A free and easy chat with Nia, an incredible artist, about the pressure to churn out content for Instagram, freelance vs employment and figuring out what to do with your life when you have anxiety.
Nia is a freelance illustrator based in the NYC/NJ area. She has a particular interest in storytelling and psychology and uses those interests in her work. Nia is most often found tucked in the corners of her room reading or watching YouTube videos.
Alexis' therapist who provided the coping strategies mentioned: https://www.drjules.com/
Dr Jules on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Dr-Jules/100054608102510/
I hang out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexisbushnell/
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialMediaForHumans
Join the club to learn more about ethical and effective social media marketing: https://socialmediaforhumans.club/
Voice over by Hawke Wood: https://www.spotlight.com/3490-9081-8844
[Hawke] Hello and welcome to Social Media for Humans, the podcast that empowers you to do social differently. Your host, Alexis Bushnell, and her guests discuss their experience of social media as business owners, users and, ultimately, humans, with insights and advice to help you find an effective and ethical strategy that works for you. Grab yourself a drink, and join the conversation [Alexis] Hello hello, I'm here with wonderful Nia, please introduce yourself, tell us who you are what you do [Nia] Hi, I'm Nia and I'm a freelance illustrator at the moment and I've taken your class, Instagram for Humans, and yeah I just, I've been doing Instagram - You have, you have really been doing Instagram, actually I have to say like when you first sort of found my stuff, and like you really went for it, you weren't people who because some people they do like the free challenge or they join the membership and whatever, and then they're like I'm gonna do a little bit at a time, and like that's great, that's fine, you can do that, but you were just like I am going to throw everything, I'm going to put the time in, I'm going to put the work in, I'm going to do it, so how did you first start Instagram let's start there - Okay well I actually created it like years ago, like maybe like five years ago, just because my co-workers told me to get on it, and I posted like two things and then I never touched it again but then during the pandemic I recently got on it again because I decided to try freelancing, I quit my my desk job and yeah, I just wanted to do freelance and I figured, you know, Instagram was kind of the most visual social thing social media thing I could think of so that's when I started that and then that's when I came across your stuff and I was like oh, I really want to know how to, like, really get my stuff out there so that's and you know I had all the time because I quit my job, so that's kind of why I was able to, like, throw everything at it so - Yeah yeah, so how did you find it, did you find it really sort of natural and intuitive when you first started, or has it been a steep learning curve? it was kind of easy because the, you know, the stuff to set up like, you know, you're like bio okay, cool like you know, posting kind of on a regular schedule, all right it was a little hard to, like, create art that frequently, like I'm on a break right now because I just didn't know how to keep that up, but yeah I think it was more the reaching out to people, that was hardest, the social aspect of it like the kind of visual part of it was fine, or like presenting to people was fine but then the actual social aspect was kind of the hardest for me I think - I think a lot of people find that actually as well, certainly a lot of the people that I work with tend to find that, and I do wonder how much of it is because a lot of the sort of talk around social media is about what you should be posting, and how your bio needs to look, and which hashtags you need to use, and there's nobody who's sort of being like, you might want to actually go and talk to people it does seem to be a common problem, people are just like I have no idea where to start - Yeah that definitely was - You said that you were on a to sort of keep up creating art on a regular basis to share, well how often were you posting? - I was posting like three times a week when I was in the full swing of it and I had done that for like a couple months, and then it I fell off it, and then like a whole bunch of stuff because, like, the whole freelance thing, I think I found out that it wasn't kind of my thing to do full time because it was so many things at the same time, like you know you have to be your own agent, you have to be your own like financial person, you have to reach out to people, you have to do your own work and like creative direction, and then like the actual drawing part, so it was a lot and even though I had all this free time during the pandemic, I kind of got like a little creatively burnt out just because it was so much to do at the same time, and I was like overwhelmed and like you said, like in the beginning I was like the person who was like oh shit, I don't know, like what to do, where to start what to do like, what the next step is and all that stuff, so it was very confusing, very overwhelming at first - Do you feel there is like a pressure then, to only post your artwork like as opposed to selfies or if you've, gone out and about photos of that or just anything that isn't something you've created - Yeah I think so, especially