Updated: Nov 5, 2021
Welcome back to the last part of my blog series on creativity for mental wellbeing! If you’ve landed straight here, you may want to go back to the beginning and start with Part 1 :)
In this post we will look at inspiration and some creative ideas to try, the role of community and finish up by meeting some amazing people who use creativity for their own mental health and wellbeing. I hope you enjoy it!
Inspiration can come from anywhere, anything and anyone, it's totally personal. Figuring out what inspires you is part of the fun of this journey... which of these sounds good to you?
- live music - art exhibitions - walks in
nature - learning something new - going travelling - book shops - a new notebook - museums - new art or craft supplies - curling up with a good book - journalling ideas - going to the theatre - making a vision board - inspiring blogs or podcasts - getting lost in a film - daydreaming about the future - how many more can you think of?
Please comment below with what inspires you, I'd love to know!
Here are some brilliant projects and ideas to try and you can find many more on my Pinterest board. Thanks to all the fabulous creatives who have shared their expertise with us for free!
Garden projects: https://www.prettypurpledoor.com/garden-art-projects-adults/
Felt jewellery: https://casacostello.com/super-easy-felt-poppy-tutorial/
Paper beads: https://www.myfrenchtwist.com/paper-beads/
Flower arranging: https://www.mygardenlife.com/how-to/basics-of-flower-arranging
Floor cushion: https://swoodsonsays.com/diy-floor-cushion-tutorial
100 art therapy exercises: https://intuitivecreativity.typepad.com/expressiveartinspirations/100-art-therapy-exercises.html
Positive colouring pages: https://www.frugalfamily.co.uk/free-printable-uplifting-colouring-pages-lift-mood/
So you’ve starting creating! What now?
Should I Show Anyone?
It’s totally up to you who you show. Your creativity can be a precious, private thing for your eyes only if that’s what’s right for you.
The lovely thing about starting to make work that you are proud of is you will probably find you want to start sharing it with people! In the early days I would advise caution and consideration about who you show; the last thing you want is to feel discouraged by someone’s thoughtless words or reactions. Choose your audience wisely.
Many of us eventually choose to start a social media account for our creative pursuits, specifically to connect with people in the same area of interest. In five years of sharing my work to public social media accounts, I have received a handful of negative or insensitive comments. Those comments do sting, but it has raised my resilience and made me even more appreciative of the hundreds of positive comments and support received through the wonderful online communities of creatives.
Social media can be an amazing way to connect with people whose work you admire. Use it by searching for hashtags related to your passions, encouraging people by liking and sharing their posts, taking part in creative challenges like Joanne Hawker’s Meet The Maker, and joining supportive Facebook groups. There is a whole world of interesting people out there to meet!
Virtual communities are great for many of us with busy lives, illnesses or disabilities – a friendship group in your pocket who you can engage with at will is always welcome!
You may also find there is a physical community of creatives locally who you can get involved with too. Look around and you might find choirs, dance groups, workshops, craft fairs, knit and chat sessions, adult learning courses… clubs and classes you never knew were available. Physically sharing the space with other creatives and bouncing ideas off each other can be a wonderful way to develop friendships and community.
You are not alone
I asked the wonderful community I have met online to tell me what their creativity means to them. I was moved by the responses...
“For me, often articulating emotions or difficult thoughts can be challenging to put into words, and that’s the key as to why my art practice has become so important to me, it is literally a form of communication. It helps me to solidify thoughts and emotions that I might otherwise struggle to understand, never mind share with someone else.”
-Barrie D Jones, artist
“My favorite art therapy is writing out everything I’m feeling and thinking on paper or canvas. Everything. Then I paint over it with acrylics and repeat mantras like “I am strong, I love myself, and I am grateful for my life.” Make it into something or just paint shapes and draw lines, anything to cover every bit of writing. I find it so therapeutic. Art keeps me centered, motivated, inspired, grateful, and humble. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to create every day.” -Alex Whatton, Dirt Studio LLC
“I find art making incredibly therapeutic on so many levels. It’s given me a creative and mentally stimulating outlet during some challenging years parenting. Even though I have a health condition that places limits on my physical capacity in life, my art is one place where I am totally free to explore.”
-Hannah Vickery, artist
“Painting and the process are a most underestimated instrument in wellbeing and healing. If I didn’t had my art when my dad passed away, my husband had mental problems and my daughter wasn’t well I would have given up. My art was and is my therapy.”
-Ruth Moneke, Proof of Life Creations
“My creative outlet is what allows me to deal with life’s challenges. I consider my paint and brushes my therapist.”
-Cindy Penner, Brush + Pour
“Art is incredibly cathartic and healing. Art is so much more that a product. The processes we go through when creating are a powerful channel for releasing emotions that we may not otherwise know how to deal with or express.”
-Brittany Wheat, BW Mixed Media
“I have always been creative but it was during lockdown I decided to share my paintings on Instagram. Painting & sharing my art with likeminded people has had a powerful impact on me. Social media was the platform I needed to connect with artists, clients and being part of a community, especially at a time where I couldn’t meet my friends or extended family. The act of painting itself is an expression of my emotions and the process can feel at times difficult but I feel pure joy when the painting is complete. I often lose track of time when painting and I am present in the moment. My brain stops being overwhelmed with ideas and to do lists and I feel calm. Art has given me confidence in myself.” -Maria Mourgue-Aliaj, artist
“One of the things I love most about painting is getting lost in the process for hours. Being creative is a very positive force in my life. It has taken me far too long to realise that it is ok to say you are unhappy, to ask for help and to completely change your life. If you are concerned about a friend ask them if they are OK not once but TWICE and then LISTEN. I also think getting good quality sleep is really important, something I didn't get for years...running around like a crazy mouse in a maze! If I need to re-energise, nothing beats a brisk walk somewhere natural, be it the park, a wood, the beach or the moors. I have also benefitted in recent years from Mindfulness training, a daily yoga practice and drastically altering my work/LIFE balance.”
"Making art allows me to connect to my most authentic self. When we create it is a divine act and it is reminds me of a higher power. I can relax and give myself over to it."
-Simone Paterson, embroiderer
"I use it as a mindful distraction. Brain can stop whirring and just be at one with the movements of my hands. Similar when I play music or garden."
-Vicki Stoner, artist
"For me creativity is a way to release emotions that are too big to process. It helps us express our true feelings that we might not be able to say or show. It has been an absolute lifeline for me in coping with trauma."
-Nicki Greenham, artist
"Art has made a major positive influence on me during the past few years. I haven't had any art education, not even in school, but especially during the pandemic I have found it extremely relaxing. Even just watching tutorial videos and classes have given me a certain level of peace I have not found before. While I am at the very beginning of exploring my own creativity, I know that it will continue to play a big role in my future. When I create, I feel at peace in a way I don’t experience too often."
-Anna McNab, jeweller & artist
Thank you so much to all the creatives who took time to send me their words of wisdom, it is much appreciated.
I hope you've enjoyed this series and are feeling inspired! I'd love to know how your creative journey is going, please get in touch!
Sending best wishes, joy and inspiration.