Creativity and Well-being Week 2024

Creativity can be cultivated in many forms – be it in the swirls of colour as paint meets paintbrush, or the flow of words from thoughts to fingertips. We all have a unique connection with how we express ourselves and therein lies the beauty.

For some creativity comes harshly, like waves meeting high tide, whilst for others it’s softer and gentler like a stream gliding.

During Creativity and Well-being Week, we’re going to share insights with creatives who work with us at HHUGS. Come along with us as we delve deeper to understand what creativity means to them, to ask the all-important question as to whether there is a real connection between Creativity and Well-being.

Zimarina: A Writer’s Journey of Expression

Zimarina is a writer and editor who predominantly works in the third sector. Zimarina views language as ‘one of the most creative gifts human possesses.’ She pours her talent in various forms. 

She says: “I love harnessing the power of language, be it when writing non-fiction books for children, writing current affairs articles for adults, dabbling in long-form journalism or basically anything that involves using language to deliver new realities to listening audiences!”

Writing allows Zimarina to explore different perspectives and challenge norms, be it through delicate stories for children or complex issues for adults – creativity is at the heart of her work.

We’re witness to Zimarina’s drive and talent. We’ve been privileged enough to work with her for over 10 years.  Although we’re introducing Zimarina to you, you may be familiar with her voice as she’s our behind-the-scenes girl, assisting in writing content for us that changes lives.  

Zimarina first learned of HHUGS in her university days, combining her passion for writing and a thirst to battle injustices.

“It began way back when I was at university and feeling crazily frustrated at the injustice of the political climate at the time. It felt like screaming into the abyss, looking at what was happening on the global level and not being able to impact change.

“This is when I encountered the work of HHUGS, who regularly put out call outs for people in the community (and outside of it) to support them with whatever skills they had.”

Through working for HHUGS, Zimarina found a platform where her writing could serve a purpose. She says the opportunity has been a ‘profound blessing’, allowing her to use her creative skills to raise awareness and inspire action.

“Using creative writing skills for the purpose of activism has always felt like the most natural and beautiful thing in the world. It felt like I finally had the opportunity to impact tangible change – and to do it through something I love, my craft.

“One of the biggest expressions of gratitude to Allah is to use your blessings in His Service, and it is HHUGS that has allowed me to do this. So, it is not me ‘contributing’ to HHUGS, it is them impacting me in ways they do not understand!”

For Zimarina, creativity plays an integral to her existence.  It shapes how she perceives the world and her role in it.

“Creativity lies in the core of who I am – so it doesn’t contribute to my ‘wellbeing’, it contributes to my ‘being’, full stop. It’s something that informs the entire way you see the world and your role in it. Creativity is what nourishes me and it is something that I constantly must hone and craft to move to greater depths with.”

As a creative, finding substance in your craft, and a driving factor for your passion is truly a blessing. It isn’t always an easy road but Zimarina leaves us with touching words (as always).

“Start with what you love and ask Allah to facilitate ease and blessings in all of it for you. Then work hard. Hone your craft, learn, read, explore, chase, explore and keep going. All movement is good movement, even if it’s very slow. There are no shortcuts and the skills, investment and love you pour into your creative passion will always show up on the other side.

“As humans, we are wired to think is wild, weird and figurative ways – and some of my greatest life experiences is when I’ve had an expansion of meaning through creativity. I truly believe this is a gift, which Allah has been so generous to give us, and sometimes, in the harsh material world, it’s nothing short of survival.”

Zimarina’s view of the world is a breathtaking one. It’s the pauses in her day to day life, and the meaning in words which drive her. Her words touch souls and move hearts. Every word is written intentionally to serve a higher purpose.

Kosovare: The Journey of Illustrating Emotions

Kosovare is an illustrator at Convey with a deep appreciation for the arts. She’s inspired by art in various forms and embraces the challenge of not limiting herself to a specific genre.

Kosovare appreciates her work as it pushes her creativity and limits boredom which so many artists experience.  “Creativity is a cornerstone of our work at Convey, where we continuously seek new ways to approach challenges and deliver unique outcomes. Recognising that artists in general can get bored easily, the dynamic of our workflow keeps us fulfilled and thrilled to try new things creatively”

If you’ve seen our illustrations, you’ve seen Kosovare’s stunning work as she’s directly involved with visualising and translating our campaign concepts into design. She talks more about her experience working with us and her inspiration.

“Since all HHUGS campaigns are illustration-based, I have the privilege of being directly involved with every campaign. My main source of inspiration are the mothers and children in need. By putting myself in their perspective and trying to evoke the emotions they feel, I am driven to develop illustration concepts that genuinely reflect their experiences.

“This perspective guides every choice we make as a creative team – from the colour palette to the illustration style, ensuring that each campaign resonates deeply and effectively.”

Kosovare’s perspective on creativity and well-being is refreshing and honest. She talks about the ‘vicious circle’ many creatives are in, battling their emotions whilst similarly using our outlets to rid of those.

“It’s a controversial matter among many of us. I’d call it a vicious cycle of our emotions. Creatives are more prone to depression and bipolarity, and I am no exception. But, on the other hand, it helps us with self-exploration, stress relief, joy and enthusiasm.”

Her advice for creatives focuses on the material beyond the colour. The art of inner work of simplicity and self-awareness.

 “While creativity often brings to mind colours and words, it’s essential to recognise that it extends far beyond these traditional expressions. Indeed, it can also mean finding straightforward solutions to life’s challenges.

“Seeking ‘Ikigai’ helps us understand our creative selves. Once we are self-aware of our emotions and purpose of being that alone creates a balance in our well-being.”

Confusion amongst Creativity

Kosovare’s and Zimarina’s unique perspectives on creativity paint a picture of the different textures we use when discussing creativity and well-being.

A traditional trope for creatives would be an artist – torn and heartbroken creating a masterpiece, or a writer typing furiously challenging their muse.   Both promoting the idea that creativity is used generally as a way to get emotions out, flushed and digested. When creativity can be both therapeutic and triggering at the same time.

Just as we fluctuate day by day, hour by hour with our emotions, and feelings – so does the goal and purpose of our creativity.  There is a connection between creativity and well-being, as it is a means of getting through your feelings, but creativity isn’t only explored when you’re alone.

Creatives channel their creativity to move worlds, to earn a living and to wound heals. It could be something as simple as a graphic for an event or a blurb for a book – each using creativity but for a different purpose.

On some days, your creativity runs wild, on those days let it be free – free of judgment. On other days, you need your creativity to conform, and on those days, encourage it to settle. But in between those days, always remember it is a gift Allah has bestowed you with. Cherish it, harness it and be grateful.