Discover more from Arts and Climate Change with Nicole Kelner
It's not always sunshine and solar panels ☀️
Mental health is like battery storage
I’m typing this in bed using 1.25 hands. I had wrist surgery today because I needed to get a small (benign) cyst removed. It’s all good now, I just have to wear this annoying wrap for the week. It’s not a cute thing to talk about so I don’t bring it up publicly but here we are.
I wanted to write about this today because I know social media is my “job” now and my life may appear mostly sunny. I want to assure you it’s not always sunshine and solar panels.
Mental health is like battery storage. We can have tons of power from solar panels on the sunniest day but we don’t have the technology to store that energy forever. We need to be mindful of not exerting ourselves too much.
Let’s bring this metaphor literally home. If you have a solar panel on your roof, it can make energy all day when the sun is shining. One way to help create balance in our homes is to add battery storage. They can store energy for later, balancing electricity generation and demand for electricity.
For our mental and physical health it's the same. We may have a huge win at work and feel like that energy can last forever. But realistically it won’t. However, we can charge up a few mental batteries that help keep us happy and motivated for when things get challenging again. Tip: this is a great time to write down a gratitude list of “wins” to look at when your energy is getting low.
What is solar power for you? For me, some things that power my life are art, exercise, spending quality time with friends, and meditation. These charge me up and keep me smiling.
But I can’t do these things all the time, things drain my battery too. For example, dealing with health insurance nonsense and apartment hunting are draining my emotional battery.
I’m always trying to find that sweet spot of doing activities that energize me and respecting the activities that demand my energy.
Building batteries themselves takes hard work as well. For me that looks like therapy, journaling, and reflecting with friends. Once these batteries are installed, we have a more connected and resilient community.
So cheers to developing longer term battery storage!
Ok this metaphor is coming from someone who was on heavy anesthesia under 10 hours ago so let’s see if it lands!
Love you my energy cuties 💖
This newsletter is made with lots of love and creativity. If you’d like to support more climate art, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber!
I wanted to share this piece I painted for Activate for their series on mental health. “There'll be times when you're feeling inspired, other times you're feeling overwhelmed, and other times you feel really frustrated...Building resilience is a central part of doing this work." Read more here.
I’m looking for folks to give feedback on my coloring book about climate change! Reply to this if you'd like to help edit/brainstorm. The focus is on electrification so bonus points if you have a background in that space.
You can also pre-order the book here.
I’m launching Creativity Circles for climate folks! If you are interested in those, fill out this form.
Ways to support me:
I’m open for contract work or commissions. I help climate organizations simplify their messaging into pretty art!
P.S. I wrote this yesterday and edited it today. I did not chaotically send this the same day as my surgery 😅