for like an artist like, you kind of want to post things that you create and unless you're like, fully like famous already, then you could post, you know like promotions and stuff like that, but I feel like I wasn't at that point yet, so yeah I don't know, I was never really a big selfie person to begin with so it wasn't like a natural thing for me to do, I don't even have like my personal Instagram to post just personal stuff, so it's literally just my art Instagram so I would feel kind of weird just seeing like non-creative stuff it's just because it definitely depends on like your personality and also what people have come to expect from your account, I think if you, especially if you start off only posting your art I think it can be difficult to then shift to posting other stuff because there is that expectation from your audience, but I do know that there are some some not quote famous people who do find it really helpful to post other stuff, because it allows them to be present even when they're not being creative, and I think it also gives people that connection to the artist, which again it depends on your audience but that can be really helpful because you can then start to build a following of people who are not just invested in your specific art style, but in just you generally, and they they sort of connect with you as a person which then sort of leads into the more natural social connections from that, - Yeah and thinking oh my god, I have an art account, help why, oh I'm gonna burn out, try posting other stuff it's fine, okay, breathe - I think I saved a kind of be like oh, here's a little peek of me, and then it'll be away, I was like you know don't look at me too much, but yeah I saved it for the stories, but I think posting that kind of stuff would probably help a lot, because it's not as time intensive and stuff, you know - Yeah what was I gonna say, oh yeah, Noleen who I had on the podcast talking about self-care actually, she barely posts on her Instagram feed at all, she basically I think for an entire year she only posted to stories, because I went to look, I went to look at, I had I did speak to her about it, but I went to look at her profile because I wanted to share a post to be like she's gonna be on the podcast, and the last post was from like last year wow wow, you are managing to sustain an Instagram presence purely with stories, that is impressive - Yeah - So it is it is absolutely doable if you want to keep the feed as just a portfolio typething - Right okay yeah that makes sense, does she like play around with her highlights then, or does it just like, is it just kind of just stories? - I think she just does stories I think, that's how they connect with her that's where you know they see her stuff which is really interesting - Yeah but it's doable but coming back then to the sort of social side of it - Right - What was it specifically - I guess when people say like, to engage with like your followers and your commenters, I didn't know what to say aside from like thank you because like you know it's since it's post and posting art they're like oh I like this I like that and then so i'll just like oh thank you, and then like not know where to go from there I guess, and then, yeah, I guess I would comment on other people's stuff but I wouldn't get a lot of like back and forth all the time and I guess it's just kind of the like rapport that I had trouble with, you know - Yeah yeah I think you know I think commenting on your own stuff, replying to that can be difficult because sometimes there is nothing you can say, apart from... but I think sometimes when it comes to what, depending on what the comment is, you can maybe ask what specifically they liked about it, or did you see this other piece that I did, did you you know, did you also like that because it's a similar style, and that kind of thing but yeah I think when you're talking about like outreach engagement I find it really telling about the comment because where you leave comments and then who actually replies to them, for me that tells me a lot about the account because for me community and building those social interactions is so important, like that is a core part of Instagram, and so I find it really interesting that some people just do not respond to comments at all, and it's actually why I tend to find on much bigger accounts it happens a lot, and some of it is just that there are so many comments they can't get to them all but it is why I also tend to suggest that people comment reply to comments on other people's posts, so if you find an account that is relevant to you and your audience that is not replying to their comments, go and reply to their comments, go and do it for them and you know, you can discover people that way and then they can discover you and be like well, this is a sociable, awesome person go for them so yeah, I think that's a way to do it, so if you, if you can remember sort of well, I commented on this this post and they haven't replied, it is worth I think hopping back and being like do they ever reply, do I maybe want to reply to some of their other comments and start building connections that way - That's agood point I think that kind of also like leans into like how I am in real life too, because I like don't like to bother people, I'm like oh am I bothering them by talking to them, or like oh am I gonna like step on their toes by like inserting myself in there, and like I was never like one to kind of go out there