I never expected I would love blogging as much as I do.
I don’t read any blogs, though I enjoy reading, I have no particular interest in reading blogs, and I’ve definitely never seen myself as a writer. But I love blogging.
Writing my blog makes me happy.
On top of that, every so often I get an unexpected message from someone who has been reading it and enjoying my writing, and that makes my day.
Many of us will suffer at some point in our lives to manage our mental health. I know I have.
There have been times in my life where I’ve struggled for days to even get out of bed and felt like the world has left me behind.
Now, managing my mental health and being mindful of how I’m feeling is incredibly important to me. I try to remember to check in with how I’m feeling, identify when I need to take a step back and look after my mind.
I don’t always succeed.
What’s that image? This post’s focus image is of Havana, Cuba, a city frequented by the writer Ernest Hemingway. Hemmingway was known to suffer from depression, borderline and narcissistic personality traits, bipolar disorder and, later, psychosis.
Blogging for wellbeing
I know that I am not unique in this and struggling to manage mental health is something many of us will relate to.
Modern life is very hectic. There’s always something happening, something you should be liking, learning or achieving. The feeling that we are missing out is something that we are constantly confronted with.
How can we possibly process all of this stimulation?
This is where I have truly found the benefit of having a creative outlet.
Though creativity has historically been associated with an increased likelihood of mental health issues, having an outlet to be creative in has been shown to increase overall wellbeing.
Initially, in blogging and now expanding to cartooning, I have seen first hand the benefit of these creative outlets on my mental wellbeing. Furthermore, I know that I am not alone.
The benefits of journaling on mental health
There have been multiple studies on the benefits of journaling on mental health.
The University of Rochester Medical Encyclopedia cites the benefits of journaling for mental health to help people to:
- Manage anxiety
- Reduce stress
- Cope with depression
In addition to this, my own experiences gained volunteering and participating in activities at the Dragon Cafe, have shown me the importance of a creative outlet on mental wellbeing.
The Dragon Cafe is a weekly cafe and creative space with seminars, exhibitions, workshops and performances exploring issues around mental illness, recovery, and well-being (Twitter link). Each week people are given the opportunity to be creative and participate in workshops in a safe space.
The specific benefits of writing and journaling that I have found are:
- Reduced stress
- Increased ability to process thoughts and emotions
- Feeling of peace from freeing the mind
Tips on how to get started and find your creative niche for mental well-being
You may have been put off from starting with journalling or drawing because you feel like you don’t have the skill.
I want to challenge that thought.
Why do you want to start journaling?
Perhaps you dream of becoming a professional writer, but most of us start writing as an escape. You don’t have to share this with anyone, it’s just for you. You shouldn’t feel like you have to be the world’s greatest to start being creative.
Nobody is going to judge you. You’re doing this for yourself to make yourself happy.
The best thing about starting to journal or draw? It’s practically free – all you need is a pen or pencil and something to write on.
You don’t have to be an expert to get going, you can just go with what feels right for you.
How to start with a creative outlet for mental health
The University of Rochester has a few steps on how to get started with journaling. The key things are to try and be consistent and journal regularly. Don’t worry about what you’re journaling about, just do what feels right.
For more tips, you can check out the details here. link to the University of Rochester website
If you’re interested in getting started with your own blog, you can also check out my guide on how not to do it here. It contains everything I learned in my first few months on what to do, and what not to do! Click here
I genuinely believe in the value of creativity for wellbeing. I hope this post helps you to find your creative outlet and enjoy it in the same way I have.
Want to see more of my cartoons? Check out my Instagram where I post them. They are all super geeky puns about math and programming that my rather immature sense of humor finds hilarious. Let me know if they make you laugh too!
Here’s the link: artificiallyintelligentclaire
Another way I am supporting a positive mental wellbeing is through lifelong learning. Read more about it here.