This week is Mental Health Awareness week, so I just wanted to talk about ways to help you feel more motivated in your creative work in the current circumstances, when you just might not be feeling it right now. It all starts with a big dose of kindness.
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness, and something we could all do with focusing on right now. Here is the MHAW definition of kindness and its beneficial attributes to our mental health:
Kindness and Mental Health
Kindness is defined by doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference. We know from the research that kindness and our mental health are deeply connected. The research shows that kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging.
It helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem. Kindness can even improve feelings of confidence and optimism.
I know that some people out there are finding it hard to get going creatively, you may be feeling lethargic and just not bothered at the moment. Be reassured, it seems to be quite a natural response to what is happening out there, and I know some of my friends have been feeling this way.
I also know that for some people, that also comes with a lot of guilt and disappointment in themselves, but there are other ways to pave the way back to feeling yourself again, rather than beating yourself up about it.
We are now about to start our 9th week in lock-down in the UK and I’m noticing patience is starting to wear a little thin, myself included, and frustration in all its guises is raising it’s ugly head. It’s now more than ever think that we need to be kind to ourselves.
Sometimes you just need to take yourself out and see the bluebells!
To me, there are a few ways to approach this head on and give yourself a boost to help slowly motivate you get back into action. Not all are exclusive, you may find a good mix of all these works best for you.
So, what do I mean by this? Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed more of the people that I follow have been putting out some really key ‘free’ resources out there to help everyone and especially creatives or those who have or are wanting to set up a small business in relation to what they do.
Inspirational creatives, business owners, influencers (the real ones!) and coaches have really upped their game in response to the Covid pandemic which is fantastic but it’s also quite hard to navigate your way through all what is available, there’s so much out there!
So, I thought I’d share what I’ve found especially useful during this last few months and hope in-turn that it helps and supports what you are doing too.
Business / Creative Inspiration
Nicky has a multi-profile business with years of experience and over a 1000 people who she has worked with as a coach. She’s a writer, actor, speaker, mum to 2 young children and podcaster of the top 100 business podcast, ‘Dreaming and Doing’. You’ll have heard me talk about her before but this is specifically how she has upped her game recently and what I have found useful:
I’ve followed Eleanor for a while on Instagram and have always been impressed by the deeper conversation posts on creativity, but then we got talking and Eleanor wanted to interview me for her YouTube channel and Podcast (to be launched soon) about the theme of connection and we could have literally talked all day long I think!
Another multi-passionate ‘Aquarian’ creative (like me), Eleanor is an Art Tutor, Creativity Consultant, hosts a virtual meeting on Zoom of creatives to ask the big questions every Wednesday 1pm-2.30pm and also created the Rising Soul Membership giving members the opportunity to reflect and create in their lives with a monthly creativity package for a small fee of £12 a month.
Why do I like/rate them? I don’t think you can fail but to be inspired by Eleanor’s passion, enthusiasm, wisdom, ideas and top tips of how to ‘liberate your inner artist’ on Insta stories and posts. All are welcome to join in the Wednesday group which I loved being a part of last week.
Holly Tucker – founder of Not on the high-street and Holly & Co
Holly has always been an advocate for supporting small businesses and believes that everyone should ‘Do what they love and love what they do!’. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but this situation has elevated her into stratospheric support to so many! During this time she’s launched the following, with the support of her team of course:
Why do I like/rate her? Ridiculously passionate about what she does, honest, and stands beside you despite her huge successes, she makes you feel like she’s one of you and we’re all in it together, a unique skill to have.
Lucy Atkins – best-selling Author
Lucy has been working with Psychologies magazine and running Insta lives on how to write a novel every Friday via the @psychologiesmagazine Insta page 1.30pm -2pm.
If you are interested in tackling that novel idea, Lucy offers great advice on all things fiction writing, from keeping readers turning the page to how to write that CPD (Crap first draft!), I’ve really enjoyed listening to these!