and like really meet people and like talk to everybody, so yeah I guess that's just kind of how I am naturally, but you know like you said the social part of social media is super important, so like I feel like even though you want to like, what's it called, like show your personality and like, you know, be authentic, you want to do some kind of little changes here and there to actually get the full benefit of it - Yeah I think it's all the way, so I like I find it helpful to essentially set a time that I'm going to be social during this period of time, and then outside of that I can be an anti-social person, and that's fine because I do think it can be, it can be easy to sort of fall into I'm trying to be social on social media, and I know this is important so I am just going to push myself to engage all the time, and then that is another thing that can burn you out, especially if you're an introvert, you're pushing yourself all the time and like you don't need to, like you can be social on social media and only be there for you know between x time and x time per day or, you know, every other day or however you want to do it, I think you need to honor like what your own natural tendency is, but yeah you do kind of have to, especially earlier on, you have to be the outreach engagement is what makes the difference because you, nobody's gonna really find you if you are not actively like hey, I'm here, you need to come and look at my stuff because it's cool I don't recommend you leave those comments - On other people's posts just like I'm awesome - Yeah please don't, please don't do that but yeah, you need to be sort of out there and it is it can be difficult, because it is like networking, it is basically networking, and networking is one of those words that kind of strikes terror into people, including myself, but it's finding a way to sort of do it that actually works for you and that you can maintain without, you know, burning yourself out and feeling exhausted all the time like oh my god, do I have to speak to somebody else - Yeah I guess that's what I'm trying to do right now is like find that balance, and also like I I think I work better with like a structure, so I've been like applying to like nine to five jobs and stuff like that, but I still want to do like freelance on the side, just maybe not like full time and at like full blast, like I was doing it before, but yeah I will get into the socials eventually again because I've been taking a very long break from Instagram but just to, you know, get my bearings straight, get the mental health in order and all that stuff and yeah it's just like I guess everybody's coming out of the pandemic now, so we're slowly getting back to like normal so to say, and I'm just trying to figure out what that normal is gonna look like for me and my business and all that stuff, and yeah I just I also need insurance because you know it's well I'm in America so you know - Oh yes, the land you cannot afford to be ill - Yeah yeah, no, I think structure is really helpful and you can have it with social media, and this is another thing that like, if you do set sort of specific times that you're going to be available, or you want to post x times a week, or to create your own schedule and hold yourself accountable to that rather than to whichever expert is telling you that you need to be doing this, that, and the other, seven days a week or whatever, that can help to actually just set your own schedule and be like right, this is what I'm gonna do, that's it, that's all I have to do, I'm gonna do these hours, this is what I'm actually gonna achieve, and the other thing I think is like not setting, because I know some people set targets when they're doing engagement and it does work for some people, that's fine, but setting targets of like how many comments to leave and like, that's great, I can understand that that works for some people, but also if you then find that you've spent half an hour trying to find somewhere to leave an appropriate comment that's possibly not the best use of your time - Right yourself a time limit rather than a sort of must-hit x amount of comments right, to say like I'm going to spend 20 minutes, or 10 minutes, or whatever and do it that way so that you aren't spending just endless time, and I also think it helps to stop the sort of I'm just gonna scroll and scroll and scroll because if you're just like oh, I've gotta do x amount of comments, there's nothing stopping that scroll, whereas if you're like in 15 minutes I need to be doing something else you're like oh god, all right, gotta find the content, find the content leave your comments, yeah - That's true - You're looking for a full-time job now to do sort of three months on the side - How do you, because I assume you're gonna then sort of get back into social media, and trying to do the freelancing at the same time, how do you envision your sort of time there, because I'm gonna be honest, right, for me the idea of having, like, a full-time job and a sort of freelance gig that like, no, so I am fascinated - Well what I find is that like, if I'm just doing things for myself, I'm like terrible at time management and like during the pandemic everything was my time, so I would just like do kind of what I wanted and was like really bad at doing things that I needed to do, as opposed to like things that I wanted to do, so I think when there's something like I have to do, like a job then it kind of forces me to time manage and like