creative on lockdown

Staying Creative on Lockdown

We’re here. Stuck inside. In our homes. For awhile. Maybe anyway, the timeline is indefinite. People in regions of China have been stuck in their homes for two months now, and while there’s no telling how long we’ll be housebound (homeward bound?!), we might as well make the best of it and get creative on lockdown!


Here are a few things you can do to stay creative on lockdown or quarantine. A big thanks to women in our community for sharing their ideas, podcasts, books and more. 

Take a course

Maybe now is the time to brush up on some skills you’ve been meaning to learn. Take your focus off the global pandemic and stream it into something positive. Some free courses that look interesting :
  • MoMA has a bunch of free courses centered around the arts. 
  • Harvard offers many free courses of all different topics. 
  • edX has courses by M.I.T., Berkely, Harvard and more.
creative on lockdown

Look at art

Is there anything more inspiring than seeing something beautiful, knowing it was created by another human being? If you’re perusing Instagram, checkout some of these artists:


Journaling or any form of writing creates an intense form of release for me. This is the one on the list that I love and resist the most. There’s nothing wrong with typing on a computer, but there is something even better about putting pen to actual paper. To get into the habit, try setting a timer for the noted time, and not allowing your pen to stop. Prompts to get you going:
  • One minute: Write words that begin with “P”
  • Five minute:. Begin with “I remember.” Each time you get stuck, start again at “I remember.”
  • Three minutes: Begin with “I’m afraid…” 
  • Six word memoir. Write your life, or a facet of it, in six words. Ernest Hemingway famously wrote “For sale, Baby shoes, Never worn.” If that doesn’t give you chills… Check out other examples here
  • What have been the best and worst things for my mental health  lately?
  • What have I been sensitive to lately? What hurts?
  • What can I be most grateful for at this moment?


Put on some music, sip a hot cup of chamomile and pull out your pencil crayons. 
creative on lockdown

Listen to music

Many of us listen to music while we’re doing something else — laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. I’m more of a podcast or audible book person, but I love throwing on some glory day tunes and dancing around my kitchen. Some albums are meant to be listened to from beginning to end, and when you find one that speaks to you, listening to the complete album feels amazing. Try putting a record or playlist on your headphones and just listening. 


There’s nothing like getting lost in someone else’s world to help you connect to yours. I find I read a lot less than I used to, and I’d like to change that. This is a good time to be in a book. Some recommendations from our readership:
      • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I love this one too, heartbreakingly beautiful. 
      • The audiobook World War Z by Max Brooks. This one is about a zombie apocalypse, so check in with yourself to see if you’re ready… 
      • Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. This is the current read for one of my buds, and she says it is short and powerful. It has been on my to read stack for a while now, so perhaps a complete community lockdown is the perfect opportunity.
      • Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur. I couldn’t agree more with this recommendation. Milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. Rupi’s instagram is beautiful and therapeutic, too. 
      • A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. Toews uses her experience growing up Mennonite in rural Manitoba to paint beautiful character sketches. More recently, Toews wrote Women Talking, which is a fictionalized account of a harrowing true story. Recommend. 


If you’re going to be sprinting about the house organizing, decluttering and cleaning, you might as well have some friends in your ears! Some podcasts recommended by our friends:
      • Revisionist History
      • Armchair Expert with Dax Shephard
      • The Skinny Confidential
      • The Financial Diet
      • Juicy Scoop (nonsense but nice distraction)
      • The Lady Gang
      • Freakonomics Radio
      • Newcomers: Star Wars
      • Startup Podcast (especially season 1)
      • Welcome to Nightvale
      • Reply All
      • Science Vs
      • Heavyweight
      • Goop


I’ve always had a difficult time sitting and doing nothing. My mind is always obnoxiously busy and wandering from one thing to the next. When I spend 10 minutes following a guided meditation in the morning, it can change the course of my entire day. Some resources:


Somehow, while being locked in my home all day, my home has become messier instead of cleaner. We’ve accomplished a few small house projects, but daaaayum, it hasn’t been the productive spring cleaning fest I’ve seen some people achieve. Anyway, if you want to minimize your stuff, here are some  ideas:

      • Go through the drawers in your nightstand. Get rid of everything you don’t want and find a place for items you don’t need bedside.
      • Dump your makeup bag and toss everything you don’t use. 
      • Take everything off your shelves and put back only the things that bring you joy. 
      • Donate clothes that you have not worn in the last year. 
      • Clean your fridge. Throw away old food and make a list of items you need to replenish.
      • Go through each drawer in your kitchen individually and get rid of items you don’t use. 

Connect digitally

Staying physically apart doesn’t mean we can’t still be together! I’ve had more FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, Zoom, Skype, Hangout sessions in the past week than I have ever had with my friends. It’s actually been fun, drinking wine in sweats and not having to drive home after, sipping coffee during baby naps with some of my bests. 
connect digitally

Cook or bake

Many of my friends have discovered, or rediscovered, a love of cooking! They’re making risotto and crab cakes, elaborate cookies and delicious sandwiches. Here are some of my favourite places to grab recipes from online, though there is something wonderful about a tomato sauce stained cookbook, if you have that instead.


Explore nature

As of right now, we’re still allowed to go outside, so take advantage of it while we can! Getting out for a few walks a day has helped me keep my sanity, not to mention my dog’s.

Listen to Books

Always, I have a physical book and an audible book on the go. You can get free audio books from the library, or pay $15/month for an Audible membership. I make sure I buy expensive books with my credit, ha! They also always have deals you can get for cheap as a member, and some free content as well. 

Play games

You can play physical games if you’re locked up with your family, or you can play digital games with the crew you used to share space with. Here are some games you can play online:

Consider the positives

There has to be perks to living through a global pandemic, right? Seeing more of your family if you’re locked down together, positive impact on the environment and pushing the boundaries of your creativity. Maybe we’ll find new ways to be together, avenues for productivity and reclaim old passions.


I’ll end with this poem I’ve read (and reread) recently:


Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th 2020


As a brand storyteller and marketer, Nykea specializes in writing, leadership and content creation, always with a focus on creativity. Finding the story in a brand, a movement, a life, is her passion.

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