These last few months, I’ve had so much time to myself. The time seems to only expand and I’m not mad about it at all.
Because of all of this time, I am able to process and create more, which has been SUCH a blessing in a time where there is so much uncertainty.
Quarantine and job layoffs sound terrifying. Yet, for me, they’ve created space to slow down in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. I know for others, these two things have been the result of immense stress, fear, and even depression. Because I am single and live with two friends, my life has not been affected so severely as others may have. This isn’t to make light of anyone else’s experiences that have financially, mentally, and even spiritually displaced SO many people all over the world.
Speaking from personal experience, my quarantine and my recent job layoff have served as a launchpad for me to create more and do more self-work with God, developing better habits, that in the rush of life I wasn’t taking the time to do.
As a result, my creativity feels as if it is blossoming in unforeseen ways and so is my mental health. These two things coincide deeply for me and I wanted to share with you three ways the two are intricately connected.
What is Mental Health
According to Google, mental health is the, “is the level of psychological (emotional, social, and physical well-being; or an absence of mental illness. It is the state of someone who is “functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral improvement”.
These moments we find ourselves in as a nation can easily lend themselves to stress, fear/anxiety, and even trauma. As creative people, it is imperative to be aware of how we are feeling emotionally, mentally, physically, and even spiritually. All of these things coincide with one another and affect our ability to create and produce effectively.
Three Ways Mental Health & Creativity Coincide
Self-Awareness | There is a beautiful quote by Iyanla Vanzant which says, “The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination… until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.”
One of the ways I practice self-awareness is through writing. As a writer, not only do I write to share stories, create poems, and use fiction and prose as a way to understand life–I write to understand myself.
Writing, specifically with pen and paper is one of the most calming things I can do when I feel frazzled, confused, or any muddle of emotions. Sitting in silence is also another way I practice self-awareness. Some mornings, I grab a pillow, sit on my floor, and for 3 minutes (I’m starting out small) I sit will my eyes closed, breathe in and out deeply, and I focus on how I’m feeling. I listen to the sounds around me and sometimes focus on God without mentally scheduling my tasks for the day or thinking about yesterday and what I didn’t complete.
There is an article on Entrepreneur.com about 12 Self-Awareness techniques. Check out this list and see what you can get started with today.
Self-Care| Self-care comes in many forms and ways individual to each person. For me self-care can be reading, watching TV, exercising, or lying on the floor in my room doing absolutely nothing.
Over the years, I have learned that proper self-care goes hand in hand with self-awareness. When I am aware of how I’m feeling mentally, emotionally, and even physically I can better gauge what I need and what I do not. Self-care is more than mere pampering but is the totality of caring for one’s self.
Creation | My last point on creativity and mental health is the “act of creation” itself. In a world that makes creativity a commodity, it is so easy to forget that creativity is a form of self-expression shown through various mediums that can be used to tell a story, create worlds, and help humanity better understand humanity. For me, as a creative person–I understand the difference between creating for profit or for an audience versus creating for fun and for the pleasure of creating.
Many people who are creators and make money from what they do now, first started out as someone in love with a craft (music, dance, painting, sketching, poetry, etc.). I am convinced that most successful artists began the work they do out of the mere drive and the insatiable need to create because, without it, life would be different, maybe even unbearable.
For the sake of mental health, all creators have to remember why we started doing the thing we love in the first place. We must not make the passion, passionless.
How does creativity & mental health come together for you? I would love to know how you connect the two in your own creative journey. Let me know in the comments.
a writer learning how to be a mentally healthy creator,
If you like this blog post, watch my YouTube video “Creativity & Mental Health” where I go deeper into the three points I made above.
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For all of the poetry fans, check out my debut poetry book For Wonder in the Wilderness. Purchases can be made on Amazon. The Kindle book is $4.99 and the paperback is $10.99.
Stay Creative, beloveds!
*Featured Photo by 91 Magazine on Unsplash.com