What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
I like reading, writing, playing computer games, going for walks, drawing, and finding new music. Stuff that seems to help me get more joy out of my day to day life. Things that keep my hands, and my mind, busy. Which, a requirement at how ‘doomsday’ the world seems right now.
My brain struggles to focus on things. So I think I am going to paint something’, and I simply stare at the piece of paper, and nothing happens. My brain just stalls. So then, I try to write a to-do list, to try and motivate me, as to-do lists do help when I have housework and stuff to do. But it doesn’t work with things I normally enjoy. Things become a chore, and any pleasure is gone.
Sometimes, I think that I like to do too many things, for the time I seem to be able to give. I have to learn, that I don’t have to do all of the things, all of the time. Which will take time. My mind still tells me that I have failed for not doing everything. It’s like, because I have failed on things in life, I think that everything I do must lead to failure.
Over the years, social media networks have come and gone. Instagram, is a social network that I have used since I learned of it’s existence, back in my college days.
It’s the social network that provides me the most joy. I can post opinions, memories, or even wee stories of my day. And, in return, I get to see what other people create. I have made friends, followed artists and people that inspire me every day, and genuinely have fun on Instagram.
Instagram seems to get pulled up as the worst social media site, especially for the content that young eyes can find. People need to understand that social media sites run off what information you give it. What information and hashtags you may use, is what helps create the content you view. I think people need to be educated on how to use social media, before they start blaming it for everything. Social media makes money by curating a timeline that a user will interact with. Because heavy interaction, means there is more chance of adverts being seen, clicked on, and maybe sales made.
I follow accounts of artists, friends and people who post stuff that encourages me. I save topics like ‘alternative’, ‘Naruto’, ‘BlackPink’, ‘journaling’ and many more. I am not interested in fashion or make-up, so I find that I don’t get recommended pages of models and diet focused accounts.
Parents should always be aware of how social media sites work. Educate themselves. If you don’t like what you find, you protect your child. Teach them how to use social media responsibly, show what dangers lie on the internet. Because it should be taken just as seriously as dangers outside in the real world. If a parent refuses to understand how a site works, they can’t expect their child to.
My instagram is like a journal, a bit of a visual blog. I post what catches my attention, rather than just selfies of myself. I understand different people use it for different reasons, and that’s okay. But having such a outlet, has helped my mental health. If I am struggling, i try to go for a walk to take some pictures. And it really helps me gain some focus. It makes me sad that some people see everything on the internet as bad. To me it’s the opposite.
The biggest issue that I have with my own mental health, is the lack of feeling. The numbness that seems to take over everything, that just seems to make everything seem rather pointless. For me, it means that I find it very difficult to find any drive, because there is no reason to do anything. It makes me really down.
It’s why writing, and doing anything creative, is so hard. How can you find something to create, when your mind is stuck looking at a metaphorical grey wall? And, even if I can force something creative, I find that I go round in circles. Saying the same things, drawing over already drawn lines. It’s something that is really hard to get through. When people say that they have a creative block, a lot of the time they say it because they are struggling to create anything at all. For me, especially recently, it’s creating stuff that’s been done before.
People always say that, when life is challenging, you have to power through it, and get out at the other side. But, my problem is, that how do you know when you are at the ‘other side’? It just feels like there is one thing after another, it is never ending. And it’s hard. I think, that when you are younger, your are told that the hard stuff is things like work, and bills. These things are almost abstract when you find yourself struggling with just the physical and mental strain of simply getting out of bed.
I have found myself writing my feelings into a traditional journal. It’s been good. It means, that I am still able to get my feelings out, but don’t seem to overthink, or procrastinate as much as I do when there is an internet connection involved.
So, I write a few pages of rambling, before bed. And it actually has been helping me sleep better. Because I am not clicking on another tab, or looking through Facebook nonsense. It’s a positive thing. And in these, very challenging, times, it’s good to try and claim any positivity we can.
I got a wee email from WordPress the other day. They like to send emails to help content creators get inspired and motivated. And during a period where I find myself struggling to create, this can be pretty helpful. This email said that sometimes posting smaller updates can strengthen a connection with an audience.
Now, I love reading blogs that have long posts, and that is what I have found myself creating. However, I do use sites like Instagram and Twitter, so I do see the benefit of small, punchy posts. It’s not something I ever thought about doing on my blog. Which seems really strange, the more I think about.
A lot of the information that is posted, is about growing an audience. I never started this blog to gain any kind of audience, it was something for me. But, I do have a lot of people who do follow this blog, so maybe it would be nice to provide them with more. Because, honestly, i post so sporadically sometimes, that I think folk get surprise when they do see a post by me.
The main reason behind the lull in content, is because I can’t focus. As I’ve already mentioned, I start posts and give up. So, maybe smaller updates would help. I don’t know about anyone else, but I do put more pressure on myself if I haven’t posted in a while. So maybe wee updates, more like Tumblr or instagram would help.
I explained in earlier posts, that one of my aims for 2020, was to try and be a lot more creative. Something that always helps me boost my creativity is to ‘refresh’ things. I feel like it allows me to mentally draw a line under what has happened already, and focus on what is coming next. It is not foolproof, and sometimes I still struggle, but it is always worth a try.
