We get creative of course! It doesn't matter what your 'day job' is, we all suffer from some form of work related stress at some point in our working lives. With today's hectic lifestyle we often forget about looking after our mental health. If we broke a limb we would get ourselves to a Dr as soon as possible, but we often ignore the signs of mental stress.
In previous articles we've looked at the increasing evidence about how being creative can help to improve mental well-being and how the benefits are seen from just one engagement in a new craft, but those benefits are cummulative and the longer we engage in creative activities the bigger and more long term the benefits.
But what about those of us who are immersed in the creative industry. Generally speaking you only follow a carreer in the creative indstry if you already have a passion and drive for making in one form or another. For those of us who make a business out of it enter into the stresses seen in any other business sector - revenue, marketing, production, shipping etc, the list is endless. So how do we take advantage of the benefits of being creative? The simple answer is we explore something new. Just by giving ourselves time to explore a different craft we give ourselves permission to step outside of our day to day stresses.
The photographs are a selection from our Ashes & Oak Make it 2 Break it programmes and from an afternoon my husband spent doing something completely different to his normal craft. For someone who is generally immersed in wood turning an afternoon working in a hot forge at Chain Bridge Forge in Spalding, Lincolnshire is certainly something that provided distraction from the day to day stresses. The results of three hours in the forge was a bespoke toasting fork and a bottle opener. The hearts made from old horse shoes were created by the teacher of the day. Everyone at the forge was welcoming and eager to pass on their skills. My son and I were able to spectate the afternoon's creations being made and were made to feel very welcome.
So whether you're a creative looking for something different or you work in another industry and are looking for a craft to help improve your mental well-being there are many individuals and small businesses that are willing to share their skills with you and take you on a crafting journey to better mental well-being. Don't take our word for it, if you've ever wished you had a particular crafting skill, find a course and go for it. The list of crafts is endless and I'm personally looking forward to exploring glass blowing in the near future. Our own programmes at Ashes & Oak are designed to offer programmes to suit everyone's needs, more information can be found here, and you can find a variety of blacksmithing experiences here.