By Stephanie Christie
Creative Development & Creative Coach at Creative Waikato
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Doing arts activities can support anybody’s wellbeing. And for some of us, creativity is a vital – even non-negotiable – part of mental health.
Being in the creative space gives us a connection with ourselves. It allows us to be present, without the normal life worries for a bit. It can feel like a physical relief. And for some of us, it staves off the decay of meaning, and stops us becoming really really annoying…Who wouldn’t want that?
Unfortunately, it can be hard to do our normal creative activities when we’re stressed. We can be ‘all or nothing’ about it: Either it’s our usual (often demanding) creative practice, or else we’re avoiding it, working harder at everything else, and secretly feeling more and more useless.
If this is you…Good news! You can access the mental health benefits of creativity by doing anything that will take you into the creative space. This means that even when you feel you don’t have it in you to do your creative work, you can still give yourself many of the benefits of being creative. (This is a lot better than none).
You may want to pick something that’s totally different from what you usually do. Decorate cupcakes! Doodle. Play only the black keys on the piano (life hack). Make a collage. Do interpretive dance…anything that takes you into that magical creative zone.
For example, I’ve been making paper flowers, which is a long way from my usual practice. Mostly it involves me hot-gluing crepe paper to my fingertips. But it lets me access the creative space, connect with myself, and be present. And it doesn’t demand more of me than I’ve currently got.
It may be hard for you to do something that you don’t see as ‘productive’, especially if you’re already feeling ‘full up’. You can counteract this by declaring: Time in the creative space is valuable for my well being.
Use your creativity to come up with things that you can do, to take you into the creative zone without exhausting you.
Even in challenging times, you can access the creative space. It will do you good.
Stephanie is available for free creative coaching sessions through Creative Waikato. To book yours – contact email@example.com