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Prompt #66 - We are what we do
How green are you?
Hi, I‘m Lorena and welcome to The Stress Less Pencil. Together, we create art to make us feel good, not to make it look good. All weekly prompts are designed for total beginners and experienced artists alike, so let's go.
When it comes to health and nutrition, they say you are what you eat. In data science, they say, "shit in, shit out." Both beautifully sum up a universal truth: what you put into a system has a huge impact on the outcome.
This also applies to our mental wellbeing. If we're having a hard time and we're feeding ourselves the mental equivalent of a bucket of KFC every night, chances are we're not making it any easier for ourselves.
If we want to improve our resilience and our mental health fitness, we need to make sure we're digging into the salad buffet of life as much as we can. Before we can make any improvements, however, we need to take stock of what we're filling ourselves up with today.
The Activity - Your Mental Diet Jar
Step 1 - The Ingredients
Take a piece of paper and write a list of what you did last week. How did you spend your time? There are the big obvious chunks, like working or studying. But then there are also the things around it. How do you spend your free time? Make sure you list the good things, as well as the bad, or maybe seemingly insignificant things. Meeting friends, doing chores, bingeing Netflix, reading, etc.
Step 2 - Fill the Jar
On a new page, draw the outline of a jar. If a jar is too tricky, you can also draw a bucket or a simple box. We now want to fill your jar with blobs that represent how you spend your time. There are two blob variables.
Its size - the more time you spent on something, the bigger the blob should be.
Its color - activities that make you feel good should be in green; things that drain you mentally and emotionally, or those that stress you out and make you anxious, should be red. You also have all the yellows and oranges in the middle for those things that don't move your wellbeing needle in a specific direction.
Start with the big blobs, and then work in the smaller ones in the spaces.
Step 3 - What's Missing?
Take a look at your time jar. Is there anything you know to have a positive impact on you, but you didn't do last week? Draw a blob for it outside of the jar.
Here are the ingredients for your mental health salad. Maybe next week we can try taking out some of the red ingredients and adding more green ones!
I had a pretty healthy salad kind of week. I spent a lot of time at work, so there are two blobs. Work can have any shade between bright green and dark red, but it's been really rewarding lately, so it got a green. I also had two great art sessions last week - drawing mandalas with the group at a local community center and the first session (finger painting) of the new Making Stress Less Art class. Much green, very yay! On the red side, there is still a lot of mindless scrolling - Facebook, YouTube, what have you.
I sometimes catch myself doing it without knowing how I got here or why I'm reading this crappy article on famous people with famous parents. I also know that doing this can ramp up my anxiety, so it's a really lousy way to spend my time.
The little green pebbles represent all the friends I got to see and spend time with; the little red ones are all the mindless pieces of candy and chocolate that I ate. Nothing against enjoying something sweet, but I know that quickly stuffing three chocolate cookies in my face between two meetings is not good.
So, hopefully, this coming week, I'll be able to add a bit more drawing and a bit less brainless scrolling.
Have a green week, my friends.
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