How Art Can be of Value During Self Isolation

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drawing
Drawing from imagination

It’s a time of tension with lots of cases of the novel Coronavirus being reported over the world. COVID-19 is now the most well known word wherever you live. By now, many of you know where it came from, but none of us is aware of when it will leave. When such times come none one is really prepared, and even those who seem to be are still hit un-aware. False information is spreading like wildfire, resulting in pressure on people and children. Fear has become a centerpiece of our reaction – accompanied by psychological pressure and stress. Quarantine and isolation in general are important to minimize the spread of the pandemic, but in the long run, they are associated with serious mental health effects.

A recent review of research, published in The Lancet, found that quarantine is linked with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, confusion, and anger. Given that the coronavirus crisis is likely to be with us for some time, the mental health implications can’t be dismissed. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stress is currently the world’s most pronounced health risk [1]. As a consequence of quarantine, stress is likely to develop at the initial stages and continue throughout. Therefore the inability to cope with stress is a risk factor for various epidemiologically significant illnesses: cardiovascular, muscular and skeletal diseases, as well as depression and anxiety disorders [3]. In this unsettling time, it is fundamental to help children build a more resilient mindset to enable them to better respond in such a moment.

Encouraging them to engage in creative oriented exercises or hands-on things can help. this art can take any form, such as painting, drawing, sculpting, writing, and collage among others.

What is art? Why is it anyway important? Do I need to be an artist to make art? The answer to the last question is no. Art as a practice of creating things has proved to be a great means to recover one’s mental state and overcome psychosocial pressure. In a time like this, getting your mind to focus on something tangible is important and it can help you or children you know cope. This will enable them to improve their creativity as well as see the progress with what they are doing. With the different measures governments have put up in place to protect their people, quarantine is one of the most important, along with social distancing and washing your hands. We are social beings so quarantine is not easy, but with time, we will cope. A change in routine is the position we need to take. Working remotely and also following updates, not just from the famous news stations, but from our friends and relatives about their mental health.

Engaging in an art-related exercise will help you achieve the following:

1. Boost mental health. On average a person has about 60,000 thoughts in a day. Engaging yourself in the arts will enable you to focus and calm the brain and the body. The health benefits of art are equivalent to yoga and meditation.

2. Stimulate your immune system. Studies show that people who write or draw about their own experiences daily have stronger immune system function. Although experts are still unsure of how it works, writing increases your CD4+ lymphocyte count, key to your immunity.

3. Reduces dementia. Dementia is a group of thinking and social symptoms that interferes with daily functioning, including memory loss and judgment, usually in old age. But studies show that creative engagement helps people with dementia tap back into their personalities and sharpen their senses.

For starters, why not try the task below? We hope it will be helpful.

Encouraging them to engage in creative oriented exercises or hands-on things can help. this art can take any form, such as painting, drawing, sculpting, writing, and collage among others.

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Activity sheet
A sample art activity guide
Visual arts
Uganda