16 April, 2020

How creativity can help combat anxiety in times of corona

By: Cesilia Faustina

I’m sure right about now people are sick of being under quarantine, stress is mounting, anxieties are rising, people feel like they are basically losing their minds. It is a normal feeling to have and one that is highly expected during these times. So, the question is, what are we supposed to do?

There surely have been plenty of talk about the importance of mental health during quarantine and rightfully so, I’m sure I am speaking for everyone when I say, our mental health is deteriorating. Being social creatures, it is not easy to continue a life of virtual interaction, which is why doing something just for yourself may be the key.

The power of creativity

Creative activities are known to be a buffer for anxiety, and it seems like a great solution to battle the rising amount of stress of being alone, uncertainty of income, fear of being sick and more.

This idea was also stated by Girija Kaimal, an associate professor in Drexel University’s creative arts therapies PhD program, “It speaks to our own individual identity and our need to have a sense of agency and control over our lives and over our time,” she said.

I guess this is why we’ve been seeing so many painting videos on social media these days. According to the Journal of Psychological Studies, doing creative activities can give you a psychological boost; the research showed subjects developing positive affects during the day they spent time on creative goals. The American Journal of Public Health had also published a research on the impacts of art and mental health; that activities like music, visual art, dancing and writing can improve the medical outcomes of people.

Other researches have been done on the subject and had proved the same results; for an assorted of creative activities, including baking and gardening.

The number of researches done on this topic shows how much of an impact creativity can have on an individual, so on a question of whether this will work or not, I think the answer would be a definite yes.

Where to start?

We can start to see how the public has started to get into creative acts via social media, as it seems, aside from boredom, these times work as a great opportunity for people to become more self-involved, work on their skills and stir up one’s imagination. In times of quarantine, acts of creativity are working greatly to help people cope with these trying times – not only in terms of keeping people sane but in expanding the mind bank.

It seems that many organizations are realizing this as well, seeing how more and more free online drawing classes are popping out these days. Emily Shepard, the founder of The Graphic Distillery, said that drawing slowly can be meditative, and many more creatives have encouraged the same thing, as well as ways to get started.

That said, getting creative is not only limited to drawing of course, there are also plenty of easy recipes online to follow if you’re looking to work on your cooking skills. I know for a fact that this can be really fun, as I’ve been trying out more vegan recipes lately, minus the cleaning up after.

So, yes, being in quarantine can be an annoying experience, but it can also lead to many more opportunities. Opportunities to work on yourself and learn new expertise. You can start by learning something you’ve always wanted to learn, whether it’s painting, cooking, writing, etc. There are plenty of online sites that provide free resources for your to utilize, and aside from doing the mainstream creative activities, you can even get creative in activities like reading a book and creating an online book club, holding a backyard marathon to raise money for non-profits (yes, this actually happened) or building your own computer.

The COVID-19 may be a real pain but doesn’t mean we need to stop living in the process. Who knows, maybe all this self-isolation can even lead to the next penicillin.

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