Brewtifully Made

Approaching Stress and Anxiety through Art

December 08, 2023 Tracy Dawn Brewer Season 1 Episode 9
Brewtifully Made
Approaching Stress and Anxiety through Art
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Ever felt overwhelmed by life's challenges? Imagine finding solace in the simple act of sketching, writing, or even molding clay. This episode is a revealing discourse on how creativity can be a powerful tool for mental well-being. The first half unravels the intricate relationship between art and mental health, underlining how creative activities can help us navigate through stress, anxiety, and negative emotions. Drawing from personal experiences, I’m shedding light on how creativity can help to decelerate our thoughts and offer fresh viewpoints to tackle problems. I also emphasize how a supportive environment can bolster this healing process.

Shifting gears, in the second half we underline the imperative of incorporating creativity in our daily lives. I share how you can explore a plethora of creative outlets such as writing, coloring, building, and theatre participation and discuss how regular practice of these activities can be beneficial for your mental health. The discussion highlights the value of having a supportive community to share and grow your creative endeavors. I also delve into how art can be a mirror to our emotions, allowing us to express ourselves without fear. The episode culminates with a crucial reminder - you're not alone, and your talents are a gift that deserves to be shared with the world. So tune in, and discover how creativity can be your ally in your mental health journey.

Today’s doodle is my favorite Scooby Doo character dressed in 20’s clothing!

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Tracy Dawn Brewer

Speaker 1:

