Practicing the art of self-care through creative expression

Post by
Ruth Stephensen
Practicing the art of self-care through creative expression

Does being creative transport you to your happy place? We believe creative stimulation and expression are some of the best things you can do to improve your happiness and well-being.

There are many health benefits attributed to being creative such as brain function and mental health. Getting in a state of creative flow is a mood booster as it reduces anxiety and even your heart rate! Many people find themselves reaching a zen-like state from repetitious activity such as drawing, editing or writing, and the meditative effects of which are like a natural anti-depressant.

It's not just the physical act of creating that is therapeutic, it can also be a meaningful way to process experiences and reduce emotional burdens. People use creating as an outlet to channel their personal anxieties or process trauma through sharing and storytelling. Expressing their feelings through creative mediums has helped many people overcome hardships and improved their mental health.

We asked several inspiring creators within our community about the positive impacts being creative has had on their lives and mental well-being. Read about their experiences below.

Joel Robison

Joel is a photographer, artist, and mental health advocate who regularly shares his personal journey with mental health through his Instagram account @joelrobinson

"Creativity and photography have been one of the primary ways that I've been able to understand myself, my emotions, my anxieties, and my mind. Art has a very powerful and personal way to connect with others and share with them how we feel, how we think, and what we are going through. Being able to convey these ideas through creativity and art has been deeply beneficial and helpful to my own mental well-being and I know creativity has helped others in theirs as well"

I created this image a couple of years ago, around this time. I was coming out of a rather long depression, fueled by the loss of my uncle from suicide and the compounding anxiety, grief, and hurt that it caused. I woke up one morning with some heavy jet lag after flying back to Canada and looked out to see this heavy fog covering the trees. Something in me just said, "you have to get it out". So I crept into the dew heavy grass and shot a few photos.

I wish I could say that immediately it took the hurt and heaviness away, it didn't. But it did help, and I realized the importance of a thousand small steps instead of one big one. Every day I'd tell myself "one more step" and gradually I worked myself out of that state of mind.

Bronte ‘Bee’ Huskinson

Bee is a creative visual storyteller who shares literary-inspired images on her Instagram account from @frombeewithlove.

"Creativity helps me HUGELY will my mental health. When I was going through a really hard time in my life, my creativity and photography gave me somewhere to put my energy. It gave me a purpose, an outlet, and most importantly, a distraction. Creativity reached out a hand to me when I needed it the most and pulled me out of one of the darkest points of my life. And for that, I am eternally grateful"

I've discovered there are a few primary things that get in between people and their ability to express themselves through creativity. Here are some mindset shifts you can apply to help.

Time: We often tell ourselves we have no time, I know I used to do this a lot. Now every time I hear myself say it I say “No, I have __ minutes"⠀⠀

To move from ‘I don't have time to be creative’ to ‘I have 20 minutes now, maybe I could try something.’⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Perfectionism: While I expect a lot, I'm not a perfectionist. I’ve learned that this can block you and stop you. In fact, you might notice I have spelling and grammar mistakes often. Some people might find that a challenge and that's OK, but for me, it's the price I’m willing to pay to get work out into the world.

I went from ‘is it perfect?’ to ‘is it 70% perfect?’ and I can’t tell you how much that changed my life.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Fear of judgment: A lot of people fear judgment - I have to say this is something I’ve never really cared about the only person I have ever felt in competition is with myself.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

A judgment is just an opinion. So when someone says something to you just reply back “…in your opinion”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

So maybe change ‘I will be judged’ to ‘people will have opinions, and they are just that; their opinions.’

Sarah Roizman

Digital creator and Instagram guru Sarah from @sarahs.insta.secrets finds support in the community she has found through being creative online.

"Being a small business owner and a mum, it is not as easy as it seems. I often at times forget about self-care. But after I found a community of creative photographers and artists on Instagram, everything changed. Now, the creation of magical memories is like meditation for me. The editing process mesmerizes me and helps me to relax."


Indu Vishwanath Singh

Food stylist and photographer Indu from @alettertomyfood uses her creativity to recharge her batteries and boost her mood.

"I’m reminding myself that there’s a lot more prioritising that needs to be done in a day to feel really uplifted and happy! Mental health is so important and when you are a creative, it’s the best medicine to stay content!

Like everything else, a break is needed for creativity to refuel inside of a person. It’s that fine line between creation and mundane that makes us all unique”

Pamela Thistle

Digital artist Pamela hasn't let Usher Syndrome stifle her creativity. After losing two of her most vital senses, eyesight and hearing, Pamela had to step back from her career as an Interior Designer and now expresses her creativity on her Instagram account @theblindthistle.

"When I stopped working I had absolutely no idea what to do with my life (like a lot of people, my career defined who I was) and I needed an outlet for my creativity as well as my anger/depression at not being able to live my life as it has been.

When it comes to my creativity, I believe that my disability actually helps me in some way. I believe that everyone has creativity in them in some way. The key is finding the right outlet in which to do that"


Dutch creator Ellen creates uplifting artworks on @mycolorfulsquares as an expressive and therapeutic process while she copes with a debilitating chronic disease.

"Being creative has given my life purpose again. I can’t work, and on good days, I can hardly take care of myself. I needed a goal again in life and being able to create something has brought me so much joy.

If I can draw for 30 minutes and not be able to draw at all for a week as a result I enjoy those 30 minutes even more. Choosing quality over quantity is what makes my life amazing."

Thank you to all of these passionate creators for sharing their stories and experiences with us.

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