Turning Anxiety Into A Productive Creative Day
I got into a habit of only writing when I was anxious or struggling and over the last few years I worked to undo the habit and replace it with a creative practice I could turn to everyday. In the process of doing so, I think I forgot how healing and magical it is to have a blank page to turn to when your mind is an alphabet soup or you’re crawling out of your skin.
There’s something about a blank page that screams possibility and calm. It reminds you that even if your being is feeling anxious, there’s a safe, healthy space and a place that you can use to your advantage. I think that the blank page is able to remain a safe and healthy space, only if you’re honest about what’s driving you to it. Like any relationship, it’s okay to lean on your partner in crime when things get hard, but you don’t want to gaslight, you don’t want to only use that one partner to cope with all problems, and you want to ensure it’s helping instead of prolonging your anxious thoughts.
Whenever I feel anxious and decide to write, I make sure that the environment around my writing experience is also calming too. I have a goal out of the writing experience — to feel some sense of relief and joy at the end of it — and sitting in my favorite comfy clothes, cozy corner at a coffee shop, or listening to my favorite background music helps get me there.
We all have mental health and some of us have mental health we struggle with, it isn’t an indictment on our person or a sentence on the kind of creative we can be — it’s a part of ourselves that we can learn to work with. Honing your creative craft every day allows you the opportunity to turn to it on hard days and also allows you the grace to know when you shouldn’t turn to it at all. There have been many times when my go-to move would have been writing something when really I should have been processing it in therapy or anywhere else.
We learn how to write through trial and error. We learn when to write through trial and error too.
I’m not asking you to turn to the page the next time you’re anxious, I’m asking you to ask yourself if turning to the page will help you or hurt you, the next time you’re anxious.