From the Blog

How to Look After Your Mental Health as a Creative

Man typing on bench.

Image by Jonny Linder from Pixabay.

Written by Harper Reid, Writer 

Managed to make a professional pursuit out of your passion? Massive props: you’re one of the select few humans who get to do what they love for a living. But plying your trade as a creative isn’t all sunshine and roses. Factors like financial precarity and the pressure of actually maintaining your creativity can take a real toll on your mental health in the long term.

Since psychological wellbeing is necessary to stimulate and sustain those creative juices, however, it pays to know how to look after that all-important head of yours. Here are some easy ways to keep sane when the going gets tough, and to keep on producing that high-quality work that your clients love you for.

  1. Change up your work environment

Creatives thrive when they change up their working environment. There’s a bit of cliché when it comes to creatives working in cafes, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it – the low buzz of conversation in campus coffee shops can offer a lovely sense of community for the lonely worker. And for some reason, a little white noise really does help to sharpen concentration, so that you can get a head-start on some of those more complex tasks.

  1. Get moving

Stuck for inspiration on a Monday? Go for an outdoor campus walk, and see what fantastic ideas your brain returns to you in exchange for some fresh oxygen. Feeling sluggish and unable to focus? An hour-long yoga class will ease you into alertness once again. Trust us – a little exercise will do wonders for both your body and your mind.

Man holds painted mess

Photo by Alice Achterhof on Unsplash.

3. Try creating without a purpose

For most of us in creative industries, there’s a difference between the work we do for clients, and the kind of creating that fills our soul. After all, clients bring briefs and rules, and you’ve got to fit your artistic talent into those prescriptions. For some creatives, this may lead to feelings of lost autonomy, and perhaps even to a new apathy for the medium in which you work.

Rediscover what made you love creating in the first place by starting a personal project after working hours. The one rule is that it has to be purposeless. Don’t put deadlines on yourself, and don’t think about whatever material gain could stand at the end of the project. Just get lost in creating, and see how much more fire you have in your belly when the working week rolls around.

4. Stay in your lane

When a project’s going badly, it can be all too easy to start comparing your career and lifestyle to that of your peers. Social media doesn’t help: it seems that every day someone’s posting about the completion of a grand marketing campaign or new promotions.

Try to remember that people tend to share their highlights. They’re not going to publicise their complaints about open-office working, let alone the monotony of their actual work. If you’re feeling the urge to compare, try and recall why you established yourself as a creative in the first place. Was it to have more control over your career? To do something you love every day? You’re doing work differently for a reason – so stay in your lane, and keep swimming.


NOTE FROM THE #PSEWEB EDITORIAL TEAM: Harper Reid reached out to #PSEWEB about writing a piece for creatives in our higher-ed community. Reid is a passionate, creative writer who has contributed to various blogs and enjoys producing high-quality content for local sites such as Crombie Lockwood. Despite her busy schedule, she makes time for discovering and exploring new hobbies and experiences. Follow her personal blog to see snippets of her written works.

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