13 Creativity-Inducing Items If You're Stuck In A Rut

Here's what you need to get those creative juices flowing.
Colored pens, a cross stitch kit and "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron
Amazon, Etsy
Colored pens, a cross stitch kit and "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron

Why is it that inspiration always seems to leave us when we need it most? I find that I get writer’s block the moment I begin to feel a sense of urgency and the only solution is to lie down for an hour and simmer in a state of dread.

Deadlines, time crunches and other daily stressors can zap us of our creative juices, leaving us scrambling to conjure up a whiff of cleverness. Whether you work in a creative field or like to employ creative problem-solving in your daily life, there are ways to induce creativity when you find yourself in a rut.

All of us have moments when we need a little help restarting our engines, and luckily there are books, activities and organizational items that can help to fan the flames of creativity when we need it most. Below, I’ve rounded up items that my colleagues at HuffPost and I turn to when we need to kick-start a creative thinking session. Pick a few up for yourself and be ready next time you hit a wall.

HuffPost may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

WalkingPad folding treadmill
"I hate to be That Girl, but I am here to tell you that my walking pad is my secret to a more productive day. Nothing puts my brain in a state of flow like moving (research backs this up, too!). You don't even need to go at a quick pace; I typically put it on 2 or 3 mph and find it's sufficient enough without sacrificing my ability to type. If I need to go into problem-solving mode or need to brainstorm, you'll likely find me walking while doing it. If you've been looking for a reason to justify investing in a desk treadmill, take this as your sign." — Lindsay Holmes, senior editor at HuffPost
"The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron
If you're feeling stuck in a major way, then it might be time to turn to Julia Cameron's classic creativity-inducing workbook. I've worked my way through it a few times in my life, and each time found that it gives me a new outlook on how I approach both my creative work and my life in general. It's a gentle, affirming and nearly foolproof way to restart a relationship to creativity and understand our creative needs.
"Snacking Cakes" by Yossy Arefi
"I like to bake my stress away so sometimes I just blindly open to a page and make whatever is there... and if it's something I don't usually make I always feel like a creative artiste. My own collection is extremely random but I have been wanting to get my hands on 'Snacking Cakes' by Yossy Arefi... It seems pretty ideal for stress baking purposes." — Jackie Tenreiro, video producer at HuffPost
A tomato-shaped wind-up timer
I've found that when I'm really struggling, the pomodoro technique can come in really handy. It was invented in the '80s to help increase productivity, and it's especially helpful if you're someone who finds themselves getting distracted easily. This cute timer is a fun way to stay on top of time management and add a bit of pizzazz to your desktop.
Papier Wonder daily planner
“I’m the type of person who errs on the side of meticulous organization, and unless this is squared away, I am simply incapable of getting the creative ball rolling. Having a detailed planner like this one from Papier that I buy myself every year has been such a great way to not only map out my days and weeks, but to jot down creative ideas and concepts alongside my tasks. It has truly induced my productivity and it doesn’t hurt that it also looks gorgeous on my desk. The interior features daily planning pages with ample room for notes, weekly overviews and a mind map section that’s great for just putting ideas on paper without crowding other spaces in the planner.” — Tessa Flores, shopping writer at Huffpost
Etsy Stitch Happy embroidery kit
As many have mentioned, stepping away from the task at hand for a bit can be a great way to release stress that is holding your creativity back. But if all you do is pick up the phone and scroll, then it's a pointless activity! I love busying my hands with embroidery and similar crafts to help clear my mind without the distraction of screens. This kit from Etsy is great for beginners and will look beautiful on display.
Jumpsport fitness rebounder trampoline
There's nothing like a quick cardio session to free the mind of roadblocks! I am forever devoted to my mini trampoline. It's the only cardio my knees can handle these days, and even just jumping for a few minutes can completely change my headspace and help me feel renewed and downright happy. The endorphins are real! I live in a very small apartment and strongly believe it's worth the space it takes up. The legs can easily be taken off and it can be hidden under a bed or slid behind a couch or in the back of a closet. It's strong, sturdy and ultra-fun.
A label maker
"I bought this label maker and label freaking everything with it, but I made labels for different craft items so I can see them all more easily and I think it makes me more creative and inspired!" — Lydia O'Connor, senior reporter at HuffPost
A vintage-style wildflower puzzle
"Puzzles are also a really nice way to shut off your brain for a while, which sometimes is necessary when you're in a creative rut! Sometimes I have one going for several days/weeks, and when I'm feeling antsy or uncreative at work, I'll leave my desk for a few and try to match a couple of pieces, then when I return that sentence I was stuck on so obvious." — O'Connor
Apple AirPods Pro
"I am notoriously bad about coming up with ideas in any space designed specifically for coming up with ideas. At my desk? Nope. In a conference room? Not a chance. To get my mind to really crack open, I need to be on a walk with a bit of a distraction — like a playlist full of my favorite songs pumped into my ears via my trusty AirPod Pros. Thirty minutes outside and nine songs later, I almost always have found my inspiration or the answer to whatever creative dilemma I was trying to solve." — Noah Michelson, senior editorial manager at HuffPost
A beginner knitting kit at Etsy
Like the embroidery kit, knitting can be a lovely way to occupy your hands and free the mind. I love to light a candle, put on soft music and get to knitting when I need a break and to feel restored and renewed. This kit includes two skeins of wool-blend yarn, a pair of bamboo knitting needles, a jumbo yarn needle, a written pattern and access to an extensive video library.
A lettering and calligraphy guide for beginners
Journaling is a fabulous way to let it all out on paper and then see what comes up organically. I struggle to stay on top of my journaling practice, largely in part, I'm embarrassed to admit, because of my atrocious handwriting. But after some prodding from my therapist, I'm excited to get back into it with the help of a calligraphy set. Not only will the act of practicing lettering and calligraphy be a wonderful outlet on its own, but it's a great way to motivate a journaling practice as well.
Paper Mate Flair felt-tip pens
"I color-code my to-do lists with certain colors of pens — certain colors mean urgency and others make me feel more freedom. Red is urgent and green is the fun stuff, obviously." — Kristen Aiken, head of Life and Commerce at HuffPost

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