The Importance of a Creative Outlet

Regardless of an individual’s program or field of expertise, everyone is creative. In the middle of exam season when you are constantly at the library from 9 am to 9 pm, you’ll find that you reach a saturation point at which you need a break. Research increasingly shows that engaging in creative activities is necessary to improve an individual’s health and happiness, two factors that are often forgotten about during exam season.When looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, creativity falls under self-actualization and sits at the top of the pyramid. Creativity is categorized under self-actualization as it is a necessary component of an individual realizing their full potential. Maslow initially suggested this is something to be explored once baseline needs are met but research is now saying that creativity is, in fact, a key ingredient, like food and water, to leading a happy and healthy life.

The American Journal of Public Health states, “Engagement with creative activities has the potential to contribute toward reducing stress and depression and can serve as a vehicle for alleviating the burden of chronic disease.” Exam season is one of the biggest burdens we all face as students and ensuring that we are checking in with ourselves time to time is necessary. By finding a creative outlet, it allows students to express themselves in an artistic form, allowing them to release pent up energy and emotions.

Finding a creative outlet does not necessarily mean that you need to be the next Vincent van Gogh of the 21st century. A creative outlet could simply be designated doodle page in your notebook or trying out a new recipe a few times a week for dinner. Overall, partaking in a creative activity, if not every day, a few times in the middle of exam season allows ourselves to relax and have a change of pace to our otherwise busy schedules. Remember, a happy mindset is necessary to ensure that as a student, we thrive successfully to achieve positive results.

Here are a few creative ideas we can try out this exam season:

Start a one-sentence journal. Try to summarize each day in a sentence and track this in a notebook. As opposed to recounting your day, try to include your thoughts,  hopes, and fears – in a few week’s time, it’ll be interesting how much has changed since then.

Track your exam season with a picture every day. While Stauffer doesn’t seem to change in your perspective from your favourite study spot, try to look around and capture different angles.

Try to cook a new recipe as often as possible! During study breaks, you can look into different recipes you could experiment with the ingredients you have at home. People often view cooking as a chore but it doesn’t have to be!

Have a designated doodle page in your notebook. Whenever you feel anything, flip to your doodle page and do a quick sketch! If you’re trying to take it to the next step, try and use different colours (i.e. pens, highlighters) to really portray whatever it is that you’re feeling.  

                                                                      Photo by: Daria Shevtsova 

I think it is safe to say that spring has finally sprung! During your walk to the library or the gym, try to pick up a plant that catches your eye and begin a plant press. A plant press requires two things: a plant and a book. You could later use your dried plants for a variety of things, whether that be for scrapbooking or decorating your room.