The best cure for a dry period to simply to keep at it. Good things are happening, soon to be revealed.
– Eleanor Blair
I’ve felt pretty useless the last few days and the worst part is I don’t even have a reason for feeling bad. I hate that. I can feel a bad mood coming like a tsunami wave and all I can do is ride it out. In the throes of a creative block, it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle. The more I beat myself up, ruminate and panic, the worse it gets. Looking for a quick fix, I turn to Google but the advice I find doesn’t work, it feels too impersonal, too cliché.
This morning, I decided to do things differently. Instead of turning on my laptop and checking email, I got out of bed and took a shower. Then I rode my bike to the beach.
Big whoop, that’s hardly a big deal! It might sound stupid but I fought against the urge to stay inside, curled up in a ball. I dug my heels in and stopped listening to the negative voices in my head. It felt good. Looking at my surroundings this morning, at the beautiful, still water, I felt calm and inspired for the first time in a while.
Usually, when I’m feeling bad, two things help most. The first is going outside, whether it’s a short walk around the block, a bike ride, or a drive, it doesn’t matter. I just do whatever’s feasible at the time. The second is pushing through and getting to work. I do small things that keep me occupied, like hoovering, clearing out a drawer, a little dusting, washing up a cup or plate, it’s all good. If I’m feeling up to it, I’ll write.
Abraham Lincoln, William James, Georgia O’Keeffe, Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, the Buddha, all of these people lived with depression but still managed to be productive. Lincoln used humour to feel better. O’Keeffe valued travel and solitude. Kafka cherished time spent with loved ones.
Painting, drawing, writing, taking photos, reading, gaming, laughing, exercising, spending time with loved ones, resting, travelling, meditating, working, all of these things can help us get through the bad times. Our personal coping mechanisms and strategies are as individual as us all.
Don’t beat yourself up when you feel blocked, it’ll just make you feel worse. Take time to figure out what self-care methods work best for you.
Maybe then, the art will follow.