put things into certain areas, and like do things in certain time limits and stuff like that, so that's how I figure it's gonna go, as long as I don't get a job that you know fully burns me out like I did last time and you know, that it's a little hard, but you know I'm gonna try it, but yeah I think if you find a good place with a good work environment that really cares about their employees, then they'll you know, make sure that you're happy enough that you don't leave work just wanting to pass out on the couch or something like that so, and then you know there's always the weekends and stuff like that, so I'm hoping that having the structure will get me into like more of a rhythm again because I haven't also been drawing as much as I want to, even though I haven't been on socials, like I haven't really been spending that time doing like everything productive so I think I'm just trying to like, force myself into doing productive things and getting into the swing of things again - Yeah yeah yeah I do think like people's brains definitely work differently, and like mine, my brain is definitely very much like I need to be in control of everything, that includes my entire schedule, how everything gets done, but yeah I think it's good that you sort of recognize that in yourself and you're like I need, if I want to be able to do the sort of fun freelance stuff I need the structure of a quote proper job so that I can then use my free time to actually do that stuff that I really enjoy - Yeah, I mean I figure my freelance wasn't going so quickly anyways that I needed like so much time to do it, and if it does pick up then maybe I'll just try to do like less hours at the real job so to say - Yeah but I'm not sure how long it'll take to get there because yeah, I mean it's just it's hard for a lot of people to gain traction and it's just like you gotta hit that one thing that blows you up right, that's how I hear it goes for a lot of people like they do one thing and they're like oh, that worked, or like they'll find their audience in like some really niche spot and then that's how they kind of like get the ball rolling and stuff like that - Yeah yeah yeah, yeah it is, I do say like social media is a slow burn, it is very very rare, especially now that you are just gonna wake up one day and you'll be like oh my god, something blew up and and now I'm in favor, you know, maybe back in the day when Instagram first started yeah, maybe now not so much, but I mean like I kind of think that's a good thing obviously, if you're trying to get a business off the ground it can be more difficult, but if you're, especially for creators, I think, it is much better because the emotional and sort of psychological toll of suddenly being famous, and having the entire world sort of look at you and that, well there is nothing that can prepare you for that anyway, but I think at least if it builds gradually you start to get a flavor of like, what's gonna happen, and have things you can put in place and that kind of thing to maybe limit the distress shall we say, but yeah I mean it is difficult now to sort of really take off, but I do think that if you choose a niche, and I know a lot of people are not a big fan of niching down, but it doesn't have to be an obvious niche, like it doesn't have to be something about your own business or what you do, it can be like that you are an artist who also is into, why am I gonna say Pokemon, I don't know I'm gonna say Pokemon - I mean there's a whole resurgence of the Pokemon card craze so maybe that's it - But like if that's something that you're passionate about you can like get involved in the Pokemon community on social media, why why did I pick Pokemon but you can get involved in that community on social media and then that can blow up your art stuff or your creative stuff, because you're connecting with people who are again, if they're more invested in you as a person, it's not just about your art it's not just your art that you're sort of selling to them in that way, they've got to know you, and now they want to support you, and so even if they're not specifically interested in it they are going to tell other people about you because they like you as a person right, so it doesn't have to be like if you're niching down, it really doesn't have to be like well, I do this specific kind of art,, or I offer this specific type of service, it can be I really like Pokemon, apparently so yeah I do think niching down can be really really helpful, and I've noticed, especially in the sort of sustainable and ethical business areas, that the businesses who have started essentially niching down into ethical sustainable business areas have seen massive growth because the community rallies behind them, and that's like it it really is a case of like find your people which is obviously easier said than done because you've got to figure out who your people are first, and not everybody knows but it is definitely tthe way to do it I think and and I think the other thing is people have this vision of like who their people are, and they're not on x platform, whichever platform they're on and I'm like wow, yes they are, yes, but I'm sorry I'm here to tell you yes, they are, you might not have seen them yet, but yes they are, there is like a whole world of people on these different platforms, it's you've just got to find them and sometimes it is a case of just like oh, I found this one hashtag and then suddenly you're like this is where they