As the coronavirus crisis gathered momentum in March 2020, I found myself turning more and more to creative projects around the house to calm my nerves. The COVID-19 news has been anxiety provoking, to say the least. It’s so disheartening to hear that more people are getting sick, while others are losing their jobs, and still others are behaving with utter foolishness! These tragedies are beyond my control, which contributes to feelings of frustration and helplessness. To help manage these feelings, and to keep myself busy during stay-at-home measures, I have been exercising my creativity.
Whenever I am feeling low or anxious, my go-to for relieving stress and sparking joy is painting. If I can paint a picture or even a picture frame or a piece of furniture, brushing a beautiful color onto just about any surface relaxes me. When I am painting, I try to focus more on the process than on the end result. I think more about how the colors blend together, where I need to add more pigment to intensify the shade, or more water for a lighter wash of tint. In my case, the colors of choice are varied shades of aqua or pink. Aqua is so peaceful and soothing to my eyes and sensibilities. Pink just makes me happy!
Some of my painted projects have turned out better than others, but that’s no matter. With every creative project, I find I am able to enjoy a moment’s peace when things get crazy.
My other creative go-to for relieving stress is interior design. Lately, this has manifested as tinkering with home decor and rearranging my furniture into more workable formations or pleasing vignettes.
I’ve reordered my bookshelves, cleaned out my closet, tidied up my work station, plastered some decorative decals on my walls, and touched up some vintage art pieces. My home exterior is looking better, and my psychic interior is feeling better!
I’m sure some psychology expert somewhere has studied the therapeutic effect of different colors on our amygdala, the nervous tissue in our brain’s temporal lobe that governs our response to stress.
Some other expert has, no doubt, written about using furniture rearrangements to establish order, and using color therapy or DIY hobbies as a kind of “moving meditation” to soothe our souls. But I don’t want to over-think this. All I know is, it works! Painting and other forms of creativity allow me to let go of all the nonsense and just breathe for a bit.
That’s what I’ve been doing lately. What design or creative projects have you been working on? What colors make you happy? How have you been using creativity to relieve your stress and find moments of joy amid the chaos? If you haven’t tackled a creative home project yet, I highly recommend it!