A hand paints a colorful painting with a brush

How COVID Sparked My Creativity And 6 Activities for You to Try, Part 1

It may sound strange, but 2020’s unexpected COVID season ignited my love once again for all things creative. Homebound in my New York home for months on end, when the world seemed to stand still and everyone seemed to retreat into their own cocoon, I ventured into the upstairs art room, leaned on the door frame, and let out a sigh of frustration. I could see snow on the ground through the windows, and there was an overwhelming silence. Everything in the room had gone untouched for longer than I’d like to admit – the acrylic paints, jewelry beads, brushes laid out on the table, and blank canvases stacked against the walls. The night before, I had a sudden and strange urge to paint – something I hadn’t done in over a decade when I was in college studying art.

Painting to pass the time

Today, as a writer - a burnt-out writer I should add - I couldn’t stand one more minute in front of my computer. And like many of you, I wanted to get away from the endless stream of bad news via the television, internet, and cell phone. And so, I decided to paint.

With a hot cup of tea in hand and my Pandora connected to my portable speaker, I tucked myself away in the art room. The first hour after placing the canvas on the easel, choosing my paint colors and lightly sketching out my drawing were awkward, but as if no time had passed, I suddenly felt a familiar rhythm take over. I stayed in that room for over seven hours that day and when I emerged, there was no denying what had just happened.

I felt relaxed. Relieved even.

My shoulders didn’t feel so tense. My body pain lessened.

And I felt joy – something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.

The positive impact of creative activities

In those hours, my mind wasn’t fixated on my failing body and the symptoms I was experiencing that day. I hadn’t felt the urge to check my inbox or social media platforms, and I wasn’t bombarded with the news. Instead, I was singing, drawing, and painting. I had made the intentional decision to experience a time of relaxation and enjoyment doing something I had loved since I was young, and like a moth to a flame, I couldn’t stay away.

Since that day I haven’t stopped, and these activities – these time-outs from everyday responsibilities, struggles, and challenges – have done wonders for my mental health. And I am not alone in recognizing these benefits. Numerous friends and family members have shared how the lockdowns of 2020 gave them space and time to get back to some of the activities they loved, or find new ones they enjoyed such as knitting, baking, drawing, or learning an instrument. And with science and research confirming that taking part in creative activities can lessen feelings of isolation and depression, the present moment might be an ideal time for you to embark on a new creative journey.1

Stay tuned for part 2 of how COVID sparked my creativity to discover numerous creative outlets you may want to incorporate into your life.

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