"Survival Techniques" to creative anxiety

© "Survival Techniques is a legal street art project that aims to promote hope and optimism and bring a little light to people having a dark day."

I have met Naomi Edmondson at a Ladies Wine and Design event in London where she was presenting her work and talking about her creative process among other inspiring creative women. I really like her work and I also find myself making lists all the time (if you read this blog you'd already know that most of my articles are actual lists !) so why not making my own survival techniques list ?


As a creative / freelancer / millennial / entrepreneur / artist / human being, we all have our flow. Sometimes we get caught up in anxiety because we don't know how to deal with something we can't control. It can be hard to take a step back because while we are suffering from low self-esteem we also want to share our best Instagram story with the last GIF update that will highlight our profile.


I'm not going to write an article about how our perfectly connected generation is doomed cause that would be pointless and depressing. Instead I'll try to follow Naomi's path by writing my 10 favorite techniques to survive these darkest days when I can't really feel like spring anymore.


1. Going for a (mindful) walk

My friend Charlotte offered me this super empowering book called "Five-minute mindfulness walking" by Douglas Baker filled with easy to follow tips and beautiful illustrations. I was going to meditation classes before so I've been practicing on and off for couple years but this book was really refreshing because it reminded me that meditation can be done absolutely everywhere at anytime of the day. I just need to be present for a moment.


2. Listening to a (non-educational) podcast

Right now I'm really into "Histoires de Darons". It's a French podcast about dads. This sounds super corny said like this (and maybe it is) but it's also so refreshing to hear young men talking about being a dad. The host is very good at letting these guys being vulnerable. I actually never heard men talking so openly without the fear of being judged and far from every clichés we have about masculinity anywhere else in the media. It really makes me happy to listen to that.


3. Switching to airplane mode

When I'm anxious I'll start having obsessive behaviors like checking my phone every 2 seconds and scrolling endlessly through my Instagram feed thinking something will happen and I'd feel better. Usually I end up feeling even more guilty and anxious once I realise that I've spent an hour contemplating my friends' perfect online lives.


4. Cleaning (my head)

Ok I know I'm a neat freak. But sometimes making my place shine makes me feel good. It's like cleaning my own head by getting rid of trashy thoughts, pointless judgments and counter productive behaviors. Obviously it's not a reason to swipe it all under the bed.


5. Making a (minor) decision

Sometimes I get so caught up in thoughts like "I have to do this" "I have to be so productive and efficient" that I get paralyzed because I don't know how to start. Making the decision to go outside or to make a coffee is a way to end this never ending circle.



6. Feeling the love

It could be hugging a friend, my partner or a pet. It could be smiling to a stranger or calling my mum. Just being grateful for the love in my life and spreading it because feeling the love is feeling alive.


7. Giving no fuck

Sometimes you just need to let it go and accept that you can't control certain things. Life flows and the best thing you can do is to let if flow.


8. Bringing clarity

I have started to write a diary. I can see you laughing and thinking that I must be stuck in some kind of romantic stage in my life. Well, no. Writing is just another way to find out how my brain works. I truly believe that knowing who you are is the first thing you should work toward in your life. Otherwise it's like riding a Uber pool with strangers driven by a blind driver to an unknown destination. You'll never know the destination but it'd be less painful if you ride by your own terms instead of listening to your Uber's mainstream music all along the way.


9. Tea time

I guess now I understand why English people are so resilient. Drown your problems in the boiling water and smell the smoke.

India Mahdavi and David Shrigley at Sketch

India Mahdavi and David Shrigley at Sketch


10. Watching a video about the universe

Just remember our lives are shorter than a blink in the scale of the human history. Human history is a single heartbeat in the life of the Solar system. Our galaxy is a dot in the universe. The universe is infinite and our brain can't even understand it. (Ok but don't get anxious about it though!)


©Miranda July

©Miranda July


This post is not promotional.