If you’re anything like me and the majority of people I have met who work in the creative industries you struggle with your fair share of mental health issues.
Even if this hasn’t been directly diagnosed all of us sail through the ordinary waves of the arts world from the ebbing beginning of an idea, drifting into the creation all the way to its presentation, rising to our fullest heights before crashing back down after the event, before discovering what we should pursue next.
The natural rise and fall of The Arts Business.
January tends to form one of these lows, whether the darkness and cold of the outside world rears its ugly head in the form of Seasonal Affective Disorder or our winter projects have come to their expected close and now, armed with our New Year’s Resolutions we’re out to seize 2022 but with little idea of where exactly to start.
It is therefore important to nurture yourself through these times.
So here are the places you can start!
I’m not gonna lie, I find this one incredibly difficult. I’m a food girl and when I’m sad or angry all I want is a family-sized packet of cheesy Doritos, a 200g bar of Galaxy and a glass of red wine.
But truthfully, when I’m counting calories, following a diet plan or consciously eating less doughnuts and more vegetables, I do genuinely feel better, both mentally and physically.
I think it’s to do with taking control of my actions. By having control of that small part of my life it allows me to gain more control of everything else.
I’m also slightly overweight (although aren’t we all after Christmas… and coronavirus), and being lighter gives me so much more energy along with such a great sense of achievement it is difficult not to feel happier.
Although it’s not all about what appears on those scales. It’s more about creating a healthier lifestyle and making smarter food choices. So, next time you’re at Maccies and you order yourself a Big Mac Meal, you probably don’t need the extra Chicken Mayo Burger and Crunchie McFlurry.
I track my calories on MyFitnessPal!
If you’re anything like me the very mention of the word exercise gives you horrendous flashbacks to running the 1500m at school for your rather large PE teacher who struggled to tie her shoelaces let alone jogging around the school field. But it releases endorphins improving your mood and lowering those stress levels. Ultimately it will make you healthier and happier, whatever you can squeeze into your schedule, every little helps.
That’s why you have to find the right form of exercise for you for me I like a variety. I love getting old school exercise DVDs and following along in my living room. I also like yoga and pilates, less cardio more strength building.
I love any form of exercise which creates the illusion you’re playing a game, so RingFit on the Nintendo Switch is great for me. But if you can’t afford a new games console, take a look at the older models in CeX. The Xbox 360 Kinnect has some great options from Harry Potter and Star Wars spin-offs, an adapted version of Fable for the true gamers or some actual exercise games from the likes of Nike and The Biggest Loser. The WiiFit was also bloody brilliant! And both of these are pretty affordable options.
Finally, at the start of covid… you know… back when it was a novelty… and we thought it would be over in a few months… like many others, I started Couch to 5K. And made it all the way through to 8 weeks where you run for 20 minutes without stopping! (Furthest I’ve ever run in my life.) And believe it or not, after only a few weeks of completely resenting running, I actually began to enjoy it. My body expected a run and was ready for it
Mindfulness & Meditation
I put these in the same category as they can be seen as a little wanky… but there are loads of different techniques and styles of mindfulness and meditation and, like exercise, you need to figure out which methods suit you.
I have a friend who told me the story of their mindfulness philosophy:
“I was walking through the park on my way to work and I saw a good looking tree. I thought to myself, ‘Now, that is one lovely tree,’ and went to continue. But then I thought, ‘No, don’t pass this tree by, why is it a lovely tree?’ And I pondered on its branches, the roots, the leaves, the age, the colours… and then I carried on with my day feeling just a little bit lighter.”
The best explanation of mindfulness I have ever heard! Both in its simplicity and its hilarity.
He’s not wrong though. Mindfulness is appreciating the positives in the world around you and meditation is how you switch off or divert the thoughts in your head for some well-deserved quiet time.
Find methods that suit you, I love listening to audiobooks using Audible and to ensure I’m fully engaged when I’m meditating I will repeat the words out loud after they have been said so my brain is focusing both on the task and the content, driving unwanted thoughts from my head.
If you’re looking for some beginners guides I love the Headspace app myself, so whether it’s reading, binge-watching your favourite series, taking a long walk or spending an hour in the bath, you’re bound to adapt mindfulness practise into a way that suits you.
Binge Queer Eye
Yes, this is a very specific direction but there are few things in this world that make me feel better about myself than watching these fabulous queens on Queer Eye with Netflix.
The Queer Eye peeps are so positive about everyone! They are really pro self-care but not in a way that detracts from your life or changes you as a person, just in helping you maintain the person that you are.
It is impossible to not be filled with a new bout of self-love and appreciation after watching even just one episode, so if you haven’t already, give it a go, and if you have, the new seasons just come out!
Read Unf**k Your Brain
When going into battle it is important to be fully equipped with all the possible intel you can acquire on your enemy so that you know exactly how to combat it.
That is exactly why if you’re struggling with any form of mental health problems you should read this book!
Unf**k Your Brain is by Faith G. Harper and uses science to help you learn to get over anxiety, depression, anger, freak-outs and triggers. And it is written in a very matter of fact and down to earth way, making it easy to understand and informative in a way that feels like you’re in a pub chatting to your mates, not just being spoken down to by a so-called expert.
And there you have it, just a few ways to smash the beginning of your year!
If even just one of these little things can have a positive impact on your lifestyle then I would love to know I’ve helped, so drop me a comment or message on social!