Are you a creature of habit? I know I am. I do like to be spontaneous too and to try different things, but I find that life works better if I follow a routine. Working for myself from home that’s particularly important – but in other parts of my life as well, routine really helps. Routine might seem dreary, all about what you have to do. What about fitting art into your daily routine as something positve, making some small part of your day mindful and creative?
Many people might think that they just don’t have the time to do art every day. Obviously that may be true – but by concentrating on quicker art ideas, it can be possible. There are so many different art styles, subjects and media that there’s lots of scope in just ten, fifteen or twenty minutes. Drawing is quicker than painting (no time spent setting up and clearing away) and some media are quicker than others- felt tip pens will cover large areas more quickly than will ballpoint pens or colouring pencils. You might want to set a particular time of day to have you art time – maybe first thing in the morning, in the evening, or last thing at night. Some people find drawing or journaling before going to sleep helps wind down and sleep better. Whatever the time, I know I’m more likely to get some art done if I have already fixed that as my time for art, and got materials lined up ready.
I’ve been thinking about how and why art as part of everyday routine could benefit wellbeing, because I’m running an online daily art for wellbeing challenge for the month of February (https://medley.live/community-sessions/) I’ve named the challenge “Set Aside” because I feel that setting aside some time each day to be creative, just 15 minutes, opens up space for yourself, to focus on something positive and to be mindful as you create something tangible. It makes every day productive, which really lifts mood. But that’s not all. Art can become a way to set aside issues in life as well, just for a while, as you take a step back and go with the flow. The issues will still be there when you lay down your pen or paintbrush but they might feel less immediate, or you might feel your mind is clearer to think them through. Having this small space “away” each day can be a little goal, a haven where line and colour may be all that matter.
Making art a regular part of your routine can help motivate you, which might be a struggle if you are depressed.
One specific way art helps wellbeing is that it’s always there. Think what else makes you feel better – more contented, more positive or less anxious. It might be talking to other people, talking to a counsellor or sitting in the sunshine. But there are times when there’s nobody to talk with, or no sunshine, when the day dawns cloudy and wet. Art is a constant – portable, flexible, varied and stimulating. Maybe it could become a positive constant in your life.
It would be great if you’d like to share any thoughts or reactions in Medley’s Facebook group on art and mental health, Think Art – go to https://www.fcebook.com/groups/244072321150998/