Living your best life takes many forms and requires many skills. One of the top ten skills is creativity. Creativity and mental health and their influence on each other is interesting to me personally and professionally. Sometimes the greatest art is born of pain and suffering. Sometimes pain and suffering rob us of creativity. Because it's interesting to me, because I hope I can spark some thought and creativity in my clients and readers, and because I selfishly like picking the brains of creative people, I decided to do a series of interviews about creativity and mental health. This interview is Katerina Cizkova, artist and illustrator. She was gracious enough to take time from studying psychology and being creative to chat with me. Enjoy (ps. The artwork included is hers!)
1. You're an artist. What kind of art do you do?
Although I feel very happy being called an artist, technically I´m still a psychology student in the first place. The art I do doesn´t pay for my living although I would love to get to a point where it partly does so that I could put more time into it without paying for my life and studies doing other jobs. I enjoy all kinds of creative work and I love experimenting and taking up new skills. The most confident I am about my drawing and writing and one of my biggest dreams is to write and illustrate my own children's book. I have lot of ideas in my head and I'm slowly making them happen. I love challenges and I feel very happy when people approach me and ask me to cooperate and create something together.
2. It's not uncommon for creative types to struggle with mental health issues. What do you see as the interplay between mental health and creativity?
There is a very close link between these two. I would say that when we live an authentic happy life we allow our full creative potential to unfold. And in the same time, as we know from the history of art, even great suffering can lead to an amazing creativity. I believe that the link are strong emotions, both positive or negative, that pressure us to express ourselves in some deeper way when mere spoken words aren't enough.
3. You can't possibly feel creative all the time. What do you do to foster creativity and practice your craft even when you're not feeling it? Any tricks you've picked up to help you get out of your own way?
Just do something else for a little while. It´s an old advice but it really works. I usually stop working for a while and then I keep doing something creative but something I do not feel pressured to do. So instead of writing, I sit down and draw or knit for a bit. That usually helps me to relax and stop focusing so much on the „I have to come up with something amazing“ sentence going on in my head. Going for a short walk and listening to my favourite music is also very inspirational. And in the times when I feel really creative, I´m writing all the ideas going through my head down. So even if I do not use them that very time, I will be grateful for them some other day.
4. If you could suggest one thing for my readers to do to help them live their best life, what would that be?
In the evening, before you fall asleep, go through your day one more time and try to write down what made you happy. Even the really small things like nice chat with a collegue, good piece of cake after a lunch or a pretty sunset on your way home. What we know as happiness is actually our ability to recall moments when we felt happy about something. And by writing these down everyday, we support these memories, we recall them easier and therefore we feel generally happier. And usually we find out that there were more pleasing moments than we think.
Get in touch with Katerina: