to get our creative juices flowing. Learning new things also boosts our self-esteem. We can sit back and say, “Look what I just did!” 

The key to learning new things is to be willing to push past the uncomfortable beginner fears… you know those thoughts that say, “No way could I learn this! I won’t be good at it.” We have to let go of perfectionism and embrace being a kindergartener again. By that, I mean that we are learning, and learning comes with making mistakes as we learn. It is an expected part of the process. 


So the next time you have the opportunity to learn a new skill, embrace that inner kindergartener and go for it.



2. Say yes to the mess

Often, we can tap into our creative inner selves by making a mess on purpose. Think about it… kids naturally make messes when they play and are good at being in a state of flow daily. They don’t get distracted by life’s worries. 

By participating in messy activities, like fingerpainting, baking, or just playing in the dirt, we can let go of our inhibitions and act like kids again. This unleashes loads of creative thinking. We are not worried about bills, our to-do lists, or the latest news.


When we play like this — not worried about the mess we are making — we get into a state of flow where great ideas are waiting to pour out of us like fountains of molten lava.

3. Spend time in nature

Sometimes just sitting outside listening to the birds, a babbling brook or a train in the distance can help us let go of our daily worries and tap into our creativity. 

Try putting your hand on your heart and take a long look around. Take it all in. Block out distractions except for the ones right in front of you. 

By getting in tune with our surroundings and listening to the sounds of nature, we often get great ideas to solve problems or create something new.  


4. Rebel against your routine

Speaking of disruptions, changing our routine helps us to get in touch with our creative side. Why does this happen?  Because creativity demands change. 

This can be as simple as going to a new restaurant or taking a new way home. Getting out of the normal routine shakes things up and gives us a new view of life. 

Doing the same thing over and over is not creative and won’t help us tap into our creativity. Even though routines have their place in our lives and provide comfort, making an effort to do something the opposite way, different, or just brand new gets us out of a rut and allows our creative selves to flourish. 

RELATED: Woman Describes The Absurdity Of Being A Creative Person With A Corporate Job — 'None Of This Matters Literally At All'


5. Do what you love

So many of us don’t allow ourselves the time to do the things we really love to do. We get so busy with life and we don’t make time for fun. 

What if we gave ourselves permission to do that one thing we long for, but just never do? It can be something simple like getting in our pool early in the morning with our coffee and relaxing. Perhaps it’s planting a garden from seeds. Or maybe it’s spending time carving bowls by hand. 

Whatever it is that you never make time for, make time today and do it (without any guilt or judgment). This is play in its truest form. And when we make time for play, we replenish our creativity.  

Ways to Find Your Inner Creative SelfPhoto from author


6. Play like a kid

Getting back to a child-like mindset is key to tapping into our creativity. And the easiest way to do that is to do things that kids do. 

For example, what if you hosted a gingerbread house decorating party for adults? Remember making Shrinky Dinks? Or going roller skating? Or playing a board game meant for little kids? 

These activities help us let go of being so serious all the time. We can have some fun being silly, which disrupts how we naturally think, and the creative ideas will flow. These creative ideas put into action allow us to tap into our inner creative self (it’s there, I promise!).

7. Put play onto your Google calendar

We can talk about playing (doing the things you love) all day long, but all of us know it won’t happen unless we schedule it into our lives in the same way we schedule work. 


It’s obvious why we don’t play very often. Play feels indulgent and like a waste of our important time. There are things we must do for work, our families, and survival. But play is the key to enjoying life and becoming more creative. 

Since we know the value of playing (see above), we must schedule it just like we schedule work. That way, when we need our creativity to show up, it will be there waiting for us. 

8. Go for a distraction-free walk

There is nothing like walking to get our creative juices flowing and spark creative ideas because movement gets blood flowing to our prefrontal cortex — where we get our good ideas. 


