How do artists, writers and musicians manage mental health?
By Giovanni Navarro
Many articles show different insights in managing depression and mental health. These insights involve relationships, basics of self-care, and creativity. They bring to the surface areas in everyday life that may seem unimportant. Yet, they carry a special importance to one’s mental life.
Quality of relationships matter. It is essential to everyone and the musician. Especially with his or her relations to the music industry. Fiona McGugan, a general manager of Music Manager’s Forum, reports how relationship between musician and manager matters. She states, “Managers are not qualified therapists. So how do they handle complex mental illnesses if they begin to emerge? . . . The most important thing is simply to lend an ear.” Being able to listen and talk to a real person is essential. After listening and talking then “it’s about finding help.” Communicating directly with another human being matters in all kinds of relationships. Giving company, listening as a friend or even as professional helps more than indirect communication through technology. Quality of communication and relations are important overall.
Basic of self-care is also necessary. Rachel Wells, a professional writer based in Nashville, TN, reports ways that artists manage depression. She states, “Take a look at your sleep, nutrition, hydration, exercise and outlet for stress/recreation, leisure or hobby activities and assess what needs support. When our self-care is high, our resiliency and coping increases.” Our basic needs influence our moods and mental life. She suggests for artists to search for inspiration because doing so helps with mental health such as going to museum, gardens, books stores, or going into nature. Going outside helps being engaged with the outside world. It is being active and taking accountability for our own mental lives by taking good care of it.
Lastly, creativity nurtures a healthy mental life. Expressing emotions and connecting with others is part of why it matters. Yet, it is essential because it involves a present mode of thought instead of being in one’s head. Aneri Pattani, a young professional journalist describes this through the experience of a photographer experiencing depression:
“One day in the shower, she suddenly felt she couldn’t breathe. “I thought I was dying,” she recalled. “I didn’t need to kill myself because I was about to be dead.” Hark reached out for her phone to call for help, but accidentally snapped a photo instead. Then she noticed the crack and thought, “That would make a good picture.” “Just that one thought and just that one breath helped me to become more present,” She said. Photography didn’t cure her depression, but it started her on a journey of recovery—one that she continues today. Taking photographs gets her out of the house, engaging with the world around her, and transforming things that some see as ugly—crumbling paint, cracks in a sidewalk—into art.”
Being engaged, active and taking action are important to mental health. Being engaged in the present outside world as opposed to staying in one’s mind is critical. It is essential to be in quality relations in both personal and professional life. Self-care and creativity matter just as much. Taking care of one’s mental health requires a holistic approach.
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