Advice

Stay creative

By Clementine Foulkes

Trying to keep control over mental health issues on a daily basis can be tricky, especially on bad days. That is why it’s important to find a hobby through which you can channel your energies into something creative and come out feeling relaxed and ready to carry on adulting. I constantly struggle with anxiety and during a particularly difficult time in my life I discovered that I have a passion for colouring. I’m 21 years old and I own three sets of felt tip pens and 14 colouring books of varying themes and I’m totally okay with that. Colouring allows me to completely switch off my brain and appreciate the simple pleasure of how many shades of blue there are. I’ve even been gifted with a ‘colour by numbers’ book, so when need be, absolutely no decision-making is required. There will be days where I feel like I can’t complete the most menial tasks, so I’ll get out my trusted pens and cover a cartoon elephant with all the colours of the rainbow. Once I’ve finished a page of colouring, I tell myself that I can also finish that email I was supposed to send.

Another, possibly more universal relaxation method is the old classic: music. I like to incorporate the two by listening to peaceful or happy music while I’m colouring. Find a song, artist or genre that makes your ears smile and let yourself focus on the music for as long as you need. Singing along is even better, as it releases endorphins which can greatly improve your well-being. And no, you don’t have to be Frank Sinatra, no one is going to judge you. If neither of those sound like your cup of tea, experiment with other activities; you may discover you’re the Mary Berry of baking; you knit a fabulous scarf; you’re just really good at yo-yoing. Whatever your creative outlet, find it and trust in it, because the simplest of pastimes can have an invaluable influence on your ability to take on the struggles that mental health issues can throw at you.

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