are, - From the little pocket that they're in - Yeah yeah, it's like it's incredible to me because it's so varied, and it really is like whole worlds within worlds and it always makes me laugh, because if I'm watching news or something, and they're talking about you know x famous social media star or youtuber or whatever, and I'm like I have no idea who you are - I'm just not in those communities so they're not famous to me, and then it happens in reverse because I'm like oh my god, I'm so excited that this person tweeted me or something and my best friends are like I don't know who that is, I'm like I've got x thousand followers and they're like yeah, no I don't, I'm sorry - Yeah I have a friend who's really into like the handwriting planner community stuff, and like I was, like really big planner people there are, that do a lot of stuff, and sell a lot of things, and like she was specifically really into washi tape for a while, and she was like so excited that this one like washI tape maker followed her, and like none of our other friends knew who she was, but like my friend was so excited, she was like this goddess has descended upon me and graced me with her presence - Yeah - I don't know who that is but we're happy for you - Yeah, the planner and journaling community on, especially on Instagram is just huge, genuinely enormous, yeah yeah, it really is and it does prove the point like, just because you don't see that stuff doesn't mean it's not there, - Yeah for sure, I think one of the things I've been doing with like my social media break is like a little bit of soul searching, not just my social media like identity, but like since I'm looking for a full-time job I wasn't really sure if I wanted to do something that's like fully artistic and creative because then I might be like artistically burnt out to do freelance on the side, so I was thinking like what other things do I like, and what other things can I do, and that's kind of been something hard that I've been going through, like a quarter life crisis, trying to figure out, and like I like these things, and I can do these things, but I'm mostly doing like you know I went to school for art, I've been like pursuing art, and like that's kind of like my, not my thing but like the thing I've been going for, but now I have to try a different thing and like it's just it's a weird thing to try to switch like career paths or like just different like I guess uh I don't know what to call it like, different lanes, i'll just go with that - Yeah yeah haven't really led anywhere just yet, I just I'm like I like I love animals, I think one of the reasons I thought the marketing stuff was interesting was because I really liked psychology, I took like a lot of psychology classes in college, they were really fun, I just always found them interesting you know obviously I like the art stuff and then, but the thing is like I'm thinking like I don't really have a lot of experience with animals because my mom growing up hated animals, I just really liked them but like could never have a dog or a cat, so we got like tiny things like fish, and like hamsters, but you know and in psychology I did take some classes, but it's not like I'm qualified to do anything with it, you know, so I'm like what do I do with this, and that's just what I've been trying to figure out - Yeah yeah no, I think it is helpful and I have to say I had what I call, I wouldn't call it a quarter life crisis, if I did have a what am I gonna do with my life moment, and I went through, like I was like do I want to be a tarot reader, do I want to be a dog groomer, that was on my list, no it was like various different things, and and then I was just like well I'm good at social media, i'll just do that for a bit and see what happens, and here we are - Is that really how you started out - Reallythat is genuinely how I started - Yeah you could just like throw throw a dart a dart board of ideas and we'll give that a go - Yeah this thing that we're like I'm like if I choose something I have to like really focus on it and really go for it, I don't really think of like just casually trying things even though it's like you know, it's not like a bad thing to do because you're just trying things out to see what's you, but like I have this like weird thing in my brain where I'm like you either go for it or you don't, and like yeah I guess it's just something I'm working on but speaking of niches and stuff you reminded me that one of the things I really like is comics, and there was this like whole there's this app called webtoons where you could read like creator comment, the web comic creator stuff and one place I found a lot of other people to talk to was the Lore Olympus fandom and yeah, so I posted like a fan art of the main characters, and then a lot of people commented and I got like I think the most engagement on that one post than I did like on anything else, and so you know, I made more Lore Olympus stuff and I made some like Lore Olympus friends and, like you know started talking to them about like, you know the story and stuff like that, and that's like one way I really found like, a little community also, but at around the time where I started posting like, maybe my third Lore Olympus fan art I think, the Instagram thingy had changed and so it wasn't being seen as much and I wasn't really finding these people as much as I was before, so it was a little hard after that and I wasn't sure like where to go with that, like should I find