It’s been so long since I wrote. I am one of those people who sort of fall off the face of the earth when I start to feel overwhelmed. It’s been quite a stressful year so far… I can’t believe it’s already almost halfway through March!
I thought I’d write today about something that I found helps me when I feel stressed. Doing artsy things. Last year, one of my clients had gotten me to make infographics for the articles I was writing for her, something that I am still doing for her, and I am not a graphic designer.
This simple task freaked me out when it turned out that she didn’t like something I had made. Nobody likes to have someone think that something they worked hard on is crap, and I felt so out of my depth since this wasn’t something I was trained to do. But I rarely will back down from a challenge that I consider worth it, and learning a new skill, totally worth it!
So naturally, the next time I had to make one, I was feeling apprehensive and a little demotivated. But I pushed through and found the strangest thing happening. Working with the colours and trying to make something awesome looking was actually calming me down.
Over the last few months, I thought about it from time to time and realised that art relieves my stress and anxiety. Mostly, I reach for my guitar when I find that nothing else helps to de-stress me. Exercise is my other go to, but when that fails, my guitar is my saving grace.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed with everything that I need to do and I suppose life gets in the way. I don’t always want to play my guitar on those days, and sometimes I don’t manage to “pep talk” myself into it, but on the days that I do, I find myself in a state of bliss and then it’s a struggle to get me to put my guitar down.
I will just play some random chords, pick the strings and sing a prayer if I am super stressed out, or just play some songs that I really like, and I have a great time. Another thing I enjoy doing sometimes is using an app I found where you can colour pictures in. For my birthday, my parents and brother got me a colouring book and I enjoy listening to podcasts while I colour in.
When I was a teenager, I would draw, I wasn’t great, but I did okay. I wasn’t always comfortable expressing my feelings back then, instead, playing my guitar or drawing was how I expressed myself. I never showed anyone the drawings, honestly, they were often morbid, but sometimes I would draw happy things, things that inspired me, and I was just way too embarrassed or shy to show anyone.
For years, I have been using creativity as a way to express myself and to get my stress out of my mind and body, and out onto paper or I suppose, the air :p I also write in journals, yes, journals. I have 3, one for my jumbled morning thoughts, one to write about all the things that I am grateful for (I do that every night), and one that I write in whenever I need to check my goals, progress, and think through action plans.
I even briefly tried some poetry. I usually write songs, but poetry seemed like a good thing to try. I am pretty shy about it, and after the need went, I stopped, but here is what I wrote. Last year was a good year, but very stressful too and it really helped me. So whether what I wrote was good or not, it’s out there for better or worse.
Of course, I felt the effects of using art in my life, but I decided to see whether it actually is a real thing. Turns out that art is even helpful in healing people as well as reducing stress and anxiety. You can check it out in this study here.
Next time you feel stressed out or anxious, why not try writing, or dancing, singing, painting, etc, whatever your chosen art form is. If you have never tried to do anything artsy in your life, maybe now is a good time to try something new. Even if you aren’t stressed out, creating something beautiful is so satisfying and freeing.
If you are worried about what people think or that you will make a mess of it, don’t let that stop you. You never know you could be great at it and even if you aren’t you could end up really enjoying yourself anyway 🙂