E. S. Danon
5 Things To Do When Anxiety Is Blocking Your Creativity
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
I'd been at a complete creative standstill for about a week, without art or writing. Depression and anxiety had been wreaking havoc on my inner peace, which directly correlated to my creative output. My motivation had gone out the window, and all I wanted to do was curl into bed with the blinds shut. Miraculously, or not so miraculously, I cut that depression crap away with warrior machetes and have found myself again. I'm now working on my second book after a long hiatus, hosting a creative workshop, and writing this blog! Here's what I did to get out of my stump (take note that this is what works for me, but I'm not a health care professional by any means):
1. Drink a cup of coffee, or tea, if that's your thing.
I found that on the days without my usual cup of Joe, I was more irritable and depressed. For those addicted to caffeine like I am, withdrawing from it can lead to serious side effects. If you're trying to kick the bad habit, or just forgot to have a cup of coffee, note how intense the effects are on you. Being in quarantine seems to magnify the withdrawal because you don't have as much to keep your mind off the changes occurring in your body.
Maybe kicking the habit can wait until quarantine is done, or you can taper off it slowly. For those who don't have a schedule, create a coffee/tea habit and stick to it., drinking the chosen beverage at a set time in the day. Make sure to drink it early though so the caffeine doesn't cause insomnia.
2. Go walking, running, or sitting outside.
I didn't run for a week because like the supreme klutz that I am, I stubbed my toe while walking the dog, and because I was wearing flip flops half the toenail broke off. Owe.
Therefore, my first advice would be not to stub your toe. But if you can't help it, try to keep your sanity by at least going for daily walks. If an injury is preventing you from even that, just sit outside and chill.
Exercise is important, but being outside is even more important. Mostly everyone can sit outside, or even go for a stroll. Sitting inside all day is terrible on mental health and increases anxiety and depression. It basically messes up your natural cycle because your body is like where's the sun? I need it on my skin, and I need it now. This is why night-shift workers have higher rates of depression: Look it up.
Side note - I'm now running outside again and already feel ten times better.
3. Vent it out.
If you're living with someone, don't be afraid to have a complete mental breakdown in front of them. I had one in front of my husband and guess what? It totally worked, as in I felt better after letting it all out.
If you don't have someone living with you to vent to, call up a family member or friend. Hash it out. Or scream at your stuffed animal. Also, I find that cuddling and crying to a pet always does the trick. You might get a few licks out of it too, or a few swats to get away.
For some reason, reading always relaxes me whereas binge watching TV puts my anxiety in overdrive. If this is you, trying reading. Better yet, try reading a printed book and give your eyes a break from the stimuli of a computer screen. For anxiety sufferers, staring at any screen (TV or computer) can put your mental senses into overdrive.
Because I'm suffering from insomnia big time, which is causing me to sleep very little on work nights, I sleep the heck in on the weekends. I can lie in bed at night for hours before my brain shuts off: It's a quarantine thing. If this is you, sleep in whenever you can. And if it gets bad enough, call a doctor. I myself am having a telehealth appointment with a sleep specialist next month.
Be careful of naps though, because if you nap too late in the day, this can cause even more insomnia. If you must nap, nap on a lunch break.