another niche, or is it going to be hard to like find them now that the whole algorithm has changed, or is it going to be like are they hiding somewhere - I mean the recent, for listeners it's the 24th of June, yes we're recording this, but the algorithm at the minute seems to be, like hashtag wise you will really only see results from hashtags if you're like actively engaging on those hashtags, so you, if you're using hashtags you also need to be scrolling those hashtags, and engaging them yourself, that seems to be at the moment, who knows how long for, but that at the moment seems to be the solutio,n which I do like as an idea, I wish that they had announced it, instead of me having to run tests and be like this one is that, what is it here, we are I like it as an idea because I do think it it pushes people to actually engage and not just create more of their own stuff, to actually go and talk to other people - That's true - But yeah it would have been, it we are prioritizing engagement, you may want to do some outreach engagement, that might be something you want to move to the top of your list, you know like it would be it would be nice to have a little a little heads up so that a lot of creators didn't just suddenly go nobody likes my stuff anymore, where did everybody go? just a suggestion, Instagram gods but yeah you make a good point about sort of niching down, because fandoms are a really great way, if you are into something and there is like a fandom behind it, go and get involved with that, you know and do it on your business work account it's like it's fine your work account does not have to be prim and proper and, you know rooted and what have you, you can talk about your weird fandom stuff, I actually posted a post about, I watched the queen's gambit, oh that was a mistake yeah well I'm just like, I am deep in the chess community now, so I've got posts going up that are like here's how social media is like chess, who knew, but it is so really it doesn't matter what you're, what you enjoy, what you're sort of involved in like you can make it a part of your branding if you like, you know it doesn't have to be super relevant to what you do you know, you can bring bring other facets of yourself in as well - Right, I never really thought about that it's just kind of it lends itself to the art stuff, so like you draw things that you like, that are already visual things, or like already kind of set things and so I never really thought about like bringing the other things into it like I wouldn't really be sure how to like incorporate like psychology into my work other than the marketing part, which is kind of invisible in a way or like yeah I guess I'm just trying, I'm like thinking in my head now, like how would I incorporate that like, or how would I like do all these other things and you're just hearing my brain fry because I'm not coming up with anything on the spot - That's okay, okay, I wonder if, I mean it depends, if you do want to go down the sort of the creative route, but you could do some kind of creative work that is sort of turning psychological concepts or tips, ideas that kind of thing into artwork that expresses it effectively, because I do think that can be really really difficult sort of, because a lot of the sort of therapists, psychologists that are on social media like, they need the visual something to get across what they're trying to say, and I think a lot of social media starts to strip away the nuance right, and it is really difficult to get across the whole important concept so that, there you go, maybe that's a job, I don't know what job that would be, psychological artist just create the job title for yourself but yeah and I do think it, and going back to what you were saying as well before about like, having to, feeling like you've got to make a firm decision, like if I make this decision that's it, that's what I'm gonna do for the rest of my life, like that is a terrifying decision to make and it's relevant with social media as well, because like, if you create some content for social media and it's trash, and it doesn't do well, it's fine, you know, like so don't use it again, so do something else, it's okay and I do think the same is true for jobs, and work, and stuff, and obviously some people spend a lot more time training to find out they hate a job than others but I do think there needs to be more sort of flexibility in just work generally, and like who knows what they want to do, you know major, like one of my friends in high school she knew that she wanted to do like financial stuff, why, even in high school, and she just, and I was like I have no idea and I was still like I was 25 going I have no idea what I want to so I do think it should be like hashtag normalize trying jobs on but yeah, like the pressure as well, I think the pressure of saying like this has to be perfect, I have to make the absolute right decision and just make it even more difficult to make the right, quote, decision - Yeah, for sure, I think it's like partially like a societal thing like, you know people like you hear all these things about like, oh they became a billionaire at like 26 or like they found that viral, excuse me, viral at like 15 and like now they have like a million dollars and all that stuff, but another thing that like comes into play for me personally is I have anxiety, and like psychologically diagnosed generalized anxiety, and something I heard is that like we tend to think in black and white a little