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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an artistic person. Even as a little girl, I was never as much in my element as I was with crayons in my hand, doodling fairies and flowers and princesses to my heart’s content. As I grew older, my subjects grew more diverse, but I’ve still been drawing and painting ever since. Creativity has always come naturally to me, and it’s always been a huge part of my life.

But for me, making art has always been about so much more than just painting pretty pictures. For many artists, it is an important form of release. When we’re drawing or painting or simply creating, we can channel our emotions in a healthy way. We can switch off the outside world for a few minutes (or even a few hours) and forget our troubles. It’s hard to stress about school or work when you’re trying to perfect your shading.

It is for this reason that I firmly believe that every single person should find a creative outlet. You might say “but I’m just not an artistic person!” or “but I can hardly draw a stick man!”, and that’s okay! You don’t need to be the next Da Vinci to benefit from creating. Even little scribbles and doodles in the margins of your notes or slap-dash splattering of paint onto paper are enough to activate the creative party of your brain and start to get some healthy release.

I think a big problem is that a lot of people are put off by things that they aren’t good at straight away. And I get that- I am notorious for dropping hobbies after a few weeks simply because I wasn’t good at it immediately. But the thing about creativity is that everyone can be good at it. Because art isn’t just painting and drawing. It’s sculpture and knitting and collage and writing. It can be decorating your room or playing an instrument or Spotify playlists or even Minecraft! Anything that engages your brain in a way that makes you think differently to how you normally do- that, to me, is art.

We’re all more stressed now than ever before. We may be isolated from family and loved ones, we may be worried about our futures and our careers. So now it is so crucial to tap into your creativity, for your own mental health. I believe that everyone, deep down, is a creative person. When we value our artistic side, that is when it begins to shine through.

– Aoife