These are anxious times, especially for a crazy worrier like me, and I find when my anxiety is high that I have to do things that are creative or cultured to help get me through. Normally, I would go to a museum or an art gallery, take myself off for a tea and cake at my favourite cafe, or go visit a friend. For now, under our self-quarantined lives that isn’t possible, so I thought I would share with you the five creative things I like to do at home to help my mental health.
Visit a museum virtually
While museums across the world have closed their doors temporarily that doesn’t mean you can’t get your cultural fix as Google Arts & Culture, a great collaboration between Google and some of the most sought-after museums including the National Gallery and Tate Britain in London, Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York lets you view collections virtually.
The idea is that you can use the platform to browse entire museum collections or view all the pieces from your favourite artist, I have both of mine Claude Monet and John Constable as favourites on my computer, or wander through the gallery halls using Google’s street view, my favourites being the British Museum, calms me in an instant or how about walking up the spiral ramp inside New York’s Guggenheim Museum.
You can also explore by time, colour, art movements, places historical events and figures. There is a lot to see and all can be done from your home and relaxing with culture will be just what your mental health needs.
Need more inspiration – check out this great article on the 10 Top Museums You Can Explore Right Here, Right Now or scroll through the featured page, I always find interesting things on there.
Take a break and do a bit of colouring
The problem with working from home, self-isolating or being on lockdown is that you can go a little stir crazy, so you have to factor in breaks, whether that’s for a cuppa and a biscuit, a skype call to a friend, or how about a spot of colouring in. I find it very therapeutic and a great stress reliever and great for my mental health and getting my anxiety levels back under control.
There are a lot of colouring books on Amazon, I have a few fashion-themed ones, but there is also a lot of resources online, for free, and my favourite has to be the Kitty’s Colouring Club by Kitty McCall, a brilliant artist who has a joyful and very colourful quality to her work. I have a lot of her butterfly and animal prints and when I saw she was doing free colouring pages to download I rushed to print them all off immediately.
There are four different designs, all beautiful as each other, and it is easy to get involved, just add the sheet to cart, checkout and on completion, you’ll receive a download link!
Don’t forget to share your completed pages with the hashtag #KittysColouringClub.
“These are tough times for everyone and in these times of gloom I want to share a little bit of light and colour.”Kitty said on starting her colouring club.
Learn another language
I’ve been learning French using the Duolingo app on my mobile for the past 60+ days and I have to be honest I find it fun, rewarding and a little bit addictive, which is a good thing for learning. Unlike other language courses I’ve tried in the past, Duolingo has bite-sized lessons that are actually useful, covering things like transport, food, family and work.
It is a clever system, as the lessons adapt to your learning style, with exercises tailored to help you learn and review vocabulary effectively and easier, even on the free version. What I love is that you get to see the answers you get correct and even if you get it wrong, the way it teaches through repetition means you will have another shot at getting it right, and that always feels like an achievement to me.
I’ve found the free version fine, I don’t mind taking a break when my hearts run down or while I watch an advert, but if you don’t like to be interrupted you can pay for the Plus version, from £6.59 a month. This also means you can save courses for offline and do progress quizzes. I’m tempted to try the seven-day trial to see if I get a lot more out of it.
The only real decision you will need to make is which language – as the app has everything from French, Spanish and German to Hawaiian, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and even Klingon.
Give drawing a whirl
So, I’m not much of a drawer, I wish I could I’m fascinated with the skills of illustrators and artists, well, thanks to Rob Biddulph and his amazing #DrawWithRob idea you can give it a go with his fabulous draw-along videos.
OK, quick disclosure, this is for kids, but hey I’m very childish and I totally adore his Gregosaurus, and why not have a little fun, while learning a new skill.
Write in your journal
When everything else fails, I grab my journal and I write down all my thoughts. I find if I don’t, I dwell on them, they distract me, I overthink them, and I worry like hell – all not good for my mental health. Now more than ever I’m filling up my pages of my pretty journal and I find it really helps.
For me, journal writing is a chance to reflect and relax as well as plan, and looking forward, especially in difficult times is important – as no matter what, life goes on and I’m not going to lie I want to be ready.
Journalling is also a great excuse to get a new notepad, set of pens and cute stickers, as well as allowing yourself 30 minutes of pure bliss while you write down all your troubles, plans and thoughts. It is kind of like therapy and with my favourite candle burning and my latest go-to playlist it really does put some calm into my crazy day.
Not sure where to start, why not write down three things that you are grateful for and three things that have you worried before going to bed to ensure your mind is free of worry before going to sleep.
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