more, and even though I know like intellectually like, you know it's not so bad to take some risks and like you know you got to try things out, it just feels a lot more like the stakes are a lot higher, and then it's hard, really hard to get out of that thinking sometimes, even though like I know I'm like, I know this isn't that bad but it feels that bad and it's really hard to change the feeling rather than thought, you know. - Yeah yeah, yeah no, no, yes I can definitely relate it, yes and I think like, I have gotten better, I will say I have got better at taking risks and being less terrified, but it has definitely been a very sort of long and ongoing journey, you're like yeah, I'm going to do this thing that I'm not 100 sure whether it's gonna work, but I'm gonna do it anyway because that's what people do but I do think, and as much as I always hated the advice like, you know, you just have to keep doing it and then it gets easier, it's true, I hate that I am now that person, you're just going to keep doing it and it'll get easier, but like it's true and it does terrify me less now to try stuff, and I think some of it is just having tried stuff and it worked was reassuring, and having tried stuff when it failed and the world didn't end, yeah it didn't destroy my business, it didn't destroy my reputation, the world kept turning, everything was really fine, I just sort of tweaked it and tried again, you know and I like with my sort of anxiety a lot of it is that, you know everything there is no less scary outcome, either going to ruin everything or it's gonna work they are the options, but it turns out there are options between those things I don't think I would ever have figured that out if I hadn't just done it and then found out, because there was a point between those two options which is really frustrating because then you can't, like there's no way to sort of zap into somebody's brain and be like it's gonna be okay even if it fails, it's gonna be fine, I promise, i'll be like right, okay then it doesn't work, so yeah it is a shame, but yeah it is a long slow process - so there is another side, ifyou will - At the end of the tunnel so to speak - Yeah yeah - Yeah I do remember that my first attacks for like the first weeks at those jobs, and they were, you know it was like my first job so it's part time, and it was just retail, I was working at like a small store display store and like, you know it really wasn't that hard, I was mostly like a cashier, I would help wrap things up and it just, I don't know why it terrified me so much it was just like I was like, I didn't have much to do, there were no customers, and I was just like breathing heavy at the cash register like freaking out for no reason, and like you know after a couple of weeks it just goes away and you're like okay, this isn't so bad so it's really just like taking the dive and kind of like working through the emotions, I guess and just finding out that it's not as bad as you think - Yeah and even if it is as bad as you think you can still cope with it yeah yeah, I literally have, actually let me bring I have a list of like coping statements because I am that level of crazy, I have to have coping statements on let me find, because one of them is basically this is horrendous, but I'm going to survive anyway I can be nervous and still deal with the situation - Ah it is useful because I think even me, like trying to be like I'm not anxious is just nonsense, yeah there's being like yes, I am absolutely terrified and this could all go horrifically wrong, but let's figure it out if that happens like, it's gonna be okay because I know that I have some kind of brain power to be able to actually figure out if it does all go horrendously wrong, yeah that would that was definitely helpful for me - Yeah, like I've been to therapy and like I've been taught like a couple of different coping things but the thing is like, in the moment they're hard to remember sometimes because you're just so freaking out, and like in that cycle that you forget but one of the things they kind of taught me was that to think about like all the options, and if it's hard think about the most like unlikely ones first, like if you're afraid to like let's say go to the doctor, and like just you're afraid he'll mess something up, then like you then like think about other things that could happen like you go to the doctor and he's an alien or something like that, he's gonna like dissect your brain and then think about like, you're going to the doctor and he's like a secret government agent and he's gonna recruit you into his like little like task force or something, and then from there you could go to like a little more like reasonable things, like you go to the doctor he might pinch you a bit but it's fine, and then like you just get into like reasonable territory, and then you find out all these like spectrum of things that could go, that could happen, and you're like oh, okay, so like anything could really happen, and it doesn't have to be just a bad thing - Yeah that's a really good idea, I like that, yeah it's fun to think of the weird things first of all, but yeah that's true, like in the environment it is is really difficult to even remember what those like coping mechanisms are, I actually again on my notion board of basically you're crazy, here's how to survive with it, I have I have a whole set of things which is like things to do when you're triggered that is, it's just entirely things that are