Mid-January is tough at the best of times – and these are most certainly not the best of times. With many of us having found ourselves back in lockdown during the colder, darker and shorter days of winter, people more aware of their mental health than ever. And with today, Blue Monday, said to be the most depressing day of the year, it's never been more important to engage in some self care.
Last year, superstar digital artist Loish asked her 251,000-plus followers on Twitter for their mental health tips on coping with the year so far, and received over 250 responses. We trawled through the thread to find what we think are the best tips.
As well as the tips below, many creatives suggested using the time to perfect your artwork, or do daily drawing challenges. See our how to draw tutorials or our watercolour techniques article if you are looking to up your skills.
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01. Get dressed every day
It doesn't matter if you're not actually going anywhere, just changing out of your pyjamas and into some different clothes can do wonders for your mood, as the tweeter below attests.
Have backup plans to stay in contact. If you usually text, add them somewhere else too. Discord servers are great!A simple thing that helped boost me too is to still get "dressed" even if I can't go anywhere. Even if it's just a different set of PJs for during the day.October 15, 2020
02. Record the good things
Some people might call it practising gratitude, others might call it writing a list, but @Dogss suggests writing down three good things that happened to you every day, and we think that's a really good idea. In the midst of a lockdown you might have to think quite hard to come up with three good things, but this exercise should help you appreciate essential comforts such as being warm, and having food to eat.
Write down three good things that happened to you each day. Sounds silly, but it has helped me.October 15, 2020
03. Separate work from home
When you're working from home, having a separation between your work and personal life can be tricky, but there are a few things you can do to help. @PiSquare suggests investing in separate devices for home and work to keep things nice and well... separate. See our best laptops for graphic design or best drawing tablets if you want some advice on getting yourself some new kit.
Separating my work and free time devices has been a blessing! I bought a new PC during lockdown for all of my private stuff and I'm keeping things as separate as I can. No work e-mails on my private PC, no drawings on my work iPad, no private surfing on my work devices and so on.October 15, 2020
04. Use an app blocker
Lots of people suggested limiting your time looking at social media, and time spent looking at the news. Some went further and suggested using app blockers to limit the time you spend on certain apps. This could be helpful if you've found simply setting yourself a limit doesn't work for you.
I've put an app blocker on my phone so I'm only allowed to check sites like Twitter once every hour. It's really helped me. I've also started exercising more and try and watch shows/movies with friends as much as I'm able over sites like twoseven, Discord and Kast. Good luck!October 15, 2020
05. Do some exercise
It sounds obvious, but doing exercise really can help keep your brain and body engaged, and do wonders for your mental health. Lots of people suggested this one, with suggestions ranging from doing YouTube videos to getting outside for a walk or a bike ride whenever possible.
Oh yes, and going outside for a bit of exercise. I definitely feel like I've let go of a few things spiraling in my head when I've done my twice-daily bikeride.October 15, 2020
06. Have a living room dance party
If all else fails, then it might just be time to turn up your music and dance around whatever space you have available. Lockdown is the perfect time to dance like nobody's watching, because it's quite probable that no one will be watching (unless you're on a Zoom call that is).
Structure has been helping me a lot, as well as daily exercise and journalling. Also living room dance parties 💃🏾October 15, 2020
For more advice, you can read the whole thread here.