A reminder that creativity is good for your mental health on World Mental Health Day
Hello! So back in June I wrote a little ditty to big up Creativity and Wellbeing week, but life sometimes smacks you in the face and makes you not want to tell everyone that you have struggled and are now looking back smugly from the other side. Winston Churchill spoke of his black dog of depression, I feel like the brain is a little like a naughty puppy (ok sometimes very naughty one, that can turn your life upside down like an old school toilet paper advert). You have to train it, entertain it, keep it calm or when you are not looking you may end up with a poo in the corner. But it’s World Mental Health Day and the fact that sharing that you aren’t always totally smashing it and that some people, including myself, find making things helps their brain to chill out and heal a bit is still something important.
Creativity has always been an important part of my life however much of the time I was either too inspired or not at all. This made a great deal of sense when I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2013. I wouldn’t say that drawing and making things got me through that and the very tricky time that led to my diagnosis. This was thanks to the support of the ridiculously amazing people around me and the hard working dudes and dudettes of the NHS. Yet my life wouldn’t feel complete now without making something or letting my brain stray creatively on a daily basis. It is also integral to making my life more than just managing my special brain, by providing a distraction in the process of making and little delights as end results.
To steal the wise words of the people over at Creativity and Wellbeing Week:
‘There is a growing body of evidence indicating the profound effect engagement in the arts and creativity can have on health and wellbeing. The arts bring us alive, nourish our curiosity, help us learn – they change the places in which we are treated – and make them places we might want to be, they can improve the relationship between clinician and patient, and they give us the courage to face our own frailties and strengths.’
I have worked in many media when making art or gifts and always carry a little sketchbook for emergencies (to record ideas/also handy for those who may suffer bothersome thoughts). I made the decision to take up jewellery making in 2014 and love that it combines hard-core metal working skills with making pretty and fun transportable pieces that others seem amused by too. I couldn’t recommend jewellery making enough as an activity and wish I had taken the idea seriously at a younger age. But still, learning ain’t just for kids.
Top 3 creativity TED talks
Whatever your go-to helper is in life, may it be running, writing, crafting or climbing (if it isn’t going to damage you or anyone else), look after yourself and that pesky puppy and just do it.
Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.