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26 Jun 2024

Creativity Every Day: Wellbeing in a time when it is needed most

Even in times of increased stress, the simple but powerful act of creative play can be a circuit breaker. It can change your perspective, connect you with the people around you, and give a sense of release from the daily pressures.

Teams of people across the Te Pūkenga tertiary education network have been engaging with Creative Waikato’sCreativity Every Day programme as part of their network-wide wellbeing challenge. Utilising their Synergy app-based wellbeing service people have been engaging with a hand-picked range of creative activities to support positive wellbeing outcomes.

Craig Bulloch, the Kaikōkiri Hauora | Wellbeing and Occupational Health Lead for Te Pūkenga, is enthusiastic when talking about the measurable impact it is having on him, his team, and the wider organisational staff. He even highlighted the range of people taking part – from teaching and operational staff across the country, all the way through to the executive leadership team. And while they are also going through a stressful process of the disestablishment of the network. 

When asked how the engagement has been going, “It’s been brilliant!” he shared, also reflecting on how the timing had been perfect for the team.

“With what we are going through at the moment with the disestablishment, it provides a moment of relief, and some time for play, and whakawhanaungatanga. This is so important around the connection for your own wellbeing, but also getting to know the people that you spend a lot of time with on a daily basis.”

Throughout the discussion it seemed clear that there was real value this programme has provided in people working through “a time of change and a time of uncertainty.” While things are unknown, the Creativity Every Day activities are helping people through.

“It’s giving people that time to connect and reconnect and get to know each other and realise that we’re all human.”

While this enthusiasm seems like it might be coming from someone who was a natural creative, Craig shared that he was more of a sceptic coming into this. “Honestly, hand on heart, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I do.” He understood the value of running and physical activity, but only considered including creativity in the programme because others had asked for something different and he just heard about the recently launched Creativity Every Day programme and it seemed like it might be an easy way to address that need. 

It seems that even though they are only three weeks in, this programme is having a massive impact.

“The last three weeks have changed me.” He didn’t know if he would be able to actually engage with creative activities but now this is something he feels is a useful and accessible skill. “I’m getting the same feeling from this as I do if I get up for a run, or a ride, or whatever else.” Even though there are layers of stress through work and personal things, Creativity Every Day “is the pressure release, the valve that you can use to know that I can just  be me.”

Engaging as a team in these activities is a multifaceted icebreaker that both “lets you have fun and everything like that, but it also gives you permission to have these other conversations with people as well, because you’re more connected.” 

And this feeling isn’t just limited to the time spent doing the activity. The residual effects flow through the rest of the week and beyond. The activities are “good for the soul” and the experience of the activities are starting to be embedded in a range of other activities in the workplace and beyond.

Craig shared that the activities also flow into playful creativity with his son. It is a fun way to connect. But this also is serving as a supplement for his regular running practice which had been interrupted due to injury. 

“I’ve been told that I pretty much have to give up running for some time and I now can’t be as physical as I used to be, but I need a mental outlet somewhere. I have found that these activities I can sort of tag in and utilise it because it feels like I’m getting the same hit from all of this, as I was from a 20 to 30 minute run. That is pretty cool.”

For Craig, his teammates, and others in the Te Pūkenga network, these Creativity Every Day activities have been a ‘light bulb moment’ about the potential of creativity as a lifelong activity. “Even though you are having that fun. There is also a serious underpinning as well that this is for your wellbeing. And I think it’s now we’re in week three, people are having that realisation that, ‘hey, this is good for me!’.”

Even for people who thought “I’m not really creative” or “this isn’t really for me” if they give it a chance they are finding positive results. 

Craig had “never really heard about being creative as being good for your wellbeing” but he credits the Creative Waikato programme as being a great way to start.

Highlights of the resource include: “Just the right length of time, a great amount of information, and enough leeway in each activity to be creative enough for yourself. It is not a prescriptive process – there is space to explore and image and that has been great!”

That space can perhaps be a little awkward for people where “you are stepping outside of your comfort zone”, but Craig thinks that is one of the “cool bits”. A space of personal development. A space of growth and pride to do new things. 

That has encouraged people to embrace uncertainty and feel more confident in that space of growth and development. “I know that that’s what they’ve done, because you sort of start seeing them grow in this short amount of time that we’ve been doing it.” There is recognisable personal and professional growth and development over even just three short weeks of engagement with the programme.

And looking to the future, Craig shared that this is more than a one time experiment. “There are so many resources, so my team is going to continue doing this.” These activities are “part of a healthy lifestyle”. For Craig, he would like to see the wellbeing team continue sharing this as an option for people to connect with. 

The resources also expand into other usage. “These will be good for facilitating our mental health first aid programmes. I can use these activities as a great energiser. A way to support the facilitation and help people through that process.” This is an ongoing and future engagement. 

“We’re going to be doing this every week and I’m going to continue wherever I end up, this will be something that I’ll be taking with me. This is something that  I’ve seen working as a good activity to bring people together, and I think it’s hugely  important and powerful in getting to know people.” 


Creativity Every Day is a workplace wellbeing programme developed by Creative Waikato that celebrates artistic activity as a way to unlock the power of creativity for daily use. This innovative programme is research-informed and offers practical prompts and resources guided by a broad array of talented Waikato creatives. The programme has been developed to help people instil regular creative habits with a vision for encouraging positive productivity and innovative thinking.

To find out more, and sign up, go to: https://creativewaikato.co.nz/creativityeveryday 

For more information about the project, or to arrange an appointment, contact Creative Waikato on hello@creativewaikato.co.nz or 0508 427 892.