Expressing yourself creatively can give a great your mental health a real boost . For some people, creativity comes naturally. Maybe they’re artistic, can play an instrument or have some other talent or hobby they enjoy. For others, however, the thought of being creative is daunting. Maybe because it is so often associated with a certain ‘type’ of person, or with having a really strong talent or skill. This isn’t the case, however! Anyone can be creative. True creativity isn’t necessarily about a means to an end. You don’t have to produce a work of art or compose a successful piece of music (although finishing a project is quite satisfying in itself), but simply enjoy the process of creation.
Ruah Mental Health (linked above) lists three “simple ways to get started” for those who are daunted by the idea of being creative:
Make a creative space – a physical space in your home, where you can express yourself creatively; do creative projects; and collect and store items for your creative activities.
Schedule creative time – create a weekly space in your diary for creative activity; 2 or 3 hours is a good start.
Join a creative class or group – follow your interests, learn more, and connect with people who share the same passion as you.
These tips are great even for seasoned creatives. Factors like stress, anxiety and depression can really drain your motivation for tasks you once loved dearly. Getting back into it requires taking often difficult steps to shrug off these low moods and force yourself to make a start again.
Creativity also doesn’t have to be limited to activities ‘typically’ associated with creativity: things like art, music, drama, dance etc. For those who are looking for something different, here’s a list of some other creative hobby ideas!
Today’s blog post is a short list of some of the mental health services available for free help in Australia, especially for young people. These foundations provide lots of information on mental health issues as well as free counselling services if you are feeling overwhelmed.
If you have any other foundations or online services (such as forums or communities) that you have had good experiences with, feel free to add them in the comments! They don’t necessarily have to be based in Australia.
“working to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the community by raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience”
beyondblue provides support, phone (1300 22 4636) and web (4pm-10pm) counselling services, fact sheets and resources on mental health issues. Not just for those suffering, but for friends and loved ones who are concerned about someone or want to understand what they are going through. There are also resources for schools, workplaces and healthcare professionals.
youthbeyondblue is specifically for younger adults and teenagers, with lots of easy-to-understand fact sheets.
“a counselling service for Australian children and young people aged between 5 and 25 years”
Created for children and teenagers/young adults, the Kids Helpline site features information and advice about a range of issues, such as family issues, relationships and school, or understanding grief and loss. The great thing about the site is that it features two separate sections for the different age groups. Adults can also learn about what the organisation does. Kids Helpline is well known for its 24 hour phone counselling service (1800 55 1800), but they also provide web and email services.
“the national youth mental health foundation. We help young people who are going through a tough time”
Another youth-targeted foundation, Headspace provides fact sheets, information and online chat and and telephone support services (eheadspace). There are also headspace centres located across Australia. Contacy your local centre for more information on how to access this service.
A free online self help program for depression and anxiety, developed by the Australian National University (ANU). CBT can help you to identify and overcome problematic feelings and develop better coping methods for the future.
“dedicated to bringing about change to the culture, policy and practice in the prevention, treatment and support of those affected by eating disorders and negative body image.”
Eating disorders can be very difficult for people to understand and treat. The Butterfly Foundation provides support services and resources for those affected by eating disorders. They also have a support line (1800 ED HOPE / 1800 33 4673) and email service (email@example.com). Recovery is possible for all sufferers; the first step is seeking help.
Today while browsing Tumblr I came across a fantastic comic that manages to sum up what this campaign is all about in a fantastic and visual way. I liked it so much I decided it deserved it’s own post. You can check out the original post over at the artist, Corey Marie’s, website.
Everyone knows exercising is good for your mental and physical health (particularly for students). It is highly recommended to help manage depression and anxiety. Some studies even suggest that it can be as helpful as medication. Exercise also helps to boost self esteem, relieve stress by working out those frustrated feelings, and can break up the cycle of pessimistic thinking. Team sports are also an easy way to socialise.
Most of us know we should be exercising, but some of us enjoy it more than others. Today’s post will look at how to get the most out of your work out. Continue reading →
Maintaining good sleeping habits can help to improve your general health by reducing fatigue and boosting concentration, mood, memory and coordination. Sleep is your body’s chance to recharge and repair. However, getting the right amount of sleep can be difficult for many people, as we lead busy lives full of work (shift work can be extra detrimental to health), stress and children. The lifestyle of a university or college student is often just as unhealthy, with odd sleeping hours, all-nighters rushing to finish assignments and late nights due to work or social outings. Too much sleep can also be problematic, as it makes your prone to being more tired. Oversleeping can be due to factors such as depression, illness or just tiredness.
So how much sleep should you be getting? For an adult the recommendation is around seven to eight hours a night.
The complex science behind sleep is fascinating enough to deserve it’s own post; today’s post, however, covers tips on getting a better night’s sleep.
Setting aside time for relaxation is important for maintaining good mental health and decreasing stress levels. Today’s post will offer a range of suggestions – from simple, quick activities to more complex exercises. In my previous post on The Healthy Mind Platter, Rock and Siegal refer to this as ‘Time In’. Continue reading →