Welcome back to Burtifully Made Happy to be here on a Friday. So let's see what we're going to doodle today with our want to draw app. Let's see what this smart little device picks. Our favorite Scooby-Doo character wearing 20s clothing oh, good heavens. Oh well, I'm going to pick Velma, because I think she already looks like she's wearing a 20s clothing with her little drop waist skirt and sweater set. So since that was a big deal in the 20s that look and her little haircut, I think I can turn into something fun. Let's hope, oh boy. So today I wanted to talk a little bit about the helpfulness of creativity and art in mental health, how it helps cope with a lot of things that happen with our feelings and what we're going through, and using it as a tool to get through some of these seasonal times. Maybe I know, in my nine to five I work for a healthcare system and I've had our nurses and clinicians on talking about different mental health issues Sad seasonal affective disorders, one depression is another. So if you ever listen to all caring conversations, that is a work podcast that I manage and produce and host and there are quite a few wonderful topics that surround mental health. So if you would like more clinical, I guess. Look at some of these things. I would suggest going on there and listening to some of the helpful hints that they offer and then also talking to your doctor and lots of options on apps that you can call right into someone and they can help as well. So before just diving into my own take on this and using art and creativity as a nice tool to help with those, I definitely want to clarify I am not a professional in this field. I am just going to give my two cents. But there are lots and lots of resources out there that you can definitely use to help you deal with some of those issues surrounding our mental health and our mental well-being. So I wanted to make sure definitely to offer that before we get started. I love the fact that when I get kind of in a funk, I can get my mind off of some of those things by being very creative, and I know so many people that use art and creativity and just working with their hands to help them cope with stressful situations, anxiety, feeling down and out, and it is such an amazing outlet and, having that outlet, I feel very fortunate to have the support at home that I need. So whenever I am feeling like I need to deal with something, I can then dive into working on a project and it is never an issue. It is never like why are you doing this or that? I have 110% support for my husband. So I think that it is very important for the people around you to understand how your creativity helps you cope with stressful situations and anxiety and anything that you may be battling and dealing with, and that they understand how important it is for you to have that time and have that outlet and that they support it in any way that they can. It is very healing to take a moment to create something and appreciate getting those feelings out. For me, this is just from my perspective. I think that it's really helpful to watch the movement of my hand drawing something. If I'm doing it digitally, it's just as satisfying as if I had paint, unless I'm really stressed out then I really would love to just be in paint or sewing or fabric and the different textures that it brings. It lets my mind rest and focus on something else, and then the thoughts that I need to process whatever is bothering me come to me in a different way than if I am just sitting and just, you know, letting that issue fester, and for me that's how I can process through, working through issues that I'm dealing with. It is very helpful to um. It's like switching gears in my mind, where, if it's a problem that I'm dealing with and I'm trying to find a solution, if I'm sitting there just thinking about it over and over and I'm starting to overthink it, it's like I am on and fifth gear. You know, I am just like railing down the road and I can't think of anything else because I'm just so hyper focused on what's going wrong and I overthink everything and then I think issues are bigger than what they are, because I've been a considered every worst case scenario. Whereas if I try to take a moment and like, okay, let me get my mind off of all of the negativity and try to relax a little bit and consider the situation with some time and space and maybe I don't have a lot of time and space to give to that issue or that problem If I can sit down for like 15 minutes and roll, it just brings my mind down to like first gear, it slows things down and it's like, okay, you've got to focus on drawing this picture, but some of those little things that are festering, they're there, they're still happening, it's still. It's just not top of mind. It's just kind of in the backseat now, and to me that helps me look at the situation in a better and in different light, and that's how I see creativity, helping my own anxiety and mental health and situations, especially when I need to have that time to heal from something. So if I've had, you know, an argument, or if I've had a disagreement, or if something didn't go the way that I wanted it to, it would probably be a really good time to start a new project, because then it's something that I've got to refocus my mind on and I can look at the problem or situation later when I get to a point in the project where I have to let something dry or I have to, you know, do something else with it, and then I can be like, okay, let's look at that problem with fresh eyes, because I've had some time to let my mind rest from it. So I feel like there's this is a weird way to say it, but the mindlessness in making something helps my mindfulness in dealing with something, and I don't really know any other better way to say it than that, because it's not like I'm creating something and not having thought in creating it, but I'm creating something. I'm not having thought in the problem that I'm trying to deal with. If that's the reason I'm creating and I know that a lot of people use art as therapy and sometimes it's to create those emotions in the things that they're dealing with on paper or on sculptures or in anything that you're doing and it's letting that anger, frustration, hurt, disappointment out and it comes across. You can see the power and the movement of brushstrokes or how solid something is, because something was so heavy on their heart and their mind, and you can see it in the piece that they create. And that is what you need Get that out of your system and get it into something tangible. Maybe after you've put it all out there, then you just want to smash it because you're getting rid of it, and that's fine too. That is your expression and that is what you're free to do. I remember going into college and this was in the 80s I talked about many times how I wanted to study something with art and I couldn't get into art school because I didn't have a portfolio, but art education was what I was going to do. Art therapy was going away. At that time there was a degree in art therapy and then they were taking it away. That has come back now. I see a lot of advertisements for art therapy and art therapy opportunities, at least in my community, are very big. Now I know that our mental health facilities help promote art therapy for all ages, as well as our museums, and I think that that's phenomenal. That's really important to have those outlets. So if someone at any age needs to have some creative resources to help them deal with what they're going through, art therapy is wonderful. So I really feel like that is an underutilized mental health resource for a lot of people. So that is