December can be the most beautiful yet most begrudging time of the year for me. The sun is a rare sight, my skin is unbearably dry, and I am frantically trying to relearn an entire semester’s worth of information in a few days while simultaneously balancing work and a sprinkle of social life. In exchange, my mental well-being crumbles.
My mental health is something that I strive to be open and honest about, and in December, my mental health dissipated. My routine of school, work, friends, more school, even more, work, and less time for me spun me into a spot where I was perpetually exhausted, uninterested in my interests, and refusing to face the realities of my poor mental care habits. After my exams were all said and done, I made an effort to pick up the pieces of my shattered creative habits.
For the first time in almost two months, I picked up a pen and had an open and honest discussion with myself regarding my seeming inability to do any creative work of any sort. My writing folder had multiple months-old separate files of two lackluster sentences of half-developed ideas. I hadn’t taken any photos I was proud of. I hadn’t even tried anything special with makeup. Nothing felt natural enough to pursue. My mantra when I start a new project is don’t push yourself to the point where you’re making stagnant, boring work to get it done. This concept draws a fine line between laziness versus blockage, and I began to realize that the bare trees, brown grass, and clouds along with some schoolwork I wasn’t passionate about were all contributing to this bout of stagnation.
With the stress of school removed and about three straight days of self-care (which included lots of face masks and many listens to Lorde’s Pure Heroine) the fog is beginning to clear, and my December has turned around and I set out on my first project in a long while, which for me was burning through gas to see those light displays that make your stomach flutter with cheer. You can’t exactly stop and smell the roses in winter, but you sure can stop and photograph some light displays.
Most wouldn’t consider Lincoln to be a city that could be defined as beautiful, but the effort put in by the residents indeed show out to spruce up and change the perspective on a town that seemingly never changes. It’s the little things that have sparked me to get back into a routine to create, and I couldn’t be more excited. Below are some of the places that made me feel that spark (too cheesy, wow), and while you can’t be there to experience them for yourself, I put my heart into trying to capture these. Enjoy.
Mckenna is a third-year student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the College of Journalism studying Advertising and Public Relations. She is currently interning for That Green Tea Blog.
All the images are original photos and the property of McKenna Arthur and should be used with permission. We will know if they aren’t. ( yes we will)
Follow Mckenna on Instagram (@mckennaarthur) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for any collaborations.