1. Do something physicalIdeally something that doesn’t allow you to multi-task or think about anything else. Think exercise, such as strength training, yoga, Feldenkrais, etc.
2. Do choresMonotonous chores that allow the mind to roam are just the thing. Cleaning, ironing, picking berries, weeding the garden, you get the idea.
3. Start craftingCrafts such as knitting and crocheting, quilting and doing crossword puzzles, drawing and baking, also affect the brain positively.
4. Switch gearsThat’s right. Instead of sitting hours on end in front of the computer, switch it up with a different type of task.
5. Learn something newMath, chemistry, a new language. When the left brain is occupied, the right brain has room to roam. I was never as creative as when I studied chemistry in high school or attended a lecture at the university! In fact, why not attend a lecture now?
6. Use the other side of the bodyIf you are right-handed, pick up that pot or brush your hair with the left hand instead, and vice versa if you are left-handed. Also consider cross-lateral movements, where arms and legs cross over the midline as in touching the right elbow to the left knee and reverse.
7. Do nothingAka sit-in-the-shade-watching-the-clouds-go-by. Self-explanatory.
8. Change environments and go someplace newThis can be done on a smaller scale as in taking a different route to work or visit a different part of town, or on a larger scale as in traveling someplace new. One gets a new perspective on things while sitting poolside in Florida or walking the cobblestone streets of Europe instead of driving to work back home in the Midwest.
9. Travel by plane, train, or busNot as the driver, but as a passenger looking out the window enjoying the view.
You may notice that most of these tips build on allowing the left brain to rest from constant input and the right brain to roam freely, more important than ever in today's world of ever increasing streams of information.
However, if you are used to always being connected, you may need a period of digital detox before you can comfortably harness the creative energy gained from these tasks. And no, there’s not an app for that!
Scientific American. Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime. Oct 15, 2013.
CNN, This is your brain on crafting. Updated Jan 5, 2015.