The connection between creativity and the benefits it has on our well-being has been of interest to me for some time. Struggling with my own mental health and anxiety over the years, creativity, crafting and art has always been a tool to help me when things feel a little unstuck.
After the birth of my daughter, I struggled and felt an urge to get creative. I knew in the pit of my stomach that it was going to help me out of the hole I was in at the time, so I got my sketch book, sat next to my daughter whilst she had a nap, and just started doodling flowers.
The more I did, the better I felt. After a year or so, and finding my feet as a new mum, I decided to study Art Therapy, with Renaissance Life Therapies - Online Life Therapies. I had always been interested in learning more about the psychological benefits of art, so I took an online course. I wanted to learn more about the connection between creativity and well-being, to educate myself for future self-care, put them into practice, and well, maybe share a few things along the way too.
My anxiety was really high at the time, but by getting back into my art and applying creative exercises, I started to find calm and was able to refocus, rebuild and ultimately rediscover myself. From then on, one thing led to another, and 5 years later I’m a full time artist, building my art business, and fully throwing myself into the prospect of being creative every day.
The reason I’ve provided this bit of narrative is because I’ve experienced first hand how being creative, and connecting with yourself and/or with others through the creative process can have huge and lasting benefits to our wellbeing and mental health.
Creative connection for young people
My daughter is nearing 5 years old now and loves crafting and creating things, whether it’s in the studio with me or on the kitchen table. We often draw or create something whilst having breakfast and I’m pleased that we have this in our routine. She enjoys it and it’s a chance for us to connect, to talk and engage, which in turn supports her well-being.
As a mum, I want to equip my daughter now with some knowledge, understanding and simple tools to help her with her mental health and well being so she can learn self-care early on. This makes me even more determined and mindful to practice the art exercises I have learnt and apply them to my routine, and be a positive role model for her.
The world and the environment we live in seems to shift and change so fast now, that it’s never been more important to instil and educate young people about supporting their own wellbeing and mental health.
Connecting with creativity
Connection, to me, goes hand in hand with creativity. Why? Well because in order to be creative, you would be connected to:
Topics that inspire you
People you’re being creative with
Subjects you are representing
Yourself - your feelings and emotions
Environment and where you are
You can connect on so many levels whether it’s what drives and inspires your creativity, or whether it’s the people you choose to be creative around, and that in itself can feed our well-being for the better, and provide us with a sense of belonging and purpose. Going deeper, our own connection with ourselves is so important, and we need to be mindful to always check in with ourselves and where we are in our own mental state to manage our wellbeing and mental health, the best we can.
Connecting with others - Creative Cuppa anyone?
We all need to connect with others. It's who we are. We are not developed to live alone, isolated, but to live together, to be part of a community. I’ve facilitated and took part in art and crafts workshops and group activities as a business but also as a person that loves crafting and learning new skills, and connecting with others.
Arts and crafts are activities that we can all enjoy, and learn, plus they are a great tonic for mindfulness, and supporting our well-being. If you’re anything like me, I love to create and talk at the same time.
When I worked in the corporate world, and started to learn about Art Therapy, I would doodle in meetings, not because the meeting was boring, or because I was disinterested, or being plain rude. But because it actually helped me to concentrate more on the present and focus my mind on the conversation. Doodling or other art exercises (Doodling being the most common as you can do it anywhere with little materials) places your mind in a meditative state, helping you to find calm and stop all the chatter going on in your head, so in turn, you're taking in more of the environment in which you are in. Skeptical? Try it next time you're in a meeting. To explore more about Doodling, have a read of my blog Doodling sessions for Mindful Meditation (ellielovettartist.com)
Similarly, when we take part in arts and crafts workshops and the creative process, we are focusing on the creative task at hand whilst engaging in conversation, and the environment we’re in. So for both adults and children crafting, getting arty, and being creative is great for any age, can help us connect with others, and enable us to have a deeper connection with ourselves.
Let’s connect - Children’s mental health week 6 - 12 Feb
Next week is Children’s Mental Health Week. It’s a time in the year dedicated to raising awareness for mental health and well-being in young people. This year, Place2Be has launched Children’s Mental Health week with the theme ‘Let’s Connect’. This theme explores how we can connect in positive and rewarding ways, to support our wellbeing and mental health.
We all need to connect. It is so important for us all and it is part of being who we are. How will you connect with others and celebrate this theme?
I’m definitely going to get some crafting time with my little one and try the paper chain activity. There are great free tips, resources and activities for children (including making paper chains) which you can access as part of the week, all focused on how we can best connect to support our mental health. I’ve popped some links below…
Children's Mental Health Week (childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk)
Families - Children's Mental Health Week (childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk)
For more information on Children’s Mental Health, here is the Place2Be link Improving children’s mental health in schools – Place2Be
If you’re looking for some great kids crafting ideas here are some links to explore:
100+ Easy Craft Ideas for Kids - The Best Ideas for Kids
Kids Crafts - Inspiration for Children of all Ages (activityvillage.co.uk)
If you would like to read more about the connection between art, health and wellness in general, pop over and read more on this topic here The link between art, health and wellness (ellielovettartist.com)
Bye for now x
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