Why being creative helps my mental health
Laurie talks about the positive benefits she's felt from taking time out to write and doing something creative
Now more than ever, we all need an outlet. Times are tough, and the uncertainty of everything going on in the world is bound to get to us. Following the temporary distraction of Christmas and joyful celebrations, some of us may experience a slump in our mood or a lack of motivation as we return to “real life.” I know that personally I tend to find myself feeling a little blue after the holidays.
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of things to help with low moods or feelings of anxiety. Healthy eating and exercise, counselling, meditation. Although all of these practices have helped, I’ve always found that writing - or any sort of creative expression - is the one thing that truly distracts and relaxes me. It brings me a sense of focus, taking me out of my everyday life and sometimes helping me enter an almost zen-like state.
When we think of the “arts” we might think of dancers or painters, the typical image of an “artist”. However, creativity isn’t just limited to things like writing, painting, or singing. It can be anything that engages your brain and gets the creative juices flowing. It could be putting together outfits you love or redecorating a room in your house. It could even be coming up with a zoom quiz to do with your friends or playing an engaging video game. Everyone has their own unique interests, and the idea of “creation” can mean different things to different people.
The benefits of doing something creative
I think there’s a very specific sense of mindfulness that comes from getting lost in an activity you truly enjoy, one that requires critical thinking and artistic expression of any kind. There’s also nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment you get when you can step back and look at a completed project, knowing the time and energy you put into it has paid off. I think this is excellent for your self-esteem and sense of self.
Arts can also be a great source of community. Whatever your interests are, there’s bound to be a group of people out there who share them, and with social media it’s easier than ever to connect. At the moment, we all need social circles and communities that we can lean on and turn to.
Take some time out to enjoy yourself
The arts can sometimes get a bad reputation in today’s world. But by broadening our definition of what the “arts” are, we can open up a world of possibilities that can benefit our overall health and happiness. So, if you’re feeling stressed or down, consider putting some of your free time into a creative project - whatever that might mean to you. Whether it’s painting a picture, knitting a jumper, cooking a meal, or even designing a spreadsheet, the boundaries of “creativity” are unlimited, and the benefits are endless.