This past week my daughter has been feeling a bit down on herself and I wanted to try and help her. Because I have been having so much fun with my own doodling and art journaling, I thought we could do something creative together. The end result was a morning spent collaging.
I collected some old magazines, glue and scissors and we were ready to get going!
I wanted the activity to really calm her, so I also played some relaxing music and had her choose the fragrance to put in the oil burner. She chose sandalwood, which smells wonderful. (But I now know gives me hay fever. I was sneezing the whole time!)
I don’t know who enjoyed it more: me or her! We engaged in some girl-talk and I think I got a more clear idea of what was bothering her. Her collage was mostly about things she saw that was beautiful to her: lots of flowers; and lots of yummy deliciousness: cakes, pies, strawberries, and ribs – her favourite! Mine is a definite mirror of where my mind is lately: colourful, crafty and nature.
Collage is a great activity for exploring feelings because it feels less threatening than other art activities like painting and drawing. My daughter tends to be a little perfectionistic and I didn’t want her to focus on not drawing ‘good enough’. I just wanted her to have a little fun and get us talking without being too serious.
I think collaging is a great way to engage with yourself or your child, it surely helped us work through some rough feelings.
What techniques do you use to work through some feelings after having a rough week?
I have been looking online for a little help on my art journalling. I always love to do a lot of research on a new project/interest and this Art Journalling is no different. I also have to be mindful to not let in stay in the research stage, because I can easily get stuck there and never go over and take some action!
But this little free course Give Your Dream Wings by Andrea Schroeder from CreativeDreamIncubator is really doing some magic for me.
She also wrote a wonderful post about working with energy containers for magic … read more here. Amazing stuff!
So today I went to an energy healing session. I have never been to one before and didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a kind ear and a steady hand who touched my heart. Sometimes just talking openly with someone you trust is exactly what you need. I had never met this healer before but felt comfortable with her immediately. As we talked, I grew more relaxed and opened up about things that are bothering me at the moment. I have been on a path of self-loathing these past few weeks, and I know it will lead nowhere good – really fast.
I have been on this road before and I am recognising the signs. I isolate, pull back, talk less, eat more junk food and drink less water. I am obviously trying to protect myself and that in itself is not a bad thing. It is when all this aloneness gets out of balance that I can really feel it. I have even been isolating myself from the only good friend or two that I have. I know it is not a good practice, but when I feel so overwhelmed like I have been lately, it is exactly the thing I do. I creep back into my shell of protection and it takes a really great person to get me out of it again. And since I don’t have any of those in my life at the moment, I realised it is up to myself.
So I went where any tech-savvy, self-helper goes first…Pinterest.
I enter my latest ‘craving’ and hit enter. There is usually a lot of good ideas and when I finally tear myself away from the screen after a few minutes (ok, hours!), I have a lot of plans and inspiration to get me going. It is not to say that I actually do get to the action part, but at least I feel a lot more inspired.
What I realised again today is that my soul needs some creativity. So I have decided I am going to set aside a session of time aside each day to do something creative. Lately I have been leaning toward painting. A couple of years ago I felt the tug toward painting but I didn’t have the time to invest in it. Earlier this year I got the chance to create two paintings for a tender process. The work didn’t pan out, but it made me realise how much I enjoy the process. I really felt in the zone while I was busy and time flew by. Isn’t that how you know you are enjoying yourself?
The connection between art and healing is getting much more attention these days. A growing body of research shows that a variety of creative activities can positively impact your emotions, attitudes and beliefs, and can contribute to greater health and wellness. I just have to look at the shelves at my local bookstore that is filled with coloring books for adults to know the following statements and definitely true:
“Art can distract you from thoughts of illness”
“Art decreases negative emotions and increases positive ones”
“Being creative can reduce depression”
“Reduces stress and anxiety; increases in positive emotions”
“Reduces negative emotions”
“Improves flow and spontaneity”
We are all looking for ways to reduce our levels of stress and get a bit of our childhood carefree feelings back. So starting from tomorrow I will tackle a little art journal project, and if I feel it is ok to share here, I will. I have a smidgen of perfectionism problems so it might be really hard for me to share any of my creations just yet. At the moment I am just glad I committed to something.
I am happy I took the time for myself this morning. That I did something for me.
What little steps are you taking every day to help fill your cup?
Driving helps me to think and may be the key to reducing my stress levels, increase my creativity and possibly even make me more happy. The drive to my daughters’ school is just 15 minutes and even in that small amount of time – my creative juices kick in. The drive acts as a kind of intermission to my morning of studying and the afternoon’s activities that still lie ahead, and I get to practice a little mindfulness.
“Research indicates that the regular practice of mindfulness demonstrates efficacy in treating anxiety and a variety of other psychological conditions.”
As my body focuses on the task, my mind starts to reflect on things more clearly. I suddenly remember things I forgot to do, and I realise that clutter is not only a physical thing, but definitely something that happens in the mind as well. So I use this time to do a bit of mental-organising. Because I can’t write anything down while driving, I have started to use the voice recorder on my phone to record short to-do lists for myself. Until I can get back home and can sit down in front of my computer again to start acting on those ideas.
Here are 3 things that driving has helped me do:
Lessen anxiety. I practice breathing exercises while I drive, or listen to a short guided meditation.
Get my groove on. I have made myself a playlist of inspirational songs that I sing out loud whenever I feel a bit blue and need a good laugh. My singing really is that bad. Not even the shower gets an earful.
Get writing done. Well, actually this is me talking out loud to a recorder, but you get the idea. Focused thoughts, less distractions. I really get things done!
Is there anything you do while driving that helps you? Add you ideas in the comments below.