Art and creativity are important for finding protected space away from the negative daily thoughts and experiences. Creativity is a positive driver that shuffles the mind and eases hopelessness and despair.
Perhaps the most important tool I have in my kit is having found a protected space that is somewhat unique. A protected space is for me only, and it gives me free time to think about creativity. I refer to it as “searchin’ for shark teeth.” I live close to the beach so twice a week I head there to collect shark teeth. The activity gives me purpose and the alone time allows me to think of my art while I take in the beach’s colors of blue, green, lavender, ochre, etc. These visits influence my Anna Maria Island Sunsets art series. Finding a shark tooth is a bonus that eases the depression because there is joy in finding teeth among the trillions of grains of sand. It enhances my focus since I am looking for a peculiar thing that most people pass by. Some days I will find ten, other days I may find only one. My goal is to find just one each time.
This activity also gives me much desired alone time where I can think on my own without distractions. The fresh air and scenery are good for my physical health, as well as, mental health. When I go, I feel that I have accomplished something. I may just not feel like going, but I force myself; you may have to force yourself as well. Find that activity for yourself–it could be a similar beach walk, a stroll through the woods nearby, or an amble around the city (I do this activity also)–I can tell you how to look for shark teeth. Just send me a comment. I must reiterate how important this main task is. It kind of serves as the base for calming depression and energizing creativity. When I do it, I feel less depressed and more vital. It gives me a routine that I can look forward to. If my creativity wins by doing such tasks, then I can look for more ways to think of creativity and use it for my benefit. Once I get home from my “search,” I can jot down my new creative thoughts from my beach visit, whether they arise for my art, or for other things in my life like making me feel good about myself. This really helps with the depression. See if you can develop a passion for such an activity. Search for something, whether it is deep blue skies, rolling waves, people watching, or whatever else may inspire you. Plan it and see if your depression eases (even if only for the moment), and if you creativity gets a nudge. But do it consistently! It is your waiting space.
I can also escape into the world of decay…or rather…the beauty of decay. Seeing the wonder of form and color in decaying wood, metal and stone is a sort of protected space where the mind can be busy. An old, decaying door is good to look at because of its changes in textures, its layered strata of peeling paint, moss, rust, etc. The natural changes are things to behold because I know they inspire my own artwork.