Hello, Beautiful, Strong, Creative Minds! We are entering into (depending how you are counting) week four or so of this health crisis in Maryland. Many of us are feeling patience wearing thin, cabin fever growing strong, hairs on our head growing unruly, and overall uncertainty and impatience waxing. I have been meeting with many of you virtually from my home office, and the emotional toll from many sources has been mostly universal- we are so in this together! In that spirit, this month on the Creatively blog, I want to share 3 main recommendations I have been sharing to survive this crisis and support your creative mind in the best possible way.
Some fine print: my goal is always to support you in your own effort to manage this crisis with your existing support network in place (need a support network? Scrap this article and start there. Not sure where to start? Feel yourself approaching crisis? For a mental health emergency you can STILL CALL 911. Urgent, not emergent? A list of operating mental health urgent resources can be found at the bottom of the page here.)
Step 1: Integrate Strong Emotions
Remember, a creative mind is a passionate mind. It is natural for you to have strong emotions. That means you are likely to be having strong emotional reactions to strong emotional events. That is ok! Mindfulness says the most emotional pain we experience is out of the resistance of an emotional experience rather than the emotional experience itself. In other words, give yourself permission to experience your powerful emotions. Build support around yourself and talk through and express how you are feeling. Those that are emotionally doing the best in this crisis are those that are not resisting the experience. That is not to say they like or are in agreement with things, but it is to say they understand their current variables and have adapted and are integrated to working within them. It is the frequently used sailing analogy within mindfulness- know what forces you cannot change, and by accepting them as such, you now have the freedom to utilize them to get where you want to go and operate within them. This crisis is happening. Integrate. Feel. Support your feelings. Now what are your choices?
Step 2: Make Meaning with Daily Creative Practice
Your creative brain craves meaning making. In fact, one of the most important ways you will feel grounded and stay emotionally well in your life is through finding meaning in your experiences. The reverse is also true- creative people commonly fall into emotional difficulty when they struggle to find meaning in experiences. By knowing this, you can harness its power into creating positive forces in your life. For this reason, the world often looks to artists for meaning in experiences throughout history. What is happening in the world right now is historical. How will you satisfy your creative need to make meaning? Spend energy here and watch yourself transform your own experience. Oh- and by the way- if you know me or have read or followed enough of what I have said on Creatively, you know by now my other rule about your creative practice- do it EVERY day! Commit to your daily creative practice every day as your search and investment in making meaning from these experiences.
Step 3: Expect Much Less While Doing Much More
I can’t tell you how many sessions in the past few weeks have started something like this, “I feel like I should be [creatively] doing so much more...” Let me try to put your mind at ease: We are in a global health crisis. Coping with living through this is doing plenty. Your brain is doing lots of things that just doesn’t produce as much right now. You have to allow for this. This is the rule of crisis. Allow yourself to expect less of yourself. Understand that though it may not always feel like it (though it certainly may!) you are doing so much more, it just is likely to produce much less. That is ok. It is expected. It is not forever. You are basically running uphill. More effort and energy is required than on a flat surface and it feels way less productive and way harder. But- a downhill follows- and your body gains strength from the uphill battle. So- keep pushing- and tell yourself you are doing well! I see you over there- hanging in there, struggling, not giving up, day after day.
So these are the 3 steps, Creative! Follow, rinse, repeat. Keep your wheels on the ground. Get through one day, go to bed, then get through the next one. I was recently re-inspired by a Caroline Casey quote, “You must hunger and be fully outside of something to truly know it.” Our return to former normal will be so wonderful and we will know it like we never did before. I look forward the most, to that.
Creatives, if you are struggling, I understand, and I am here for you. I am offering a variety of services to try to support as many needs as one creativity counselor can- so don’t hesitate to reach out and we can talk. Strength to each of you ✨✨
(C) 2020 Creatively, LLC
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.