something I encourage you to look into, with the help and guidance from your physicians and your clinicians, is to find a way to have an outlet for your therapy, and it helps a ton, and I think that that's one of the reasons that I love to draw every day before I start work is that it's an outlet for me to clear my mind and set my day on a positive path. There's been many days that I've had to deal with highs and lows of whatever's going on, and I know I wouldn't have been able to get through it if I wouldn't have been able to draw in the morning and create something that day, because it really does help me prioritize what I need to focus on, and I think that that's so, so important for someone To have and it may not be, you know, actually like drawing and painting for you, and that's totally fine. Maybe it is building something, maybe it is cooking something every day for a meal, or it's writing. Maybe you need to write your thoughts. Journaling is a wonderful creative resource to help your mental health. Maybe it's coloring a Mandela or in a coloring book, or gets coloring book. You know, doesn't have to be adult coloring book, it doesn't have to be fancy, it can be anything. Maybe it's, you know, building a tower with a Jenga set. You know something that focuses your energy on Something else other than the problems that are in front of you. You'll go back to that issue and you're gonna rethink about it. There's no doubt in my mind. But it helps to clear, to slow down your mind a little bit with something that you can focus on. That's not the issue. So that's why I think that creativity is so healing for mental health, and I know there's lots of science and measurement of that, and I think that's why Art therapy has come back so strongly and is getting more support, but I think that people just don't think about Having that as a resource to help and a lot of things that are like in the theater and drama department. Boy, you know, that is also excellent for mental health and Getting to be somebody else for a moment and get those feelings out. So don't discount that too. There's a lot of local theater that you can participate in to get that creative outlet. So there's Something that has to be said of doing it on a consistent basis, though. So, if you can, you know, maybe you're writing plays, maybe you're writing short stories when you're not getting to act, and writing out different characters, and what would that character feel like? What would that person deal with for the day if you can't act or Participate in a play? At that moment, write down that character that you're dealing with in your mind and what you're dealing with, and, you know, make it a third-person view. And what can that? What? What can that character do to deal with the issue that you're dealing with? And you know, write it out and play it out on paper. That's Something that I think is very helpful. Even everyday life, I mean Schedule yourself Just like you would schedule a meeting with somebody else, that time that you need. That's really, really important. I think that we can seek out communities within the places that we live to support this. I know we have a creative community, a few organizations around here, and I have a friend in another state and she's talking about urban sketching. I'd never heard of that before and there's one in Cleveland and there's one in Akron. Now I want to find out if we can start one in Gatton, because it'd be really cool to have an activity once a month where people that want to get together just to relax and draw in an urban setting together. That is such a great idea. I love that. Maybe we can get that started around here. But create communities. If you don't have one, step out and step up and ask if you can start a group, because I guarantee there are other people that feel like they need that. Think about I don't know if it was on New Girl or something where they were jogging and taking pictures and that was a group activity they did once a week or so. I thought that was so funny, but that's fine. You want to get together and do urban photography just amateur photographers walking around taking pictures together as a big group and then going to have coffee afterwards. That's so much fun. Find your passion and find other people that enjoy it. Organize a small group, do it once a month, once a quarter, whatever, and enjoy that camaraderie and that time together. That's really important to help support one another, because it is so nice to find other people that can lean on one another, because you're all going through the same thing. Trust me, a lot of people don't talk about it and that's totally fine, but when they want to participate together, you know that's healing them from the inside. You're getting just as much from being around other people that are dealing with those things as they are from you. So that's really important to create that sense of community and really use the art that you're making as a tool to reflect on what you're dealing with. If you're really angry about something, make angry art. If you're really happy about something, make happy art. You don't squash your feelings because you feel like everything has to be pink, bubblegum and roses. It doesn't Be honest with yourself, with your art, and put it out there in the world and share it. That will help someone else heal too. So make it a ritual, make it something that's like a daily practice, or at least a practice of some sort that you can fit into and your time and your day or your week or your month, and don't be afraid to share it, because I'm telling you, it's going to help somebody else realize that they need to incorporate this in their life too. It's going to help them feel like they're being seen and that's what's important. We want to make sure that people realize that they're not alone, and we want to realize we're not alone. That's why I think that we create businesses, because we have something that somebody else would love to have and we want to share that with the world. That's why we create art, and it's important to know that we're here for one another and that's always positive for our mental health, because knowing that you're not alone is the biggest thing in the world. I think that's why we're here, is that we have time and talent to share with one another, and it's important to embrace and support one another in that. So remember that you're brutally made and this funky look in Velma Plus. There are heart, there are little skinny arms and legs. I guess I got the great gas being back in my head at the end of the movie where the fireworks are going. I had to do that kind of scene in the background, but I did get the mis-room machine in there. So I hope you enjoyed the doodle today and the time and drop me a message. You know, if you need some resources for some mental health, I'll be happy to share the ones that I have and help you research them, because that's really important that you have the right people to talk to. You have to take care of your mental health because it is health, it is your whole health. It's just as important if you had a cold or flu or you know the crew, as my mom would call it you would go to the doctor. You've got to take care of your whole body. Your mind is just as important as your little nose, running nose and your throat and sore throat and aches and pains. Don't let your mind hurt. Don't let it try to heal itself. You know, get help. That's what's most important. So I will talk to you again soon. Thanks for listening in and know that you have support right here from me, because I know you're brutally made.

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