“Art provides a non-verbal outlet to express thoughts, feelings, concerns and hopes during a time when words may be difficult to find,” says Lori Mackey, an art therapist at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL.
As an art therapist who works with children, Mackey experiences every day how making art can empower self-awareness and even instill hope.
“Know that it is okay to not know how you are feeling or to not be able to verbalize how you are feeling right now,” Mackey says. “Art can provide a safe space to express and explore what words may not be able to offer at this time.”
Here are some of Lori’s simple ways to engage in making art:
- Scribble drawing: Close your eyes and scribble on a piece of paper for 30 seconds. Open your eyes and turn the paper until you see an image in your scribble. Use additional colors (markers, pencils, crayons) to develop your scribble into that image.
- Magazine Collage: Use old magazines and look for words and images that you are drawn to for whatever reason. Cut them out and arrange them in a way that makes sense to you. Glue them onto a blank piece of paper. Perhaps give your collage a title.
- Mixed media: Use materials readily accessible to you as inspiration to create. Whether painting, sewing, knitting, photography, or drawing, remember that engaging in art making can instill hope, inspire resiliency, and provide a temporary distraction from the stressors around you.
It’s rough out there. It’s OK to pamper yourself.
As COVID-19 continues to spread and news of the virus provides a daily, ever-present source of stress, it’s important to remember that someday this outbreak will end.
This is a brand-new challenge for almost everyone whether you’re working the front lines in health care worker, keeping grocery store shelves stocked or working from home to try to keep others safe.
But Rev. Kevin Massey, Advocate Aurora Health’s vice president of mission and spiritual care, sees some similarities between how people are feeling now and how they felt after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In the aftermath, he worked as a chaplain at Ground Zero in New York City.
“These days are very similar to those,” Massey told WGN radio. “At that time, we felt uncertain about what was next. We feel that now, too. We were afraid and anxious. We feel that now too.”
“At the same time, was there not a spirit of unity that drew people together?” he says. “I see that happening now all over the place as well.”
Massey talks with health care workers, helping them get through times of stress. He compared them to the police officers and firefighters who worked at Ground Zero
“In those days, people put themselves in harm’s way to recover our lost with dignity,” Massey says. “And in these challenging days, then we’ve got our health care workers of every kind, caring for our patients and families with courage and skill.”
It takes a toll on everyone, but Massey on WGN preached about the importance of resiliency – the ability to bounce back after tough times.
“To be deeply affected does not mean that we are defeated,” he said. “And it turns out that resilience can be bolstered through practices of self-care and self-nurture and seeking human connectivity.”
Massey said it’s OK to indulge a little bit in service of caring for the social, emotional, physical and spiritual parts of your being.
“Right now, every one of us, let’s pamper ourselves,” he said. “Whatever that little thing is for you that you like to do to make yourself feel a little bit better, now is the time to do it. Because in so doing, we are kind of nurturing those beings, bolstering our resiliency, and helping ourselves bounce back when we’re brought low by these challenging days we’re going through.”