I’ve had many recent conversations with friends about how we Seattleites deal with the dark days of fall & winter. Some use special daylight bulbs in our houses, some bury themselves in work or play, and some just can’t avoid the looming slump we sometimes fall into when it’s dark at a barely 4pm in the afternoon. January is getting brighter and brighter but the dark clouds over the Sound never help.
Today was gorgeous; bright sky, few clouds and people were soaking it in. It’s amazing how the weather here can effect daily interactions and I found myself reflecting on how it affected me. Usually when I’m stressed, I occupy myself with exercise (like a long bike ride, urban hike with my dog, or back-to-back 90-minute dance classes). It’s a challenge to get my creative juices flowing when I’m in ‘a funk’. I rely on those activities to break me out so I can appropriately apply myself to produce my best work.
Conversely, I have cranked out some of my favorite paintings while battling stress and anxiety. There have been many occasions when I had to cut myself off from social activities to deal with my stress (forcing myself to paint, draw or craft). It’s incredibly cathartic. Blinded by my emotions I ignore my inhibitions and, with this mental freedom, create something I might not have on my own.
This [stress] silver lining carries a lot of weight for me through the fall and winter in a small apartment. I can go stir crazy very easily, which is why I frequently joke that the dance studio is my second home. Having these escapes keeps me mentally healthy and happy. At the same time, acknowledging how stress gives me different creative inspiration is just as valuable. This month, I am experimenting with FIMO modeling clay. And I’m pretty addicted. I have no idea what I’m doing but it’s damn fun molding my stress away.