As many of you already know, living with mental illness can take a strain on a lot of aspects of your life. Especially art making and being creative! That's why I have come up with a really great system that works for me, so I thought I would share it with you guys in hopes that it can help you all, too.
So here it is in its basic form :
Start simple, move to complex and focus on ONE thing at a time.
If you are anything like me, when you are anxious or depressed ( or both...ugh) you kinda just freeze up, or get overwhelmed by thinking of ALL the projects you have to get done at once. So to tackle this, I have given myself rules. When I'm feeling overwhelmed I only allow myself to work on my smallest, easiest pieces, and I only can focus that.
For example, I might have six large paintings, 12 drawings, 2 zines, 4 pastels and 3 watercolors to finish, but when I'm overwhelmed or anxious I will pick either a zine or a watercolor to work on only. Why those ones ? Because my zines are small and only require ink and a brush, and my watercolors are small and only require watercolor paints and a brush. Simple. Not a lot to prepare and not a lot to think about.
Once I get myself to a point where I'm making marks on the page and focusing on this small piece, most of the time I get really motivated to do more! At that point I either transition to other pieces, or just continue to focus on finishing my simple pieces.
Don't allow yourself to feel guilty if you just aren't able to do more.
Be proud of yourself instead! It's really hard to work on something when you are in the middle of experiencing an anxious or depressive moment! Even if you just came up with the title of your zine, or just did the base color on a painting, that's great!!
Also, try to have some projects going that don't require a complex concept. This can apply to non creative works too! I always have a project going that allows me to just freely make without thought. The concept is simply, "creating this piece soothed my anxiety and calmed me down".
Need some ideas on simple projects to focus on when you get anxious? Check back on soon to read about how I make simple zines, and small simple watercolor paintings!