Put your phone ringer on silent, leave your headphones behind, and have the notes app ready. Let your mind wander from topic to topic or focus on a particular issue… there’s no wrong way to do this. When a good idea pops up, voice record it in your notes app. Keep recording ideas like a list throughout your entire walk. 

So, when you need to solve a problem or come up with a great idea, go for a walk outside, and only use your phone to record your good ideas. I guarantee, there will be something good there.

9. Brainstorm with a timer

Awaken your inner creative self with a good old-fashioned brainstorming session. Sometimes we get stagnant in our ideas and we feel stuck. A concerted effort to brainstorm can help us tap into unusual creative ideas hiding deep inside ourselves.

Pick a topic. Maybe a problem needs solving or you just need some good ideas for your business. Whatever it is, write it in the center of a page. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Then, list possible ideas all around that main topic. The key is to not judge these ideas… list everything, especially the crazy ideas. Once you have a good list and the timer goes off, evaluate the ideas. Rank them or cross some off the list.  


We all have the ability to tap into our creative ideas, but we often have to add the pressure of a time limit to force our ideas onto paper. (If you use smelly markers for this, you get bonus points!)

RELATED: 10 Game-Changer Brainstorming Tips To Boost Your Creativity

10. Surround yourself with color

Color awakens our senses and has the ability to spark creative ideas. Just think of a time when you walked into a room that exuded color. Color lights up our eyes, inspires us, and excites the nervous system. 



This is a case for bringing more color into our work spaces because all of us can use more creativity in our jobs, even if our job is not in the creative field. Color will help us feel more energy. And more energy breeds excitement. Excitement helps us be better workers. 


So when you are designing your workspace, bring in colorful pots, wall hangings, chairs, and fun rugs. Then sit back and watch your creative inner self bloom.

*If you happen to work at two full-time jobs (one creative that you want to do and one mainstream that you wish to transition out of), it’s hard to split your thoughts and time when you are trying to transition from your day job to your passion job. This is especially hard when your day job is demanding and requires all of you. I’ve traveled this road, and I found a few things that helped me during this process.

Tip 1: Compartmentalize

To manage this tricky situation of working two jobs, you must compartmentalize to make it work. Set your day job work hours and your creative work hours, and stick to them. Don’t mingle the two. This will require discipline.


You won’t want to work your day job, but you have to for a while. And the reality is you will have to sacrifice time during the evenings and weekends for your passion job, but how deeply do you want it? This is the real test to see if you have what it takes to make the switch. 

Tip 2: Embrace working harder

My friend Sara from Simply Southern Cottage likes to say, “I quit my forty-hour-week job to work eighty hours, and I’ve never been happier.” When you work for yourself as an entrepreneur, you typically work way more hours and much harder because the buck stops with you. It’s up to you to make the money.

I used to wake up every day worrying about making enough to provide for my family. And somewhere along the way, I stopped worrying about that. I had set up enough streams of income through both my courses and chair sales to provide for my basic needs.

Tip 3: Start now, start small

When spring of 2020 came around, I had spent eight years building my business, and only two of those years were full-time doing chairs. I had a good framework in place for my business. Covid caused many businesses to lay off their employees, and my previous job was no exception. I woke to the news that the majority of their staff had been let go. That news shook me to my core. I would have been among those let go. And we would have lost our house and many other things. It would have devastated my family.


However, I had done the hard work, laid the foundation, and built my own future. It had taken years and a lot of hours, but it was worth it. I am my own job security. My ability to make money is in my control, not someone else’s. I started as a small side hustle business, and I built it little by little into what it is today.

Ways to find inner creative selfPhoto from author

RELATED: 11 Things All Highly Creative People Have In Common

Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist, is a former educator turned boutique chair decorator helping people around the globe infuse personality, color, and whimsy into their surroundings. Through her company, Chair Whimsy, she offers various options to turn a boring and beige room into whimsical and wow, including a collection of ready-made designer chairs, custom chair design, fabric selection services, and a host of courses to unleash the DIYer’s inner artist.