Over the next week or so, this blog is going to be changing a wee bit. I am going to try and find a new layout that suits what I need, and personalise it a wee bit. I think that refreshing online accounts is always a good thing. It also means that if you don’t feel like you use a service or site anymore, you can get rid of it. Lessen the load, if you know what I mean. This is all the more important, if you read the reports on how so much social media, and web services, are causing people anxiety due to the pressure of ‘trying to keep up’.
Luckily, keeping this blog is something that actually helps me mentally. I don’t think many people I know actually read it, so there is no pressure. I can write honestly, which helps document my journey. I have kept this blog for years, so I do feel that it deserves some TLC every now and then. To be honest, when I fell out with the graphic design stuff, a few years back, I started to find being creative so much harder. I felt that the stuff that came freely to me, wasn’t good enough, and it broke my flow. If that makes sense.
So, if things look a bit odd over the next week or so, that is all it is. A wee freshen up.
Try to experience life in the moment: I sometimes worry too much about what could happen, rather than focus on what is actually happening. It is something created by my anxiety, but I want to try and change how I think about stuff. It seems hard, but it’s worth a try.
Get healthier: this is on a lot of people’s resolution list. I don’t care about weight really, I just want to feel better. I am trying Veganuary, in the hope I will feel better. Luckily a lot of people are trying it, so there is so much support. Again, I might not get it perfect, but it has to start from somewhere.
Draw more: I think I used this last year. I have purchased an Apple Pencil to use on my iPad, so that I can draw digitally. I just need to practice more. It’s always hard using a new tool, but it is something a wee bit exciting. If anything decent happens, I’ll share on here.
Write more: this is definitely something I did say last year. But 2019 kicked me in the butt quite hard. My mental health was rubbish, and that lead to me not wanting to do much at all. So, I hope that I post more than I did in 2019, which shouldn’t be too hard.
I like giving myself vague targets, because it makes it slightly easier to aim for. Because sometimes, if you fall too far behind, you just give up. Or I do.
Every time I see a challenge for blogging, I want to join in. I want to see myself do something, than I can say was successful. Because, I will be honest, me and success don’t necessarily go hand and hand. I am a serial failer, it is like a talent. Not a talent anyone actually wants to have, to be honest.
The aim of blogmas is to create something every day of December and post it online. It is supposed to be a boost to your creativity, something to help kickstart flagging creativity. It sometimes works. A lot of the time I don’t keep up with anything, and I fall begging after a couple of days.
This doesn’t mean that I can’t try. I am optimistic, but life is rather busy at the moment. I know a lot of people are very good at being creative regularly, and when speaking to them, they have said that constantly challenging yourself is essential to keeping creativity alive.
Sometimes it feels like everything is too much. It’s like I have so much to try and focus on, it’s like my brain is going to explode. There is too much to get done, and I am far to indecisive to pick what needs to be done first.
There is so much going on that my attention flits between different things. I always have a list of things I need to get done, and every night I come home and do none of it. Which is bad enough. But I sometimes have time sensitive things that needs done, and I can’t do it. It’s like my brain stalls, and I simply sit and do nothing instead.
When I try to get myself moving, it is never just the one think my mind picks at. No, everything comes at once. ‘I have washing to do’, is joined with ‘I’d better study’, then ‘I still haven’t finished that book’. And finally ‘look at this political mess, everything is f#*ked’. Now separately these things seem okay, but, all together it’s another story. It all adds to my anxiety, the panic I feel when it seems like I can’t do anything.
It’s this feeling of failure, when I can even do the most basic of goals. I over-think and become overwhelmed. It’s not a nice feeling.
I find it hard to be creative, sometimes. Especially when it feels like life is very boring. Sometimes you wake, work, eat, sleep, rinse and repeat. It feels very boring because you do the same thing every day and it is very hard to get inspired. It can feel hard enough trying to function in your daily life without the need for inspiration to strike.
And, that is what I tend to struggle with the most. I am a naturally creative, person. I like keeping busy by making things. But, you often need to be able to imagine those things before you can create them. It has become one of those problems that has become difficult to describe to people who aren’t of the creative mind. Like, how do you find the interesting, in the mundane?
When someone finds the answer, it would be great if they would let me in on the secret.
This month, although I haven’t stuck to this challenge, I have been able to keep at it. The topic sitting at the sidelines, means that, if I can switch off, I can try and do something. And like most things, creativity becomes easier once you have beaten the mental block. And, for me that is good. As sometimes the challenges I opt into, don’t have any prompts, and that often makes my mental block worse. As if I can’t imagine random content ad hoc, how can I do it on demand? So, maybe going forward, I shall try and look at prompt lists, just to have in the background. Just to be there if I feel the need to write, but can’t think up anything.
The important thing is that if you do feel fed-up with life, try to find the differences in every day, or add stuff to your routine that makes it better. Most lives feel mundane, no matter the person or the job. Every job has its routine, the boring, but essential, parts. So part of adulthood may be learning to find the excitement within the mundane.