HOW TO USE CREATIVITY TO COPE WITH STRESS, OVERWHELM AND ANXIETY
As a mom to a busy four-nager (plus gestating one more) and a self-employed business woman, I can quickly push aside what I need and what I need is time to be creative. Creativity does not always equal ART (though it certainly can). Creativity can be many things:
photography (and if you’re into it scrapbooking)
art (such as painting or collaging)
What does creativity mean to you?
To me, creativity is making the intentional time to play and be silly. For me, play can look like a lot of different things; painting, building forts, paper crafts, dancing. I also enjoy listening to music, baking, and organizing things.
However, if I was given a choice, I would choose productivity over creativity every time (it’s just how I’m built and it takes a lot of intention for me to actually get to the playing). So, how do I get to the place in my life where I create space for the creativity I need? Meditation, intentional quiet time and journaling help me get there. I know that when I am creative and playful it makes me feel better, it helps me cope, it creates space in my life for new thoughts and most importantly it is my favourite form of fulfilling self-care.
5 ways to use creative coping mechanisms:
Make Something (anything)
In today’s modern culture, we are always ON. It is crazy how we can spend our entire day taking things in (information, communications, and thoughts) and putting little out into the world. Being creative offers an outlet and a release from all-the-things.
When we take a moment to ignore all of the incoming stuff and put something out into the world, something happens. Something shifts in our bodies, something shifts in our thoughts. AND it feels amazing.
I urge you to do something, anything. Pick up a pen, write until there are no more words. Paint. Turn up the music. Sing without judgment of yourself. Move your body in ways that feel good. Bake a new thing. Try a new thing. Read. Build something. Share. Communicate. ANYTHING that feels good. Do it and do it now.
I promise that your inner (mental and physical) health, happiness,and self-worth will improve.
Journal (written or art)
Expressing yourself doesn’t have to take a lot of time. In fact you can squeeze it in even if you only have 5 minutes. Grab a random piece of paper and just write/create. Don’t sensor. Give yourself permission to be mad, to be overwhelmed. Allow it ALL to come out. Write until there are no more words. You don’t need to keep it if you don’t want to, it’s just a piece of paper. Just get the feelings and thoughts outside of your body. Do this on repeat until the inner dialogue quiets a little. IMAGINE how you would feel if you set your phone aside and created twenty intentional minutes into your day.
Read More >>>
Read a Book
It doesn’t matter how much stress you have in your life, it can all slip away with a good book or magazine article (a real one, not a digital one). Reading your favourite genre of books can transport you into a whole new world. A world where the dishes don’t need to be done and everyone goes to bed on time. Reading helps reduce stress, keeps you in the present moment, and reduces your tensions. If you allow it, reading will allow you to relax.
It only takes twenty minutes of intentional music listening a day to decrease your stress, boost your mood and increase your happiness.
Intentional music is listening to music with the intention of feeling better, increasing happiness and/or decreasing depression & anxiety. Intention plays a huge role in the success of this coping mechanism. You need to set the intention and embody that intention while listening to the music/playlist.
Read More >>>
In one of my recent mom groups I asked, what are your creative hobbies? Across the board the answers I received were:
“Who has time?”
“I don’t even know what I would do, if I had the time.”
”But there are so many other things to do / get done.”
And they are not alone, I too, struggle to “find” the time to be creative in the ways I need. Somedays I feel unbearably, painfully, overwhelmingly busy!
IMAGINE the possibility that you’re not as busy as you think.
Without self-intervention we will choose passive forms of “hobbies”—TV and phone scrolling are the ones I hear about most often. When you’re engaged in an active form of “hobbying,” time will pass away, self-judgements disappear, and you are allowing yourself to be fully immersed in an enriching activity.
What will you try next time you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious?
Tell me about your creative coping mechanisms - I would love to hear all about them.
Until next time,
Keep calm and call a creative arts therapist or expressive arts therapist.
Connect with Kayla today if you’re curoius about intentional creativity.