Well, this has been a crazy year. I think most of us on this planet would like to push a reset button to clear out the virus, the fires, the storms, the riots… and anything else plaguing our lives. Welp… I can’t do that, but I can recommend some actions I take to cope:
- Create a schedule – even if you are no longer employed. By making a schedule that includes productive and recreational activities, it helps to create a sense of purpose and adds consistency to your life. I like to make a weekly schedule. I set aside time every Sunday morning (Before the family is up) to create a calendar for the week. It includes tasks assigned to the same days each week. For example Mondays are housecleaning days, Wednesdays are grocery days… etc. Each day has a list of three main tasks to be completed. For me that is 1.Walk one mile 2.Create art 3.Workout. Under the three main tasks are tertiary tasks to be completed; tasks like laundry, errands, and appointments.
- Be active – Did you notice that I listed two physical activities that I require of myself each day? I start every day with a mile walk. It’s helpful that I have a dog who needs her morning walks. Walking a mile each morning is a doable activity that gets the blood pumping and doesn’t take much more than 15 or 20 minutes. I also have a second physical activity I do right before lunch. My second workout is between 20-30 minutes and involves a rowing machine or a YouTube yoga session. Tossing in a physical activity helps to chase away anxiety, gets you outside, and hopefully chases away the blues. (If you are actually diagnosed with depression or anxiety, follow your physician’s instructions!)
- Keep in touch – Each week I have a phone call from my dad that lasts a couple hours. Every Wednesday and Friday, friends and neighbors have a weekly ‘social distancing happy hour’ so we have an opportunity to get together and enjoy some human interaction while maintaining a healthy distance from each other. This is particularly useful for our mental well-being. We are pack animals, we need interaction. Some may need more (Like my extroverted husband) and others only need a day or two each week to chat with a friend. Making socialization a weekly activity helps!
- Avoid news, social media or other sources that raises your stress levels – This is an election year so people are all riled up. There are plenty of sources of information out there to cause further panic and fear. Media sources love to generate emotional responses because it causes people to stay on their site longer. If you don’t believe me watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix. And then make a pact with yourself to not be one of the sheep that propaganda sites would like for you to be. This is one of the contributing factors to the riots we are experiencing in the US. People get riled up, believing half truths and flimsy falsehoods, seeing what they want to see and looking for more drama to get worked up over. So now we have Americans hating Americans, people bringing guns and bricks to gatherings, and others who are willing to believe ANYTHING that comes across their news feeds to keep those fearful fires burning. But the only thing these sites accomplish is hysteria, stress, and fear. So, tune out. Most of you already know what you believe in, and aside from writing to your representative or senator, volunteering for a good (non-violent) cause, donating, or voting, there really isn’t much else anyone can do. So with that extra time you’ve been spending on social media sites, go out for a walk and meet people in real life. Say ‘hi’ to neighbors and people in stores, compliment their homemade masks and realize we are all in this crazy stew together. Just think of all the creative things you could be doing with your time besides getting riled up over an opinion piece.
Speaking of being creative… I’ve been pretty busy with a paintbrush myself. Last spring I mentioned how I was struggling with overworking my paintings. I mentioned my need to be more loose with my brushstrokes and allowing the pigment to do its thing. Well, I am happy to report that my paintings are getting better and more expressive. Yay!
I have even taken up a new medium and now I am experimenting with digital pieces. Thanks to a few artists on Youtube, I am finally getting the hang of Procreate. There is still more for me to learn, but I am looking forward to developing my skills in the digital arena.
For October, my goal is to complete the annual #inktober challenge by posting a digital painting every day. I am going with a spooky, botany theme for my prompts and posted them on Instagram for others to use as well. With this challenge, I am hoping to further my digital skills. I’d love to know how you are using #inktober to learn a new artistic skill!
In November, I am thinking of joining NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I am unsure what my daily writing goal will be. I know the NaNo challenge has specific word count goals, but I would rather look at making a daily writing habit than to achieve a specific word goal. Truth be told, I miss writing and would love to find a way to incorporate my writing with my artwork. Hopefully by the end of November I will have a short story finished and will be editing it in December. (Fingers crossed… while typing?)
December will be different this year. My father will not be able to join us for the holidays since his wife is undergoing cancer treatment and neither of them want to take a chance getting Covid while traveling. So the month should be pretty mellow which means more time for art goals. I’m thinking of mystical forests or winter wonderlands. Hmm…
What are your creative goals for Autumn?