It's easy, when you're feeling unwell, to just want to fester, curl up into a ball and not do anything. Whilst it might pass the time, it's not going to help you feel any better.
Having a series of coping strategies (or what we call the Man-Kit) will help you when you're not feeling so well. Being creative can be a massive part of that.
You don't have to be the next Tony Hart (ask your Mum), nor do you need any special skill to be creative. It doesn't have to be all 'arts and crafts' to work for you. It can incorporate things in your life that you already love, can already do or already have just waiting to be utilised. Guys, it's time to get your creative juices flowing.
The creative medium you choose will probably work best if it's based around a subject, or a topic, that you enjoy. That doesn't mean you can't try something completely new, in fact, we'd positively recommend it.
Whether you're choosing to express your creativity through music, drawing, painting, knitting (guys knit, get over it), writing, poetry, song, sculpture or crafting, you will be able to do it almost anywhere you are, with little or no cost involved. Whatever you choose, the therapeutic nature will be a massive help to you.
We've tried to give you a few pointers to things you can try below. Bear in mind that this isn't a complete list but it may inspire you to do something amazing. If so, please let us know.
Writing; If writing is your particular bag, then try writing a blog, or even a book. It could be about your experiences of mental illness or that novel you've always wanted to write. Nowadays, the option to self-publish means that, if you want to, you can share your book with the world very easily. If a book is a little daunting, then ease into it with a series of short stories. You could even try writing poetry, capturing your inner most feelings in the most lyrical way.
Drawing; You don't have to be the next Picasso to create art. Whether it's doodling on a notepad, water colours, acrylic paint on canvas or even colouring books (they have them for adults now you know!), harnessing your artistic nature is often a way of expressing yourself, especially if words or talking about your issues doesn't come easy.
Music; We're a passionate fan of music here at Men Tell Towers. Listening to music helps a lot, but you could always try making some. Whether you want to learn to play an instrument (everything from a recorder to a drum kit) or even write a song, you have the opportunity to make some music. There are also lots of great apps you can put on your phone to help with your process. Apps like Garageband, Loopy or Auxy are all firm favourites with us.
Crafting; Remember all those Blue Peter creations you enjoyed as a kid, it might be time to embrace your inner 'Peter Duncan' and create something both beautiful and useful. There are many shops that will help you achieve this. Whether you want to build a model, create something for your home or the next fashion craze, it's all in the power of your hands....literally.
HOW CAN CREATIVITY HELP?
Creativity not only allows you bring something uniquely beautiful into the world (and when is that ever a bad thing), it also helps you with issues that might be affecting you deep within.
It can increase your self-esteem and your confidence. Seeing your new 'baby', whatever it is, take shape will give you a tremendous sense of self-worth. Let's face it, whatever you've created, no one else on the planet could have done it in the way you have......What is it again?
Creativity also gives you something to focus on, even if it is for a short period (not that it has to be). Mental illness can cause your brain to get stuck in a vicious circle of negative thinking, so anything that can break that will help you. Whether your painting a future masterpiece, writing a blog post or knitting a Christmas jumper (I told you, men KNIT!!), having something to put all your mental energy into will help you enormously.
It will also reinforce that you are capable of things, often many more than you probably give yourself credit for. If, for example, you're learning to play a musical instrument make a conscious effort to remember how 'pants' you'll be at the beginning and then, as time passes, make a point of realising how far you've come. The more you do it, the better you'll get. Unlike chopping off your fingers, which works the opposite way.
The other joy of creativity is that you never quite know where it's going to take you. What might start out as a simple way to improve your mood or just to pass the time, could turn into a way to make extra money by teaching classes, selling products or making a whole new living (of which we're entitled to 20% for encouraging you to do it). Go on, give it a try.
LEGAL NOTICE - Our lawyers have urged us to state that we're NOT entitled to 20% of your future earnings ;-)
If you have any experience about how any being creative has helped you and you'd like to share it with our community, please take a look at our 'Men Tell' section.