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New year, Same You. Big F*cking Deal: Why Artists Shouldn't Let the New Year Affect their Mental Health

“Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.” - Oscar Wilde


A new year often comes with a lot of resolutions, beginnings, and excitement for upcoming opportunities. However, for most, the start of a new year can also bring added stress. As an artist, the pressure to constantly improve your craft, gain recognition, and meet deadlines can already feel overwhelming. After all, your craft is intimately tied to your identity. But a new year doesn't mean you need to change who you are, force yourself to achieve particular goals, or compare your progress to influencers who make their money showing off how amazing their lives (supposedly) are.


Ignore the noise, and realize that a new year is simply a change in the date and not a defining factor in your life. The idea of a new year bringing a clean slate is appealing, but you can create a change or new beginning anytime you damn well please. Giving yourself the flexibility to evolve and improve at your own pace can reduce stress and keep us from going mad by the constant crap life throws at us.


As an artist, the creative process is unpredictable, as inspiration comes and goes. Acknowledge that your work will have its ups and downs, and that it’s not only ok, but necessary – this is part and parcel of following your Muse. Forcing yourself to produce at a higher level than you're comfortable with or putting unrealistic deadlines on ourselves can ultimately lead to burnout.


But your value as an artist is not dependent on how much you create, produce, or achieve. Take breaks, practice self-care, and avoid exhaustion -- do whatever the hell you can to keep the distractions of the world from eating away at your attention and well-being. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your creative output.


And, as we all know, productivity dies without passion.


Social media can play a significant role in how we perceive ourselves and others. With the surge of new year's resolutions and "new year, new me" posts spreading around online like a wildfire, it's easy to get caught up in the idea that we need to change something about ourselves to keep up with these trends. But comparing ourselves to others is not healthy; everyone's journey is unique, which means ya gotta focus on our own growth and improvement.


Us creators should assess our goals regularly, regardless of whether it's the start of a new year, new month, new week, etc. Setting and achieving goals is crucial for growth and development. However, it's equally important to revise or alter goals if they are no longer serving their purpose or causing added stress. Goals should be a source of motivation and inspiration; when they become a weight on our imaginations, creating becomes less of a calling and more of a chore.


Real, lasting change takes time and perseverance. Pinning all your hopes on a single date is not the way to achieve your goals. Remember that progress is not always linear, and setbacks are often a natural part of the process. Take your time, celebrate small victories, and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned.


The start of a new year can be an exciting time, but realize that a change in the date shouldn't define your life or your progress as an artist. The creative process is erratic and fickle, and doesn’t respond well to the social dictates of the era. It's 2024 and you're the same you. Be who you want to be and f*ck the rest.


The Immersive Art Collective offers numerous programs and initiatives to help aspiring creatives of all ages and backgrounds reach their full potential. Click here to learn more about IAC can help you achieve your artistic goals.

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