This historic time is calling us to be our best selves. Collectively, individuals and communities must hear the call to take care of ourselves and each other as we work together to mitigate the dangers of an unknown super virus that threatens our health, livelihoods, and the way of life that sustains us. Now, more than ever, human creativity is an essential life skill and our most renewable and valuable natural resource. It’s a positive growth mindset that helps us survive and thrive. During this unprecedented global public health and economic crisis, and until it passes, we must use every scientific and social strategy, and our innovative creative capacities to manage the overwhelming challenges and stresses. It is a viral pandemic, but there is also a surge in the need for mental health support as people are forced to let go of the things that can’t be controlled and practice social distancing, for the good of the whole.
Together, the global population is taking a massive “time out” to flatten the dramatic curve of COVID-19 infections that are negatively impacting healthcare systems, slamming the economy, and sickening and killing staggering numbers of people of all ages. We are settling in to take shelter and face a new reality that requires rethinking our everyday actions for self-protection and the safety of others. During this crisis, many people will work from home, and many will lose their jobs and incomes, while the heroes among us are working on the frontlines in our hospitals, grocery stores, and essential businesses to get us through the months ahead.
For people who find they have “extra time” because of social restrictions, don’t waste it. Ironically, the key to wellness is having time to create a healthy personal balance. Use this time and space and the change of routine for self-reflection and self-improvement and reinvent yourself, as necessary. Ask, WHAT CAN YOU DO? Here are the basics:
- Take Care – Everyone must take the best possible care of their health and well-being. We must make sacrifices, be responsible for social interactions, and follow the recommended protocols to suppress the transmission of the virus. By taking care of ourselves, we can better help the family, friends, and community members who need urgent care and support. Creative self-care is a way to enrich the mind-body-spirit and strengthen the immune system.
- Make Do – Take an inventory of your resources including food, finances, friends, and things you can do right now to improve your life condition. Find solutions to adapt and embrace this moment that will maximize your creative potential. Less is more. Break old routines and economize. Let go of the need to go out and get what you want at any time. Plan, innovate and use what you already have to achieve better outcomes. Make do to make it through.
- Create Wellness – Creative self-care reduces stress and increases wellness and is a ready-remedy for tapping personal skills and improving daily living. Discover ways to enrich your life: take a course online, practice a new fitness routine, learn to cook from scratch, read books and more books, research an idea, organize a project, video chat with an old friend, envision the future. Creativity cures boredom and enhances well-being in positive ways that keep us moving forward. Enjoy simple things and create your best life.
- Give Kindness – We are all in this together. The paradigm shift rocking the planet now is about “we” not “me”. Despite the physical distance required to keep us safe, stay socially connected to the people you care about and check-in with those having difficulties. Now, let positive words and actions rise to lift and teach each other. Make acts of kindness a daily ritual that gives solace and awakens compassion, towards self and others, friends and strangers. Be kind and express gratitude for every precious memory and the present moment.
- Remain Hopeful – It’s okay to feel sadness and mourn losses as we psychologically reckon with the new normal. Pray for those who are sick and have lost loved ones. Express gratitude for who is showing up for you during this crisis and all the people and things you love. Believe in the goodness of humanity and look deep within yourself to find spiritual resolve. This time will pass. On the other side, we’ll be more resilient and appreciate what’s most important. Now, through warm salty tears, look for signs of hope. Stay creative, resilient, safe, and well.
ART HOPE Updates: Our organization has postponed community programs during this time. Currently, we are working to relaunch our website, www.arthope.org, as we innovate our nonprofit mission to provide creative wellness curriculums online for the community at large. We will be announcing more about this in the months ahead and are looking forward to being part of the healing process in the longterm as we all get back to our lives and the people, places, and things we love. Creativity is a ready-remedy for now, and always. Please stay in touch with ART HOPE and we’ll look forward to sharing news and connecting again soon.