Jenny Stradling

Eminent SEO Owner and CEO. Working on making the web a better place. Quality. Ethics. Collaboration.

Jenny Stradling - Creative Project - Photo-A-Day

Taking and Sharing a Photo-a-Day Could Improve Your Mental Health

Have you ever tried a photo-a-day challenge? You know, the monthly calendar that includes an idea for a photo each day. Here’s how it works. Pick a challenge to participate in, take a photo every day that is your interpretation of the description, and share it on your favorite social media platform using the hashtag.

Here’s an example from an old company photo-a-day challenge we held at Eminent SEO allllll the way back in 2013:

Eminent SEO - Photo-A-Day Challenge

Can a Photo-a-Day Challenge be Self Care?

According to Sage Journals, the daily digital practice of taking and sharing a photo is a form of self-care. The resource article is pretty scientific, so I’ll just go ahead and summarize it for you. Dr. Liz Brewster of Lancaster University and Dr. Andrew Cox of the University of Sheffield put together a research study and concluded that “taking a photo each day and posting it online has complex benefits.”

The study explains that the public commitment to getting and being involved is fundamental to the change in mental well-being. By committing to a creative project, in a way, you’re already making a positive change.

The participants signed up online through a public invitation and posted a photo every day for a period of two months. During the study, researchers recorded the photos and captions posted each day. They also tracked participants behavior and engagement with other users.

At the end of the study they interviewed the participants and found three major benefits:

  • Self-care: it’s renewing and energizing.

“Photography has been quite good for me over the years because I think it forces me to look at the world again. And also, there’s a postural thing. If you’re only looking down, when you’re depressed and hunched over, it encourages you to look up or at least squat down and look at something different and to stop and smell the flowers … So, I find it to be a very versatile self-care technique.” (Participant 03)

  • Community interaction: connecting and sharing with people who have the same interests.

“Connections with other people and sharing things, and so being able to put things out there and then get a response back. And it can be some surprising people, as well, it’s almost like having a personal conversation but with a lot of people at once, that sounds a bit odd. I’ve found you can be saying these things and then different people will react back to them. And yeah, it gives a sense of connection, which helps well-being.” (Participant 07)

  • The memories: having the ability to look back at your life and reminisce.

“As I reflect on this, it was probably an opportunity to perhaps add some color to some of those days which were dark or to show that those days, many of them had good things in them. However bad I felt at the time they had something. Every day has got something … It’s to find the good thing in the day for me.” (Participant 03)

Brewster and Cox concluded that a photo a day: is “not a simple and uncomplicated practice; rather it is the complex affordances and variance within the practice that relate it to well-being.”

June 2019 Photo-a-Day Challenge

My job requires me to be creative on a daily basis. However, it’s easy to experience creative burnout, especially when the self-doubt starts to kick in. That’s why it’s important to look for ways to take care of your creative side, just like you would your physical health and other aspects of mental well-being.

Sure, there are many ways to stimulate your creativity, like: a wine and paint class, visiting a museum, listening to new music, going for a walk, traveling… but the photo-a-day challenge is a commitment made over the course of a full month, which is proven to have its own added benefits.

So, let’s do this thang!

Jenny Stradling - Photo-A-Day Challenge for June 2019

Photo-a-Day Instructions:

  1. Save the June 2019 Photo-a-day Calendar above
  2. Share the challenge image on the social media platform you will be using for the challenge (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
  3. Be sure to include the custom hashtag so I can play along: #JSPhotoADay
  4. Starting June 1st take a photo or create a graphic that is your own inspired interpretation of the challenge for the day (anything goes, remember, this is YOUR creative project too!)
  5. Share your photo-of-the day along with your thoughts about the day and the challenge hashtag:  #JSPhotoADay
  6. HAVE FUN!

That’s it! A super easy, fun challenge. I hope you’ll play along to discover the mental health benefits a creative project can induce.

Join me on my creative work Instagram account here: @jennystradlingwork

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