Why do I like/rate her? Firstly a very talented author whose books I’ve enjoyed and she breaks down writing into easily understandable steps whilst explaining the pitfalls too. Lucy is on Instagram @lucyatkinswriter.
Connection / Well-being
The video interview I did back in April, just one of the daily live videos Suzy does, interviewing all kinds of experts and coaches, each day at 1pm to help us get through this
Psychologies Magazine Facebook Group– name has changed to Psychologies Connected Communities
This has really grown over the last few weeks and now has almost 4k members. Psychologies have been popping in asking questions, seeing how everyone is, posting useful blog posts and their FB Live interviews that Suzy Walker, Editor-in-chief has been hosting daily at 1pm.
I was lucky to be interviewed a few weeks ago on how I’m getting through this with creativity and if you’d like to watch that it’s here.
There are all kinds of interviews, from chats with coaches, to gardeners to how to talk to children about what is going on, so do have a look and see what could be useful for you right now. Find the group here.
Members can also pop their own inspiring ideas, thoughts or blog posts on their too and it’s a useful place to become more visible in what you do to an engaged audience.
Positive Earth Community
Another Facebook Group run by my friend Jac, that shares ideas, services or products that are aimed towards looking after our planet, ourselves and each other. Many people during this time are looking at ways of living more sustainably and environmentally friendly so this is a good place to start.
They’ve also recently done creative photo challenges to have a daily focus for members and keep spirits up, such as nature images of a certain colour or things we are grateful for.
The orange and pink pictures I did for the Positive Earth FB Group colour challenge!
I’m hosting the challenge for the next two weeks so if you fancy joining in click here and sign up.
Just one of the many inspiring quotes, highlighted by @nickyraby from the ‘Becoming’ documentary on Netflix
The Michelle Obama Documentary on Netflix
If you haven’t watched this yet, then I can’t recommend highly enough that you do! It blew me away and got me raring to go again! Michelle talks about her experiences in the White House but it’s mainly about her life, growing up, what’s important to her, the book tour and the reaction to her and how her mission to have an impact on young people is her main focus right now.
It is such an inspirational watch, made me sit up and take notice as a woman, how we can make this a better world and that we ALL have something to offer.
The last baby girl kid born on the farm this season, how cute?
Cannon Hall Farm Facebook Lives
This is a local famous farm, in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, near to us that has been featured regularly on BBC TV’s Spring Watch, but the Lives are accessible to all and they have viewers from all over the world!
Farmer Rob and brother Farmer Dave basically take you around their huge farm that is normally being visited by thousands at this time of year. They show you all the animals, the babies, what their jobs are for the day and give you an insight into life at the farm in these very strange times.
They start every morning around 7.30amish and can be filming for up to 2 hrs, on Sunday morning they had 5.5k viewers! I tune in most mornings and it sets me in a positive frame of mind for the day, this morning they showed their baby Highland calf that was born last night, I mean what’s not to love?
I know I’m a bit animal mad but it’s also about the passion the farmers have for their job and their connection with the viewers that makes it extra special and watching helps to support the farm too – it helps them get more seen and will hopefully lead to more TV episodes in the future. Click here to see the Lives.
So, I hope that gives you a few new ideas to focus on if you’re finding yourself stuck in a bit of a creative rut. Even if you’re not ready to leap back into action yet, spending time learning or being inspired by others, can really help and feel like you’re moving in the right direction. Do let me know what you think and if they are useful to you.
And finally if all else fails, I find an inspiring quote or two, helps, and these in particular are pretty relevant right now.
Of course, there are many more resources and people out there doing great work, so if you have any suggestions for me, please comment below as I’m always on the look out for new inspiration too!
And if you are finding it increasingly difficult right now, please reach out, there is always someone to help and listen, just click here for all kinds of support through the Mental Health Awareness Week website.
Until next time, take care, walk in the beautiful countryside if you can, breathe, count to 10, whatever you need to do to keep going but most of all stay safe…
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
P.s Don’t forget you can always head over to The Curious Cave too, for many more inspirational resources from me!