When we are looking for activities to help us in coping with mental health difficulties, a lot of people tend to focus on two main recommendations: exercise and talking therapies.
And, while these are both extremely helpful in building our wellbeing— i think it is important to keep in mind that talking therapies can, sadly, be extremely hard to afford or access sometimes. And, in addition, that we may not always be physically able to exercise. (Or, even if we can, we still cannot live our lives in physical activity. There will always come moments of stillness that we need to address)
So, in this little article, the idea is to share a few other ideas for what else we can do for the benefit of our mental wellbeing.
Particularly focussing on pursuits that encourage creativity — as this can help us in not only providing a sense of escape — but, also, in giving us something tangible to achieve with our day.
When we are struggling with our mental health, it is so easy to feel a sense of hopelessness.
So, the idea with these activities - whether you choose to try one of them, or many - is that they can give us a sense of purpose. And allow us to work in a way that is totally within our control - so that we do not become reliant on any other externals.
1. Writing (Fiction, prose, poetry, or journaling)
Allows a chance escape into a different world for a while, and channel our imagination. Something which is particularly beneficial for an anxious mind - which, in general, is a creative mind that is just being utilised in the wrong way.
But by actually working with our natural creativity — we are essentially transforming the negative energy of "anxiety" into a something a lot more positive.
Offers us a multi sensory experience, where we are creating something using touch, taste, smell, and sight together.
It also lets us achieve something in a relatively short space of time - and, if we choose to share our creation with others, can also help towards a feeling of self worth, by being a “provider”.
Though, of course,, if we decide to simply cook for our own sake . . . that is fine too! It is all about self care - and enjoying the experience of creating something for ourselves
3. Exploring Philosophy and/or Spirituality
This activity can be beneficial no matter what kind of philosophy or spiritual school resonates most with you. We might study one school of thought intensely - or we might open ourselves up to many different beliefs. But, either way, just allowing ourselves the chance to be curious - and to dive into some of the deeper sides to life, can really help us to discover a whole new side to ourselves.
We quickly begin to see that there is far more to life than just the surface level
4. Studying a branch of science
For the same purpose as Philosophy or Spirituality above. The sciences also encourage us to look beyond the surface of this world — and give us a potentially infinite rabbit hole to dive into! So, if you are not spiritually minded — feeding your curiosity in this respect can be so valuable. And may perhaps even lead you to writing your own thoughts / theories.
This requires little explanation. Reading is perhaps the most powerful form of escapism available to us - because, unlike watching films etc, it directly involves us in the imaginative process.
We become immersed in someone else's world - and yet, we are invited to imagine the sights, scenes, smells etc for ourselves. Meaning that this story soon becomes our own story too.
Truly, some of the most profound wisdom out there, can come to us as a direct result of reading. No matter if we choose a work of classic literature - or a simple fairy story.
6. Practicing photography
While almost everyone has a camera on their phone these days. There is a big difference between simply clicking a picture every so often — and actively looking to improve your photographic skills, or capture unique forms of beauty.
Practicing photography opens our senses to the world around us again - allowing us to see the world around us ina whole new way. And notice those little details, that we may otherwise miss when we are so distracted by our own worries etc.
7. Creating Art
No matter if it is drawing, painting, sewing, sculpture, pottery, knitting, jewellery design, or any other kind. Like writing - the practice of art is perfect for channelling our concentration, working with our own creativity, and creating something valuable as a result.