We are experiencing a rough time, to say the least. Covid-19 is a rough time for us dreamers. Both for employees, business owners and freelancers. We are many that are struggling and many around us have lost their jobs, forced to a lower salary or seeing their business running on empty. It’s a time full of stress and new challenges. The good thing is that there are easy things you can do to ease the phase.
Hand on your heart; how much are you exercise now? Or before this for that matter? As creative people we often forget to take care of our body and mind. It’s easy to get caught in the now of a project, work task or all the other musts we have. You work towards a deadline with that video, updating your website or getting done with this quarters accounting. This makes us often deprioritize food, sleep and exercising.
As creatives, for us stress is as natural as the Adobe Suite. By being better at handling stress, we won’t react as hard on it when it occurs. We also will take better decisions for ourselves and our work. Because how many good decisions do you make when stressed out?
To exercise and workout as a creative has more advantages than that your jeans will fit better or you don’t get the creeps every time someone tags you in an image on Facebook. Because, when you exercise lots of great things happens inside your body and brain that we creatives can benefit from. Especially in these times when we are stressed out and faces new challenges and changes. Covid-19 is a rough time for us dreamers – hang in there!
Cool as a cucumber
Stress is something we all experience and face in our lives. It’s not so much of a choice but more of a necessary evil we need to deal with. If you feel stressed out a lot, which many probably does these days, or that you don’t respond well to stress – then exercise is the key! When we are exercising we use our muscles and our muscles helps neutralize the stress hormones. The more you exercise the better you and your body will be handling stress – especially in the long term.
When we are under stress our body releases lots of hormones. And if you are stressed out for a long period of time, our frontal lobe and hippocampus shrinks. In the frontal lobe is where our creativity, intelligence, reasoning and personality (among a lot of other things) are. And our hippocampus deals with our short- and long-term memory as well as sense of direction. You don’t want these areas (or any area for that matter) in your brain to shrink, but the opposite!
Another great perk is that when you are lowering you stress levels you will also lose weight due to the cortisol (stress hormone) is preventing your body from burning fat. This is one of our body’s survival functions from the time before Fortnite and Snapchat – when we lived on the savanna.
More bonuses than an online casino
When we are exercising, by going on a power walk or a jog that makes our pulse go up – in preferably 40 minutes – the blood flow to our brain increase. With the added blood flow comes lots of great perks:
- It creates new braincells
- We become more resistant to stress
- Your brains get more open to changes (plasticity)
- It creates more connections between the frontal lobe and the rest of the brain
- It helps you focus and shut out noise
Regular exercise where your pulse goes up, for at least 40 minutes, a couple of times a week will make your brain both bigger and younger! Read that sentence again a couple of times.
Several studies have shown that our creativity and mental capacity also gets boosted after exercising. So, go for a run or a powerwalk before you start your workday or before a challenging task or meeting, to benefit the most from the boost. The important thing is that you don’t exhaust yourself completely, just make the pulse go up is enough. When I mean exercise, I don’t mean weight lifting, but cardio!
Open for change
Our brain isn’t a solid lump of tissue, but in constant change. Every time we make a new habit or learns something new we create a new “path” in our brain. You can train your brain to think positive thoughts by just keep thinking them. By time you will make this path clearer and clearer as we keep walking it and it makes it easier for your brain to think it. Exercise makes our brain more open for this kind of changes (plasticity) – while stress causes the opposite!
That’s why exercise is so important in times like these. When many has been forced to adapt to new rules and laws where our meetings, presentations and courses are now through Zoom or Google Hangouts instead of our trusty conference rooms. If we have high levels of stress these changes will be even harder. That’s when exercise helps out by making you more open to changes and boosts your mental capacity.
Noise reduction at home
Right now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, you are probably at home working. So does your partner, kid 1, kid 2 and the dog. A messy office space to say at least.
You have probably heard of dopamine before. The substance that makes us feel happiness and joy. What dopamine also does is to make us motivated and focused. Dopamine is also found in medicine for ADHD to raise the dopamine levels in the body, as people diagnosed with ADHD easily gets distracted and needs a higher amount of dopamine to be able to focus. Dopamine can also help us cancel out the background noise. Remember before Covid-19, when you were sitting in a Starbucks café writing on your book and completely shut the surrounding world out? Dopamine!
When we exercise, our dopamine levels goes up (sometimes so much that some experience runners high). That’s why it’s perfect to start your day with a powerwalk or a jog, to be able to focus better and shut the noise out.
To take care of ourselves and our body is always a good idea. Noting good comes out from neglecting yourself. Too much alcohol, stress, saturated fat together with too little sleep is a shortcut to become less creative and a worse creative overall.
Make sure you take care of yourself and your mind. It ALWAYS pays out. Especially in times like these. Covid-19 is a rough time for us dreamers – hang in there!
PS. Keep distance to others if you are going for a jog outside and always follow the governmental guidelines.