2020 has been a tough year full of ups and downs and it looks like in the UK sadly the start of 2021 may have some of the same in store for us.
Staying at home can be tough but while we can’t control the current situation there are a few things we can do to help us get through it and look after our mental health.
One great way to look after our mental health whilst staying at home is by using the power of creativity.
Well, studies have shown that when you work creatively it can help reduce stress and anxiety. Working creatively can be as beneficial as meditation that is because being creative is meditative and just the art of doing can bring contentment.
When you work creatively you can get into the FLOW state. This is when you get completely absorbed in doing something that you forget about everything else.
Psychologist Elaine Slater explains the flow state as: ‘This can put us in a near-meditative state where we lose track of time and feel removed from the stressors of life.’
Being in the Flow state has been found to reduce peoples stress and anxiety, boost your mood and has even been shown to slow down your heart rate.
With all the stress and worries that we have at the moment a lot of which are out of our control immersing ourself in a creative task that can help take our mind off things is exactly what we need.
During the first lockdown I personally found solace in writing. After the stress of trying to homeschool my children every morning, I would then sit down in the garden with my notepad and just write. This is where I found a love for writing poetry.
This helped me greatly, writing poetry took my mind completely of all my worries and what was happening around me and allowed me just to focus on the task in hand. It helped me to de-stress and left me feeling calmer.
At the end of the first lockdown I had so many poems written that I put them together in a book ‘Poetry to Inspire and Uplift’ to help inspire others and lift their spirits.
I also found painting and baking were great ways to work creatively especially with the kids. Now I am rubbish at art and painting but that doesn’t matter, I will still sit there for hours painting or trying to at least but it is such a great stress reliever. It is amazing how working creatively can take your mind off everything else.
So next time you are feeling stressed or worried because of the current situation why not try working creatively and see the benefits for yourself. Try a few different creative activities and see which one works best for you.
Maybe even set aside one evening a week to switch off from everything and immerse yourself in a creative task and see what benefits you start to see.
Cheryl Lee-White is an award-winning children’s author and best-selling poet from Somerset UK, where she lives with her fiance and 3 daughters. She loves working creatively and enjoying the great outdoors. You can find out more about her at www.cherylleewhite.co.uk