At various points in my own journey, I've found it incredibly therapeutic to put some time aside to do something creative; as a form of release, mindfulness, self healing and expression.
You don't even need to actually be good at anything creative or naturally artistic to feel the benefits. Some of you will no doubt have experienced the freedom of 'doodling'; letting your pen move freely and mindlessly!
My chosen methods of expression and clearing the mind through creativity are mostly through writing and painting. I actually tend to go through phases where I'm more productive in one area then the other, for my own enjoyment/therapy. If I have a deadline or specific project then it's obviously different!
When I have gone through deep pain or trauma; I have actually found by really digging deep, making myself work through and release the emotions, I have produced the most inspired creative outcomes.
It can be difficult to begin with, when you are feeling low or going through emotional difficulties; to even find the motivation to 'create', but if you can 'push yourself' to give it a try, it is really worthwhile. At times I have just felt the urge to release what I'm feeling and initially scribbled down just a few words. Then later I've made much more sense of the subject, idea or feeling and actually transferred it into poetry or lyrics.
With my artwork, I have often felt the urge to paint but have had no idea what I feel like actually painting. In these instances I can then be drawn to a certain canvas and particular colours. A background to cover the canvas will usually emerge first of all, and then when I really manage to clear and relax the mind and just allow the paintbrush to flow naturally; some wonderful images can develop. However, it wouldn't necessarily matter whether a beautiful painting is eventually created or not; the healing is in the actual releasing, expression and relaxation time.
If you already have a creative hobby (perhaps one that you've really neglected of late); see this as a big nudge to make time to do what you enjoy once more. That time out for yourself and clearing the mind will very likely help you to achieve much more overall in other areas of your life; including all of those mundane tasks you've been putting off or are overwhelmed by!
If you like the idea of being creative in some way but don't really know where to start, try some of these suggestions to begin with and then see where it naturally leads you:
1. Take a notebook and pen into the garden or a nearby park, see if anything catches your eye and inspires you; write down even just a few words or thoughts.
2. Make yourself sit and focus on some 'colouring in' with one of your children or get an adult colouring book yourself (this can become a form or meditation if you let it).
3. Get hold of a sketchbook or canvases and using whatever medium you are drawn to, just start putting some colour onto the surface. Even the act of choosing or using a particular colour can be very healing. It may then lead into something more.
4. Find an item you find interesting in the house or something in nature with lots of patterns, different shapes or lines and then try to express that either in a design on paper or a line drawing with pen or pencil.
5. Find some materials with different textures, colours, reflective surfaces, natural items etc and create an inspired collage or weaving (if the materials are appropriate).
6. Consider joining an online course to learn a new craft skill or ask a friend who you know is already creative, to point you in the right direction or let you watch them work for some initial inspiration.
7. Take some photographs of what brings you joy out and about or around you and either create a positive montage to display or get some printed onto items such as cushions or canvases to brighten up your surroundings.
8. Most of all, just go with the flow, make it fun; don't be over concerned with the finished item and enjoy the process of creation!
Don't underestimate just how therapeutic and healing some form of creativity can be. I try to do something creative most days and it really is a wonderful tool for maintaining good mental wellbeing.
If you are completely lacking motivation, energy or joy for anything in life, you could be experiencing depression or another form of mental illness. It may also just be that it is time for you to take action and make some necessary changes! Make sure you check out the help pages for national and local resources of support or get in touch for further signposting.
Wishing you all the best on your creative and healing journey. - Louise V. Fowler
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