Stress. It’s the universal teeth clenching, head pounding, sleep depriving pain in the everything that we all either experience at least once…or all the time.
After last week’s promising outlook for a brand new year, 2021 has proven itself to not necessarily be all glowing positives. Having been going through an awful lot on my end and falling off the ‘gram quite a bit because of it, I have been trying to do my best to balance life and stress, life and stress, life and stress… And then this week came around and sure did a number on many, wouldn’t you say?I know the opinions on the events of this week may range in some folks, but for the majority, there is a lot of stress, disappointment, anger, sadness, and all sorts of other very hard emotions to deal with.
Because of this, I thought it would be nice to talk about one of my favorite stress relieving activities (alongside exercise, deep breathing, yoga, and various other self-care and health-conscious activities). For me, major stress relief comes from calligraphy and lettering.
I know—I’m a calligrapher and letterer, and this is the bulk of my business, but I’m fortunate in that this business is chock full of opportunities for me to practice something that soothes my soul and helps to deal with “the hard stuff.” If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ve likely already heard in greater detail that I found calligraphy (or more accurately, it found me) at a time when my personal life was falling apart. A close family member had been diagnosed with a terminal illness, I’d lost a cat (and was about to lose another), my heart had been broken, and I was starting to have a lot of medical problems that ultimately resulted in a medical leave from work, and later, a reduction of work. During that time, I had to calm myself down, way the heck down, and fast. I’m stress and anxiety prone, never mind insomnia prone, so stuff was hitting the fan, and I needed to calm.
While a bazillion hours of yoga, meditation, and coloring books was helpful, I needed something that felt “productive” and yet was calming and meditative. An activity that would make me feel good in doing it, and yet help relax me…and in a very roundabout way, through someone who practiced it, and a memory of wanting to learn it, I found my way to The Happy Ever Crafter’s YouTube tutorials, and then buried myself in practicing this fun new art form.
Practice makes progress, and stress creates a need for more calm, so what started as 10 minutes a night soon became 20, then 30, then some days I’d look up and realize I’d been practicing my lettering through dinner time and almost for two hours straight!
It’s because I found the art so meditative and calming—and because it has a real structure to it that appealed to my math degree brain—I ended up starting Jaded Studios. But, all business things aside, I still find calligraphy incredibly soothing when I need to calm the heck down. It’s expanded a bit into doodling floral designs, building up my bullet journal, and a lot of watercolor work, but some nights I’ll just pop myself in front of a journal practicing the seven main calligraphy strokes, or lettering random words, or writing block letters to relax my mind.
If calligraphy is not your bag and you just like to look at it, I totally get it, but something to soothe your soul is critical—especially with the world such a crazy place right now.
So, I’d love to hear what you do to chill out, wind down, catch some air, or de-stress. What are your go-to activities?
If you are in search of something, I highly recommend art, be it lettering, drawing, painting, model making, photography, mixed media, or on and on. Art therapy is not just a phrase we artists mutter to gain street cred—it’s real.
But, as everyone is different, I’d love to hear your unique stress relief activity! I hope you’ll share below.
In the meantime, be safe, be well, and try to stay sane at this crazy time.