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Hyper Productivity

So I don’t think I’m manic right now, because I’m not experiencing racing thoughts nor am I not sleeping or having any other manic symptoms. But I am experiencing a period of increased productivity. I decided to collaborate with not one, not two, but ten different artists. All at the same time. So that’s happening. I put it out there on Instagram that I’d like to collaborate with a long list of artists thinking that maybe two or three would respond. I got so many responses that I’m a little concerned that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. We’ll see what happens, and I plan to post the results of some of my collaborations here.

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When the Music Hits

I’ve been thinking more about music and mental health lately since the next issue of This Zine is going to be a music-themed issue. I’ve got an interview lined up with UK ska/punk band Call Me Malcolm, and I have one other singer/songwriter I’m planning to ask to be in the issue, Amy Gerhartz. I’ve been looking up quotes about music and mental health and have found some good ones so far. I’d heard this one before but love it… “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley. Another good one I found is… “I think any time I’ve ever got down or ever felt low the one thing that picks me up from that is writing a song about it. At least you’ve got a positive experience out of a bad experience.” – Singer Ed Sheeran. And there are so many more.

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A Day Off

Yesterday was a day off from blogging, walking, working, nooming, parenting, and pretty much all the other “ings”. The day was dreary and just kind of blah with overcast, rainy weather off and on all day. Today I’ll get back to doing all the “ings” and reflect here on taking the day off yesterday. This morning, my inner critic told me that yesterday was a waste, but the one thing I did do was rest. And resting is a form of self-care and self-care is never a waste. I’m realizing that more and more. Why is it that when we care for ourselves we think we’re being selfish or lazy or whatever other negative thing our inner critic tells us we are doing wrong? I know that making self-care a priority is important not just for my own mental and physical health, but it helps me be the best me I can be for myself, and for those around me. And that’s always worth doing. It’s just that darn inner critic that says if I’m not busy accomplishing something then I’m wasting valuable time. I think the inner critic never stops talking, but I’m going to do my best to listen less. And if you’re struggling with self-care, then I’m giving you (and myself) permission to make it a priority. Not just for ourselves, but in order to be the best version of ourselves we can be for those we love and care about.

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A Sneak Peek

Here’s a sneak peek at two of the beautifully illustrated stickers coming soon to the next mental health stickersheet by artist and mental health advocate Jen Aboki. Stickersheets will be available here soon with proceeds from sales going to the mental health charity of the artist’s choice. If you’re an artist interested in contributing your artwork to this project you can read more info here.

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Mental Health Tattoos

I’m working on a new project with our friends at StickerYou to produce temporary tattoo sheets of the mental health sticker designs I’ve recently created. I’m excited to see them as temporary tattoos and will post them here once they are produced. If you’re so inclined you can make your own custom temporary tattoos from StickerYou.com.

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Pokémon Therapy

Is Pokémon therapy a thing? Because if it isn’t it should be. There’s something very relaxing (at least for me, anyway) about “catching ’em all”. My son made a GameBoy Micro for me. It’s a custom-made console that is built out of half a Nintendo DS (which has a beautiful backlit screen) and it plays GameBoy Advance and GameBoy Color games. He removed the top screen, soldered a tiny capacitor (this thing is SO small) to the circuit board and resoldered a speaker, removed the extra two buttons, and built up the body of the DS with epoxy sculpt, sanded it down smooth, and painted it matte black. My son is only 14 and has already far surpassed my electronic and modding skills. If you can’t tell, I’m one proud dad. Anyway, back to Pokémon. I’d seriously, not kidding like to do an experiment to check my blood pressure and pulse after a stressful day and then compare it to a reading taken after say a half-hour of playing the game. I wonder if it’s been done? About to Google it now. I’ll post my findings here later.

Well, that was easy. Pokémon X (and I’m assuming Y) is specifically mentioned as a stress-relieving game in this article. My “resurch” is complete. Pokémon playing is good for mental health!

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Call Me Malcolm

I’ve been listening to a UK Punk/Ska band suggested by a friend called Call Me Malcolm. Many of their lyrics are about mental health. Here are the lyrics from Inside Out, a track from their album I Was Broken When You Got Here. And here’s a recent video from the song What You Burn.

I’m loving this band so far and plan to feature them in some way in a music issue of TZHI (more on that later). Their lyrics and music are an audio version of what TZHI is all about, normalizing the mental health conversation and helping others know they are not alone. I’m stoked!

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Mental Health Stickersheets

I’ve created some sticker designs for mental health awareness, see the image below. Thanks to @jenboki and @thepowerbirdherd for the suggestions!

The above stickersheets are currently being printed by our friends at StickerYou. I am inviting any and all artists to submit their own mental health sticker designs to be printed on stickersheets and sold with a portion of the proceeds going to a mental health charity yet to be determined (mental health charity suggestions welcome). Any artwork should be submitted in hi-res (300ppi) and RGB .jpg format between 2.5″ x 2.5″ and 4″ x 4″. Please submit between 8 and 12 designs maximum. You don’t need to include a cut path, as StickerYou’s stickersheet layout interface will automatically create them. You may include your Instagram handle or URL (small) somewhere on the designs. Please email your designs to: thiszinehasissues@gmail.com. Please also include a short artist bio and if you like, share something about your connection to and/or reason for supporting good mental health practices. If you need some inspiration for good things to put on your sticker designs (feel free to use any of the above ideas) see below:

  • I did some art
  • I had a bath
  • I had a good laugh
  • I did yoga
  • I took a walk
  • I exercised
  • I went to therapy
  • I ate healthy food
  • I meditated
  • I practiced mindfulness
  • I took a deep breath
  • I did a craft
  • I was kind to myself
  • I wrote in my journal
  • I am enough
  • I played some music
  • I wrote poetry
  • I watched a good movie
  • I put my phone away
  • or whatever else your creative mind can think of to benefit mental health

 

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The Necessity of Art

I’ve been thinking a lot about art and creativity lately and how much these things affect my mental health. I used to say I enjoy art and being creative which is true, but looking back I realize that it’s not just something I enjoy but something I need to do. When I think about my most depressed times, those are the same times I was working a job I didn’t enjoy, which took so much out of me that I didn’t feel like making art or being creative much or at all. I’m sure there’s a connection there. When I’m making art or being creative, I’m happier and when I’m not doing those things, I’m often depressed. The other day I asked @psych.questions, “What does creating art do for the psyche?”. Their response is below…
I’ve always had trouble with my thinking that making art is selfish of me and a waste of time if it’s not either making any money or making any kind of impact on the world. My intuitive side knows that’s not true, but the logical, rational side of me perpetuates the lie. In order to appeal to my rational side, I’m working on reminding myself that I do need to make art in order to be the best version of myself I can be for myself, for my family, for my friends, and for the world. Today, I commit to myself to make some art, and even if there’s no polished “finished product” to show for it, I’m just going to enjoy the process of creating. I was thinking about all of this on my morning walk today. It’s my me-time that I can think and breathe and get ready for the day. Now, off to make some art!

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