It’s no secret that mental health issues are prevalent among artists and creative minds. The very act of creating is a vulnerable one, requiring us to put ourselves out there and risk rejection and criticism. And while this vulnerability is what makes art so powerful, it can also take a toll on our mental wellbeing.
As someone who has been a writer for most of my life, I know firsthand the challenges that come with being a creative mind. Whether it’s the pressure to create something new and innovative, the constant criticism and rejection that can come with the territory, or the mental toll that comes with spending long hours alone with our thoughts, the creative life can be tough on our mental health.
Over the years, I’ve developed a few coping strategies that have helped me manage my mental health while still pursuing my passion. These strategies have been honed through my own experiences, some of which I’ll share with you now.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a creative is dealing with rejection. Whether it’s a rejection letter from a publisher or negative reviews of my work, it can be hard not to take it personally. In the past, I’ve found myself spiraling into self-doubt and questioning my worth as a writer.
To cope with this, I’ve learned to cultivate a support system of fellow creatives who can relate to my experiences. By sharing our struggles and successes with each other, we can provide a sense of camaraderie and encouragement that helps keep us going.
Another challenge I’ve faced is the pressure to constantly create something new and innovative. As someone who has built a career on his writing, it can be tempting to always try to one-up myself and push the envelope with each new project. But this pressure can also be overwhelming and lead to burnout.
To combat this, I’ve learned to take breaks when I need them and not be too hard on myself when I’m not feeling particularly inspired. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for our creativity is to step away from it for a while – to go hang out with friends for a few hours or a long weekend – and come back with fresh eyes and a renewed perspective.
Of course, there are also times when our mental health struggles go beyond the typical challenges of being a creative. As someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression throughout my life, I know firsthand how debilitating these conditions can be.
For me, seeking professional help has been, at times, necessary for managing my mental health. Through therapy, sitting meditation practice, and herbal remedies, I’ve been able to develop coping strategies and tools to help me process stuck emotions and thought patterns, and keep creating. It’s important to remember that there’s no shame in seeking help when we need it, and that doing so can actually be a sign of strength.
Another strategy that has helped me is practicing self-compassion. As creatives, we can be our own worst critics, constantly berating ourselves for not doing enough or not doing it well enough. But this kind of negative self-talk can be incredibly damaging to our mental health and our creative output.
Instead, I try to practice self-compassion by reminding myself that it’s okay to make mistakes and that my worth as a creative is not tied to my productivity. I try to treat myself with the same kindness and understanding that I would offer to a friend in need.
Finally, setting boundaries is another key strategy for managing my mental health as a creative. As someone who has a tendency to overwork myself, I’ve learned the hard way that this can lead to burnout and mental exhaustion.
To avoid this, I try to set reasonable working hours and take breaks throughout the day. I also try to be mindful of my own needs and not let the demands of others override my own well-being – this one rule has never let me down: I never let others’ needs or desires derail me from doing my creative work.
Being a creative mind comes with its own set of challenges when it comes to mental health. But with the right strategies, we can manage our mental health while still pursuing our passion. Cultivating a support system, practicing self-compassion, seeking professional help if needed, taking breaks when we need them, and setting boundaries are all essential aspects of maintaining good mental health as a creative. By taking care of ourselves and our mental health, we can continue to create meaningful and impactful work without sacrificing our well-being in the process.
I hope my personal experiences and coping strategies can be helpful to other creatives out there who may be struggling with their own mental health. Remember, you are not alone in your struggles, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Keep creating, keep pushing yourself, but also remember to take care of yourself along the way.