The chances are you will take some of your annual leave this summer. Perhaps you’re off on a family holiday, a city break, clubbing in Europe, a romantic beachside getaway, or maybe just chilling out at home.
Taking a break from work is the best thing you can do to boost your creativity.
Backed up by research in New Scientist, here are 10 reasons why you need a summer holiday.
Good ideas, productivity and creativity don’t flourish under stress. When you are relaxed creativity comes naturally. However you relax, either walking on the beach, playing sport, or just putting your feet up will allow your brain to take a break and make you more creative when you get back to work. Research has shown that people were better at solving anagrams when lying down, versus sitting up! Have you ever noticed how you’ve been thinking about a solution all morning and yet it’s only when you leave the office to buy some lunch that the idea comes to you? By not thinking about work and relaxing, the ideas will start flowing.
2. THE COLOUR BLUE
If your summer holiday is going to involve blue skies and vast oceans, it’s great for your creativity. A Professor at the University of British Columbia found that the colour red sharpens the memory, while blue helps to unlock people’s imaginations and enhances their performance in cognitive tasks.
3. TRAVEL ABROAD
Psychologists say multicultural experiences facilitate the complex cognitive processes behind innovative thinking. So that summer trip to Thailand, France or Italy that will immerse you in a different language and culture, will do your creativity the world of good. Que fantastico!
Use your holiday to read. Reading stimulates the mind and the more you open your mind to new ways of thinking, the more creative you will become.
Have a couple of glasses of wine. In one study, participants who sunk an average of three drinks were more creative than people who didn’t drink at all. That’s possibly because a little alcohol lets us think more broadly, finding connections between unrelated ideas. Getting drunk, however will just make you THINK you’re more creative and will land you with a very unproductive morning after.
Take a long walk through city streets, swim in the pool, jog on the beach or surf in the sea. The effects of exercise and physical movement on the mind and creativity have been studied for centuries. After exercise, endorphins are released into your bloodstream and help produce serotonin, which in turn enhances the neurological conditions for creative thinking. Studies show that brainstorms are far more productive after a brisk 15 minute walk.
7. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS
Discover something new, go somewhere you’ve never been before, or try something different like bungee jumping or new food. These experiences will open your mind to new possibilities and boost your creativity tenfold.
8. TAKE IN ART AND CULTURE
Use your summer holiday to indulge in creative pursuits. Even if you aren’t a photographer, wander the streets with your camera, visit art galleries, try your hand at drawing or painting. Listen to music and try music you wouldn’t normally choose. Look for street art. Soak up the culture of foreign countries. These are all fantastic ways to release your creative energy and by observing and immersing yourself in the arts, you’ll feel inspired.
Lay in. Sleep on the beach. Snooze in your own back garden. Allow your brain to restore the proper levels of serotonin. Avoid too much caffeine or booze before bedtime as this may interrupt your deepest non-REM sleep, that the mind and body needs most.
Play bat and ball on the beach, play with your children, horse around with non-competitive sports and activities. However you play, it will free up your mind, relax you and encourage you to take reasonable risk without fear of mistakes. Being creative is not being afraid to take risks. Some ideas will work and other won’t. Playing is a behaviour that is underused in adult society and your summer holiday is the perfect opportunity to indulge.