Content/Trigger warning: Mentions of depression and death

I'm not the type of person to say "This is the greatest thing I've ever made!!!" about my creations, but I do feel like this could be the most important blog post I've written for an important reason: We take ourselves for granted. Things haven't been easy for me lately without a concise schedule and the loss of a beloved pet, and knowing that I could've done something differently to prevent most of this from happening hurts. However, we can't predict everything that happens later on our lives.

We often resort to negative behaviors that we don't notice when something difficult happens in life that's a huge change. Whether it be consuming too much social media, avoiding people at all costs, refusing to do basic hygiene, or sleeping too little/much and other things can be detrimental to your well-being. It'll prevent you from doing the things that you love and only incorporate the idea to make bad decisions, which affects everyone around you. It took me just yesterday to realize the small changes I could do that'll give me the motivation to get up and be productive, but more importantly, a happier individual. Here's a list of things I've been doing that tremendously helped and didn't realize were healthy options:

1. Mindless doodling

As an artist, I obtain many ideas for drawings. But, it gets overwhelming when I'm working on a full illustration and I get bored because my brain accumilates ideas for doodles that are never meant to be fully polished. And to top that all off, I constantly switch between sketchbooks and Procreate files for these things since I can't make up my mind. This is why I've been unable to do a sketchbook tour: My books have been worked on throughout my whole art journey and never were finished. Then came the ideology that "If I make something shitty in a nicer book/beautiful in a messy book, it's worthless". When I was in high school, I used a black Artist's Loft glue-bound sketchbook for everything. From art class homework, poorly scrawled redraws of images I liked, and my edgelord hyperfixations at the time, it was my go to. Someday I'l show it (heavily censored due to things a 15-year-old shouldn't have been exposed to) along with the newer doodles I sometimes still add to it, but for a long time, the urge to create with little care for perfection's been absent. I bought more and more sketchbooks to try out different papers and sizes, and now I have at least 20 unfinished books with art ranging from 2014-present day.

This whole ramble means something important: Ever since I decided to take art "more seriously" so i could potentially have a career in it, my creativity's been more limited than you'd think. So, I picked up one of my unfinished sketchbooks that was meant for plenty of imperfections and drew in it once again. The idea of this was inspired by a TikTok I saw in which someone vented all of their thoughts in a sketchbook with nothing but a blue ballpoint pen (Will update this statement if I can find the original video/creator!). My method was to use a single red pen for as much I could fit in there until the ink ran out in time to use a different color. This is a spread that was left behind in 2021 and was recently revived with Hetalia and Jerma985 brainrot:

The most noticable thing here (besides the cringe humor) is how messy it is. Using a non-erasable drawing utensil forces me to embrace the fact that it doesn't need to look nice, and I can still get my ideas out without needing to show everyone. It's also helpful for if I want to draw something stupid and I'm not entirely sure how it'll roughly look, but do have the intention of making something cleaner in the end. Reverting to something I used to do in the past that wasn't harmful is therapeutic, and it's a good excuse to draw as a warm up. This book is basically a visual diary and the likelihood of me showing anything else is slim. Even so, there are times where there are things I need to address to myself privately that can't be described with pictures.

2. Ranting in a diary

Obviously since this one is much more personal, I'm not going to show any real examples, but I will describe my process. I'm on and off about how often I do this, but I have a dedicated pink bullet journal for writing down my thoughts that day. A quick format that I'll do is start off with the date, write about my problems like I'm talking to the book as a person, and occasionally throw in a doodle related to the context of the situation. The best way to describe it is like a page of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but more verbose and vulgar.

I believe that anyone can benefit from this even without the doodling aspect just simpily because it's a form of communication. Not everyone has access to a therapist, but most people can at least find a way to write on paper or type on a device. Keeping these privately written texts can show your progress as a person and how much you've changed, which could work as a motivator to keep going forward.

3. Get just the right amount of sleep

I've been hearing the statement of "Stay away from bluelight screens an hour before bed" constantly my whole life from different sources, but I didn't think it applied to me. My assumption was that it'll prevent you from falling asleep, which wasn't a concern since I could force myself to stop using my computer by taking a Melatonin gummy and hopping in bed. However, that's not what everyone meant. I've had this problem my whole life where I would wake up in the middle of the night and be unable to fall back asleep. I brushed it off as Insomnia, which commonly happens to Autistic people of all ages and I thought it wasn't that big of a deal for me. Recently, it's been happening almost every night. It used to be a once-every-other-week occurence, and I was actually concerned for once.

Last Wednesday, I saw my therapist and told her about my sleeping problems. After asking me shortly afterwards if I used my phone or electronics before bed, I told her "Yes, and I make sure to take a sleep aid afterwards, but it's not keeping me asleep". That day, I learned that my routine of using my computer before bed was unfortunately responsible for the issue. Even if I fell asleep normally after using those type of devices, my hormones weren't properly working to keep me tired through the night due to the bluelight. The reason why I usually did use the computer at night is because I can actually use my Bluetooth earbuds without anyone yelling at me to do something for them. Instead, I forced myself to drop everything I was doing around 9:00PM, and I turned off the lights with only a book light in my lap so I could finally read the second volume of Chainsaw Man.

What I immediately noticed was that when I had finished reading, I wanted to sleep even though I didn't take my usual Melatonin. That night, I actually got the best sleep in a while without wanting to get up too early. Since I have a lot of books on my shelf that haven't been read, finished, or continued through the rest of its series, that's finally how I can read them without "wasting my free time" that could be spent on creativity.

4. Stay away from constant negativity

An obvious fact, but I've been in denial about Twitter/X being the main source of venom I've seen from people I don't care about. No matter how hard I've tried to put certain keywords and hashtags in my Muted Words settings, I would still see crap with the words intact without a warning filter. Despite me knowing how bad things have gotten there, I was too stubborn to delete my account or abandon the platform since some of the artists I followed were more active there. The problem with that is if I tried to look at their pages without an account, I would be forced to login or make one to see everything. Nitter was the only way to bypass this, but it's been deactivated... Everything else that claims to be an "Account-free Twitter Viewer" is extremely likely to be infected with viruses, but there might be something good enough if I ask on Reddit (I know this site is infamous, but I've found answers to oddly specific problems there).

But today, I've abandoned Twitter and will be deleting my account when I find that Holy Grail of a Nitter alternative. Knowing that I'm no longer bound by the chains of "The Hell of Social Media" gives me a lesser chance of being upset by a stranger's shitty take on a real world problem that shouldn't have been mentioned in the first place. All of the other platforms I'm on have a filtering system based off of what terms I add to not show me works 10,000.00% better, so I don't need to worry much there.

There are other sources of negativity such as the news, certain relatives, and witnessing something in public, but I felt that those things were easier to avoid for me. It was worth mentioning regardless since we don't even realize it, especially if it's quite common in our surroundings.

Currently: Insert activities here!