The Best Coping Skill for Stressful Times

The best coping skill for dealing with stressful times

One of my favorite things to do is to learn new things.  I’d say it’s one of the things that is helping me most to get through the pandemic.  

Even outside of the pandemic, learning is something that helps me on the days when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  You know, those days where you’re in a funk and nothing seems interesting? I’m sure you’ve experienced them too.

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Distraction By Focusing Your Attention

Often if I just start doing something I begin to feel better, at least in that moment. 

When you distract your mind with something else, it’s hard to stay in the funk. You actually start to change your mood.  

For so many of us, the current times are filled with anxiety.  

Since I work for a large healthcare related agency, most of my days are spent on planning and administration of  mental health care during the pandemic.  

For my own mental health I’ve needed to find a way to distract my mind away from anything related to Covid during my off hours.    

It’s not always easy but I think learning new things is one of the best ways to help yourself stay sane during this time.  (Here are some other ideas).  To make this most effective, I recommend doing something that either:

  • Creates an emotion different than the one you are experiencing.
  • Occupies your mind to the extent that you aren’t thinking about whatever you’re worried about

For me, learning has the potential to create a combination of both of these.  Learning something new makes me feel good and can be fun. When learning something that is challenging, you have to really pay attention. 

It’s kind of like when solving a difficult puzzle.  You have to use your brain and focus on the puzzle instead of what’s going on in the world around you.  

One of my personal goals is to become more creative.  I decided this was a good place for me to focus my energy to distract myself from negative emotions.  

I enjoy making printables for my Etsy shop and creating graphics for my blog and for Pinterest.   I would like to improve in my ability to individualize my creations and to create more fun things for my shop.  

Because of that, I’ve decided to focus on learning about graphic design and general drawing.  I love using my iPad with Procreate so I thought that would be fun to do as well. Last night I watched a really great (short) course on creating a cute girl graphic by drawing on the iPad with Procreate and then transferring it to Adobe Illustrator.  I just completed the project and here is the awesome result.  

If you’d like to start creating digital art in Procreate, check out my recommendation for the best iPad to use with Procreate. 

Girl Drawing from Skillshare Class

Skillshare Courses

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I recently started using Skillshare.  You can try it out with a free trial. 

That’s where I found the course I mentioned above and I have several others that I’ve been working through.  Since starting to develop digital planners for my Etsy shop, I’ve become interested in how to develop my own seamless patterns.  

A seamless pattern is a pattern that you can grow exponentially and it doesn’t have seams.  It just flows together…like wallpaper or a pattern on a sheet. 

Usually this is done on a program like Illustrator, but I’m happy to say that over the past few days I’ve learned how to do this on my iPad!  Here are links to the two courses I used to learn this on Skillshare:

Create a Repeat Pattern on the iPad Using Only Procreate by Peggy Dean.  I have some of her books so I thought it was pretty cool to be able to learn from her.  I thought this course was easy to follow along with and I created my first seamless pattern design with it!  


The cool thing about it was that the drawing I made was nothing special, I was just throwing some blobs together to follow the course.  🙂 I think it still turned out kind of cool. During the course she taught how to see your design on things like pillows and dresses. That was inspiring.  

Here is the pattern I made while following this course: 

Seamless pattern made while taking course on skillshare

Create an Intricate Editable Pattern in Procreate by Di Ujdi.  The instructor did a nice job of teaching how to create textures in the artwork.  

Unfortunately, I did mine using line drawing so didn’t do the color parts. (I followed the how tos in this book for doing the line drawings).  I plan to rewatch the class and do a colorful design next.  Here is what I created with this course:

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Seamless Pattern 2

Some other courses on Skillshare that I’m excited to try:

How to Draw Wildflowers – Ink Floral Illustration 

Bounce Lettering – I think bounce lettering is so fun in a bullet journal.  

Create Macrame (I remember doing this in high school and I loved it!)

How To Design and Create a Digital Planner with Procreate (I’ve created mine using Keynote)

Let’s Color a Goblin  (I think this might be a fun way to learn how to color artistically).

I created my own Skillshare course on How to Make Digital Stickers in Procreate!

Creativelive Courses

My favorite online course platform is CreativeLive.  As mentioned in another post, Creativelive is my go to source for learning about business skills.  They also have a ton of trainings on photography and design.  

To distract myself with CreativeLive courses I’ve been working on learning how to create Surface Patterns.  The interesting thing about this is that the course on CreativeLive that I’m taking is to use Surface Patterns using Adobe Illustrator; however, I am actually trying to learn how to do so on Affinity Designer.  That makes it a little more challenging. (I might give in and purchase Adobe Illustrator).  

Because of this, I decided to take a course on Affinity Designer through Skillshare.  Hint: if you sign up for Skillshare through my link you get a free trial.  

The Creativelive deal is that you can get 57% off of the Creator Pass right now.  That gives you access to 1500+ courses.  Each one I’ve taken has been great so far.  I wrote more about this here.  

Creative Books

Since I’ve also pulled out some art books I’ve purchased previously, I thought I’d share some of those here as well.  

The Write Brain – I found this on my shelf untouched.  What a gem. It has 400 writing exercises that help you to just be creative.   Each page has a little writing activity you do that gets your brain focused on writing.  So far the exercises have been fun and have got me into the mood for writing. If you want to write more but get stuck with “I don’t know what to write,” try this book out.  

Botanical Line Drawing This is where I get my floral and plant drawings for the pattern I made.  The step by step drawing is pretty easy to follow and I was impressed with how my drawings turned out.  

How to Draw Cute Animals I originally purchased this to draw cute animals in my journal.  The drawings are easy to do and they really do turn out pretty cute.  

Cute Kawaii Doodles is one of my favorites.  It is a small book but has some pretty cute doodles in it.  I purchased this for my journal as well and have drawn some of the cute little animals from it into my journal. 

Here are some pictures of the drawings from Cute Kawaii Doodles that are from my journal:

Cute drawings form my journal

Other Ideas For Distraction

I’ve chosen to use art and graphic design as a way to distract myself from anxiety during this time.  

This is a little different than what I usually focus on learning. I decided to do that on purpose because I wanted to do something with my time that I’d really need to focus on.  

Other things that I think would work depending on what your interests are:

  • Playing video games
  • Learning a new craft
  • Doing a puzzle book
  • Learning photography
  • Learning skills to organize your home

You could focus on anything you want to.  It really depends on what your individual interests are!   

If you know of any other great ideas to distract your mind with learning, leave them in the comments.  I’m interested in what else is out there!

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