5 Creativity and Wellbeing tips
5 Creativity and Wellbeing Tips
Let’s face it, we could all do better at taking care of ourselves.
Creativity and wellbeing are topics we’re passionate about at Zealous. The pursuit of creativity is a journey which can be as thrilling as it is perilous. As artists, we can lose hours toiling in our subconscious, while mountains of dishes pile around us blocking the daylight.
As part of Amplify, a creative competition based around the theme of mental health, we’re sharing our 5 favourite wellbeing tips for creatives.
Perfectionism is a double-edged sword. Studies show that having an internal motivation to do well can lead to lower levels of self-doubt. At the same time, individuals who have had high standards imposed on them by others can find themselves at greater risk of distress.
Being plagued with perfectionism can lead us to struggle to balance our creativity and wellbeing. In some cases this means never completing our projects.
Art is never finished, only abandoned
- Da Vinci.
Perfectionism, can lead to a creative paralysis and self-censorship where no idea is worthy. When looking at overcoming perfectionism in art it helps to understand that perfection is an unattainable ideal which we must let go of to complete our work.
There is a Japanese form of art built around embracing the beauty of imperfection called Kintsugi or “golden repair”. Broken pottery is mended with lacquer dusted with powdered gold. The result highlights the imperfection, adding a new level of depth to the work by celebrating the flaws. It’s this reframing of imperfection into beauty which we could all benefit from adding to our work.
If we actively choose to see the beauty in our imperfections, we can have a healthier relationship with our own creative works and be more willing to share them with others.
Jealousy is a hungry beast, its wings cast implacable shadows blinding us to surrounding beauty. But that longing for another’s status and greatness is a fruitless act.
Remember you had no control over your location of birth, your parents, the time-period, or circumstances. From there, you have gone out into the world and done your best. To compare yourself to someone seemingly more successful than you would be to ignore all those factors that lead to their success.
Competition can be a great and healthy motivator but there’s only one person you should try to compete with, yourself!
If you’re ahead of where you were last year, then that is a victory.
Explore more than one passion
When picturing a fictional character struggling with their wellbeing, one might be reminded of the Tolkein character, Gollum. Gollum pursues a single all-consuming passion, to the detriment of his wellbeing. By pouring all his desire into a single external source, Gollum forgets friendship, love & self-care.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows us that to lead a great life we must feel fulfilled in a variety of areas: physiological (air, water, food), safety (personal security, resources), love and belonging, status and self-actualisation, the desire to be the best you can be.
If creativity becomes your life and you don’t get to where you want to be, this could be challenging.
By building a full life, putting equal stock in meaningful friendships, a worthwhile and enjoyable career and self-kindness, you will lead a richer life where your conditions of self-worth aren’t intrinsically linked to one single success.
Like a cartoon character racing through the air after passing a cliffs edge, we don’t see burnout until it’s too late. Only when our body refuses to do what it’s supposed to, do we finally learn that it may be time to take a break.
According to the neuroscientist Dr. Lynda Shaw
Burnout can be caused by moments of increased anxiety or pressure, trouble distinguishing work from personal life, or an unbalanced work/life balance.
Your mind needs rest to work properly. One of the best ways of preventing burnout is taking regular breaks and having a good night’s sleep. Tiredness can lead you to make bad decisions and lose control over your emotions. Getting regular sleep will help you to process information and clear your mind ready for you to take on the next day.
If you see resting as difficult because it doesn’t feel productive, then it may be worth reminding yourself that resting will make you more productive the following day.
Weave creativity into your daily routine
Many artists, such as Pablo Picasso or Charles Bukowski, are romanticised for working away into the wee hours of the night, deepening the trope of the destructive artist.
We can often be resistant to work to a regular routine because inspiration can happen at any time, but a healthy routine is essential to having a good quality of life, so how can we embrace both ?
Take your diary and build a creative daily routine. Block out all the things you have to do, work, family commitments, sleep and then with the time left over figure out the best time to create. Mark that time off as a fixed commitment. If flashes of divine inspiration hit you at an inconvenient time, carry a little notebook with you and scribble those ideas down and then continue on with what you were doing previously.
The key to finding wellbeing in creativity is balance. This can be tricky to embrace when we’re drawn to the romanticism of destructive artist tropes or we burn with artistic passion. But balance includes forgiveness and kindness for our imperfections. By taking care of yourself you can give yourself the best chance you can to produce great work and enjoy your life while you’re doing this.
If you are struggling with your mental health or wellbeing it is recommend that you speak with your GP, therapist or medical provider about available support and resources. If you need a supportive ear, you can also reach out for help through the Samaritans.
Produced work around the theme of mental health?
Enter our competition for a chance to win part of £1,500, exposure to leading industry judges and your work celebrated in an online gallery.
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