How to get creative while at home
Our Art Therapist, Jan, explains how getting creative at home can help you relax and boost your mental health during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and shares advice from the Art Therapy team on how you can get a creative workout, no matter how artistic you are or what equipment you have.
"Now more than ever, tapping into creativity and inventiveness can help to manage the way we approach our problems. Although the source of our worries might still be around (like COVID-19 at the moment) building a creative time into the day can provide a positive focus that stimulates and concentrates our minds and relaxes our bodies. There’s science behind it.
Artmaking time gives us an opportunity to find a focus away from news feeds and social media, which can be overwhelming. And it supports us to regulate our minds and bodies in uncertain times.
Giving ourselves some creative time allows us to have some control over what we’re doing; the materials we might find to use, how we set out to make something, and what we might create.
Sharing what you’ve created with others, either within your home or via social media platforms, might also help you to feel connected to others. Perhaps sharing themes or setting challenges or competitions with one another.
Here are a few of the Art Therapy team's tips to help get you going.
"You might already have some art materials at home but a pencil (or biro) and a scrap of paper will do for a start.
"For a 3D approach, a selection of random objects can provide a challenge for a sculpture. You’ll be surprised how much meaning you can convey by arranging items to tell a story. It can be taken to bits again afterwards.
"Old newspapers and magazines can provide a wealth of material. Cut out photos or words that interest you and arrange them into a collage. Maybe add some other oddments to it like pebbles or fabric.
"Then there’s photography. Many people have a phone camera, so you can use this if you don’t have another camera. Creativity comes when you seek out the beauty, interest or personal meaning in something you see and want to capture it.
"For those of you with art packages on your laptops, there’s a whole new world to explore.
Or, what about writing a story or a poem? Maybe even a piece of music. This is all art that can help you relax."
"Try not to construct barriers to stop yourself giving it a go. Stick figures were good enough for Lowry.
"Thomas Merton once said 'Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time'. It can be really relaxing to immerse yourself in artmaking and can help express what you’re feeling too.
"You might also discover a hidden talent or a way to have fun."
"These workouts are to help you to chill out and loosen-up, so try not to drift into areas it might be best not to approach alone.
"Remember grounding techniques and skills to help you remain in the here-and-now, like noticing the room around you or the smell of an essential oil. Get the toolbox of techniques out to make sure you remain on target for what you want to achieve.
"Your goal might be to distract your thoughts for 30 minutes, to paint mindfully, to relax, to do somethings with the kids, or to think of something calming. It’s up to you.
"It could be helpful to notice if you achieved your goal. If not, why was that? Perhaps you could tackle that next time. Maybe the space was uncomfortable or the time of day wasn’t right."
"We often find having a theme can help. So, the Art Therapy team will make some suggestions over the coming weeks. We’d love to see your creative responses. Post a photo on social media, tag @CombatStress and use #CombatStressCreativeChallenge and we'll share some of your artwork on our channels too.
"Here, we will list our suggested theme for each week, so do check back in."
W/c 6 April: Harmony
W/c 13 April: Encouragement
W/c 20 April: Through a Window
W/c 27 April: Centering with a Mandala Image
W/c 04 May: Refresh
W/c 11 May: Connections
W/c 18 May (Mental Health Awareness Week): Kindness
W/c 03 June: Captain Tom
W/c 08 June: Music and Imagery
W/c 15 June: Taking one step at a time
W/c 22 June: Look up
W/c 30 June: Movement: While we might not be able to get out and about as much as we’d like, our lives and the world around us are still in motion. Movement can be about change or development, it can be a brief moment or take place over long periods of time. What can you observe that reflects movement in the world around you?
We hope you find your creative workout useful. If you’d like any more tips or information, you can find more at www.combatstress.org.uk/self-care-during-covid-19
Our Self-Care Resources
Looking at art engages our intellect, emotions, senses, and imagination. It can reduce stress, improve brain function, and help us refresh, which is so important during COVID-19.
Welcome to our online self-help resources, aimed at keeping you in good mental and physical shape until the lockdown is lifted.
There are many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during this extraordinary situation.