“The advice I’d give to somebody that’s silently struggling is, you don’t have to live that way. You don’t have to struggle in silence. You can be un-silent. You can live well with a mental health condition, as long as you open up to somebody about it, because it’s really important you share your experience with people so that you can get the help that you need.” ~ Demi Lovato
Welcome to Episode 88: How Creatives Manage Mental Health ...
Sadly, the nature of the artistic industry -- with its economic precarity, critiques, and “winner takes all” reward structure -- can contribute to a heck of a lot of anxiety, depression, isolation, and stress. But thanks to the dismantling of discomfort around discussing mental health issues, it’s becoming less taboo to talk about these troubles we as creatives have been experiencing. (Alongside everyone else.) I feel that the link between mental health and creativity is ever so poorly understood.
So, today I wanted to keep things short and light with 12 tips to inspire you in your own pursuit of creativity, calm, and clarity.
Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!
During last week’s “untangling” episode we talked about the new era of mental health, and we want to piggyback off that while today solely focusing on the mental health of those living the creative life.
Did you know that the average person has over 50,000 thoughts in just a single day?
Most people tend to think of creativity in the realm of the arts, such as designing, writing, painting, sculpting, or composing original works. But that’s a pretty limited definition of the term. That’s besides the point, and perhaps a topic for another day ...
As a creative individual, I find that my mental health directly impacts my life in an overwhelming number of ways. When I’m not feeling my best, my ability to work, come up with originally creative ideas, prioritize and maintain balance, all tend to suffer.
Not to mention, the quality of my work suffers. And since a large part of my identity is tied to my creative output, things can quickly spiral out of control.
As someone who makes a living from creativity, I cannot afford to go down that path. Not now. Not ever. But of course, everyone has bad days here and there. But I’m talking about spending weeks or even months in a state of anxiety, languish, boredom, and indifference, unable to find even an ounce of motivation or inspiration to do the #AllTheThings that used to once bring you joy. This was something I found many in my niche dealing with during those awful pandemic lockdown days …
And I’ve also been there (more times than once!) and trust me, it’s not fun.
Sadly, the nature of the artistic industry -- with its economic precarity, critiques, and “winner takes all” reward structure -- can contribute to a heck of a lot of anxiety, depression, isolation, and stress.
All across the world, there are a plethora of people still working from home and self-isolating, sometimes in complete solitude. And this solitary nature of freelance work (pre- and post-pandemic) is now something that many of us are facing, and the strains of that work can have a detrimental effect on your mental health.
The fact is, staying productive and motivated can be a huge challenge when you are faced with a crisis. A pandemic is a very stressful event, and it’s normal to feel some stress and anxiety, and that stress can be amplified by your work or home environment while you’re social distancing from others.
For hundreds of years, we’ve oddly accepted the belief that creativity is connected the burden of an unsound mind. Countless members of the creative industry have been burning out and in the most tragic of cases, taken their own lives because the way the industry has often functioned – quickly, demanding, and stressfully -- has left little room for some of the most admirable talents to find peace during the creative process, let alone while they’re enduring the taxing aspects of entrepreneurship and in recent events with the global pandemic.
But thanks to the dismantling of discomfort around discussing mental health issues, it’s becoming less taboo to talk about these troubles we as creatives have been experiencing. (Alongside everyone else.) I feel that the link between mental health and creativity is ever so poorly understood.
So, today I want to keep things short and light, in hopes to inspire your own pursuit of creativity, calm and clarity, with 12 tips on how you can better manage, cope with, and nurture your mental health.
And most important of all, challenge the idea that prioritizing one’s mental health and well-being somehow dims creativity. This is far from the truth!
There’s a lot of joy that can be found living a creative life. After all, that’s why we do it in the first place! When that dreaded tunnel vision sets in, it’s super easy to lose sight of the creative process and instead focus on a finished product. So, it’s ever so important to constantly remind yourself of your progress -- looking at where you were before and how far you’ve come, while of course, daydreaming of where you want to go to next. Sometimes giving yourself that well-deserved pat on the back goes a long way …
Every day is going to be different, and some days you just simply will not have the drive to do anything. And that’s okay.
We just need to remember that it’s okay not to be okay all the time. So, when you do have some time to yourself or need a solid break, think of the long-awaited projects you’ve wanted to explore. Maybe it’s finally time to start that podcast you’ve been put off … Or that book you’ve had in the back of your brain … Or maybe you can simply catch up on your business administration and organize for the future. Whatever your dreams and goals all, don’t let your creativity hinder … and keep believing in yourself!
Stay tuned for next week’s Digital Glue “untangling” episode as a side twist today’s where we’ll be talking about 10 Tips for Dealing with Creative Burnout.