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These Entrepreneurs Are Making Space For Creating While Prioritizing Mental Health

Some of us are taking this opportunity of time and space by the reins.

Human Interest

During my time in quarantine, I've noticed that it's been a bit on the difficult side of the spectrum to develop consistent content when all I hear is "coronavirus this" and "COVID-19 that" all over the news and in the blogs.

As a journalist and creative, I've had tons of conversations with my fellow creative friends and realized that the pandemic is pushing us out of our comfort zone to think outside of the box for content aside from popular Tik Tok challenges and #QuarantineBae hashtag followings.

While some of us may be struggling and holding onto our creativity by our edges, some are taking this opportunity of time and space by the reins.

The Art of Ebb and Flow

Others are taking life day-by-day and allowing their ideas and inspiration to blossom naturally. "I've really allowed my creativity to ebb and flow naturally. I think the goal should be to prioritize balance and to lean into your own timing, without allowing the pressure to produce constantly consume you," Imani Ellis, founder of CultureCon and the Creative Collective NYC, shares with xoNecole. With the stay-at-home orders here in New York City, Ellis has been able to take full advantage by kickstarting a new program for The CCNYC. "I'm really proud of the Creative Curriculum virtual workshop series we launched recently. It allows creatives from our community to teach tangible skills from the comfort of their couch and it's been inspiring to see that we're still staying connected, especially during such daunting times."

YouTube Is Your Bestie

Actress and fellow creative Andrea Lewis turns to technology and app recommendations to keep her creative skills sharpen and on-point during quarantine. "Idillionaire App is one of my favorites for reminding me to be grateful and giving you positivity updates everyday. But I always recommend using Skillshare and YouTube to learn anything you want!" shares the filmmaker, Degrassi alumna and Toronto-born entertainer. "Especially in this time, when most people are looking to make some changes to either their careers or themselves, both of these sites can give you the best quick education that you need. I go to YouTube for everything."

Andrea also encourages creatives to not succumb to the pressure of joining other social media platforms if they aren't in your niche lane. "I encouraged most of my friends to stick to the work that they've already been working on. Further develop the scripts you've already started writing, edit the videos that you've been sitting on, just sit and daydream about the type of work you want to create right now but don't feel pressure to release it tomorrow. Maintain the audience that you already have, because just like you, they aren't going anywhere so don't feel the pressures of needing to hustle while being in the middle of a PANDEMIC!"

Keep Your Juices Flowing

For a lot of us, as the days roll by, they begin to blend together more times than none. Keeping organized and being on top of your daily tasks is an integral part of remaining sane and staying on top of your creative game. When it comes to allowing your creative juices to flow, award-winning millennial tech speaker, consultant and artist Alex Wolf has the perfect remedy. "Some of my favorite things to do to keep my creative juices flowing are listening to Ari Lennox, opening up all my Pinterest boards on my desktop computer (versus my laptop), go online window shopping, text my random ideas to my group chats," shares the Creative Business School founder.

During the stay-at-home order circling the nation, Wolf has even successfully developed a new program for her online platform. "[During this time,] I think I'm most proud of the audience calculator we made for my online education platform, Creative Business School," she shares. "The calculator is 100% free and for creators who are starting to realize trying to get a million followers just to make pennies from AdShare is not enough. You pop five answers in and it shows you how much extra money you could be making if you converted only 1% of your audience by selling your own product. I haven't met a creative that takes it and isn't shocked about what's possible for them."

Have a Good Balance

Alex Wolf has been on top of her creative game, but what about the rest of us who may feel pressure to overwork ourselves because we're not keeping up with the other accomplishments and dope things we see on Instagram? "To avoid overworking, on Sundays when I set up my week, I always give myself days I set aside for work and days I set aside for relaxing, you have to have a good balance," says social media influencer and YouTuber Tyla-Lauren Gilmore. She also shares her tips and tricks to avoiding laziness and keeping your work ethic strong. "To avoid underworking I'm constantly on Pinterest and YouTube looking for inspiration to keep me motivated to create."

Take a Pause

I don't know about you ladies, but this pandemic is a time to practice stillness and being OK with resting instead of creating at every single second of the day. On-air talent and podcast host of Black Girl Podcast Gia Peppers says, "All in all, this is a traumatic time. Give yourself grace to take a moment to be, instead of always having to do. I've used a lot of this time [so far] to check in with myself. I've been doing a lot of meditating, praying, and reconfiguring parts of myself I may have ignored during busier seasons in my life."

During this time, the VH1's Black Girl Beauty host shares that she has been giving herself time and navigating how and what she wants to create. "I want to make sure I'm not rushing the dream God has for me, and for any creatives who feel the same, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a creative process that develops from the inside out. Take the pause you need to, if you need it. Your future self will thank you. Pausing is an absolute privilege that I am aware that I have."

Recenter and Take a Moment

Kéla Walker has been in quarantine under stay-at-home orders like the rest of us, but has a different outlook on the idea of being forced to create content under pressure. "I don't think it's forcing creatives to create more content so much as it's forcing us back to our roots, back to the basics [and] remember why we became creatives," the seven-time Emmy-nominated media maven enlightens xoNecole, "Allowing us to tap into that creative center to produce and leverage our skills, and now do more with less. It's also pushed me to create more content to help and encourage others."

When it comes to her own content development, Walker says it's all about recentering. "My mind has been all over the place since being at home for this extended period of time. One minute I'm working on something and then the next I feel like something else deserves my attention. It's like I'm being pulled in multiple directions, going nowhere fast. That's when I have to just take a moment to pause and recenter."

Featured image via @tylauren/Instagram

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