to stop my brain just blowing up basically, and it's just like breathe, go for a walk, do anything, do yoga, put music on, dance, like get it out of your physical body, get the actual adrenaline in that out of your body, so that your brain comes back online because that is the challenge, that is always the challenge isn't it yeah, I have all these amazing skills and coping strategies that I cannot remember to usethem - Oh yeah, you, sure, me too yeah, and one thing that keeps coming up, like speaking of what you were saying like, to get it out of your body, like everybody keeps telling you to work out, and I mean like I did do it for a little bit, but it's so hard to get into it especially like since we were inside for so long and like, I just I was sudden terror for so long I sat in like the same spot for like two months and yeah apparently it really, I mean I did notice it did help, like when I was like doing the gym and stuff because when I was in college we had a gym at our college, so it was like easy to go to and my friend would go, so I would just tag along and I feel like it does kind of like get the nerves out and like, you know it tires not all of you out but like a part of you out so that it doesn't keep chattering as you do the stuff that you want to do, but yeah yeah apparently being healthy is really important, and you realize that more as you go on in life - Yeah it's true, I never used to be like a sporty person at all, and I didn't used to find actually that like exercise helped me with like depression, anxiety, like anything I was dealing with, and I think a lot of it was because my mindset was wrong because I kind of have a mindset that's like that, I used to have a mindset always like if I'm working out I have to burn x calories, I have to get great to this point, I have like the aim is to, quote, get fit right, and it wasn't like that was it, that was the only reason I could think of to do exercise, just it made me feel worse, because either I was so exhausted already just from depression I couldn't do it, or my anxiety was so bad that I was like I'm not doing enough, I've not done enough for it to be, for work and when I started doing yoga, the first time I started doing yoga I came at it with the same sort of attitude and I hated it and I gave up, and when I restarted doing yoga I was like it's not exercise, it's self-care, I'm just checking in with my body, I'm just that's all it is, and I love it and I have done it like every single day, apart from like, maybe seven days in the past two years. I think for me that was the difference, was like it's not about quote achieving anything, it's just this is my time to, like, check in with my body and figure out what it needs and give it that so yeah, I think it's so, like mental health and mental illness is just so complex, and it's which kind of comes back to the we need people who can create art that demonstrate how complex it is, because it's so hard to say like, you can't give generic advice about it, you know, because you can say oh yeah, yeah, well exercise is great for mental health, well yeah it is most of the time, if you're in a mindset where you're like hey I have to exercise this many times a day, or I have to achieve this specific thing or whatever, that's not helping - And so yeah, it is really, it's so individual which is frustrating - That's really interesting because I didn't really think about mindset going into it because, like for me it was just like going to the gym with a friend so it was like, you know a fun thing and like she would laugh at me struggling to do a pull-up and stuff like that, so you know it was just kind of like no pressure kind of thing, and it's funny to think of you like going at yoga like Bruce Lee or something, like trying to like intensely go at yoga, but yeah science really does make a difference and I think one thing I've noticed about myself just in general is like, my physical self isn't something I've really been too self-conscious about it and I think that's why it's been easy to like just go at the gym, to go to the gym and not like be like oh, I gotta get abs in like two weeks or something like that, but the things that like I've been self-conscious about are like my success, my artwork, my like you know just my space in life and stuff like that, so that's the kind of stuff that really that I go at with a not healthy mindset, the stuff that matters to me so then that's like where the coping mechanisms should kick in, but always forget to get at them and, yeah just all that, all the stuff we talked about it is complicated, it is, but it sounds like you you are doing all the right things - So it has been so lovely to chat to you, I, we have really not talked about social media, we've just talked about like mental health and stuff relatable content so if people have some interesting work ideas for you or they would like to see your fabulous art, where can they find you? - Alright, they couldfind me on Instagram at and that's just basically my name and yeah, I'm also on Facebook but I don't really go there as much, so Instagram's really the place to find me and like my email's there and everything so yep, that's where I am - Very good Iwill put the links in the show notes of course, thank you very, very much for being here - Oh itwas nice talking to you reminders to find your own way to use social media, follow Alexis on your social platform of choice, all the links will be in the show notes, until next time, be a human