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Health & Wellness Spotlight: Creativity And Health

Life has changed dramatically for all of us in the past few weeks. And while we are all anxious to get back to normal, downtime can be a rare and precious thing, if we don’t allow ourselves to be consumed by worry and fear.

This is a time to do things, make stuff and be creative with your time, even if you feel like you don’t have a creative bone in your body. We all have unique interests and ways of expressing ourselves.

Some ideas:

1. Become a fashionista, even temporarily. There are pages of inspiration in this magazine. You might be in a sweat pants mood, but you can shop your favorite local stores online. Some will even put items on Facebook for sale and will deliver to your door. Don’t forget to shop your closet too. What lurks in the dark corners? Put some new outfits together. Have your kids choose your attire for the day. Have a family fashion show. Clothing and accessories are a beautiful way of self-expression.

2. Make your face a canvas. Bring out your makeup and search for some crazy makeup tutorials. Maybe the whole family, Dad included, will sport rainbow eyeshadow for awhile. Take lots of pictures and make a video. You’ll laugh for years.

3. Make something with your hands. A few weeks ago, my son Grant and I went to visit Ashley Rieck of Tin.ker at her West Fargo studio. We made cement letters “GROW” and decorated them with moss, succulents and gold leaf. We had a blast, and Grant is forever enamored with gold leaf. If you have supplies at home, learn to tie knots and make a macrame plant holder. They are back in style!

4. Paint something. Find the biggest canvas, poster board or box you have available and do a group project with your kids, significant other or yourself. Have some chalk paint left from 5 years ago? Now is the time to paint that dresser.

5. Declutter with a purpose. Maybe you’ve always wanted to create a reading nook or a playroom or a craft table. Choose one area and project and focus on creating something new.

6. Talk to your grandparents or parents (from afar) and create a family history. We take for granted that we know these people well, but with the right questions, they can be a treasure trove of memories and wisdom. Search online for question ideas through genealogy websites or personal legacy interviews.

7. Have a group FaceTime chat or virtual party with friends near and far. Do some catch-up talk, but also do some deeper intentional questions. There are lots of ideas for meaningful conversation starters online. These questions deepen our relationships and soul-saving connections. You can also arrange an online group chat, storytime, dance party or sing-a-long for kids.

8. Cook! Make a meal that’s all one color, like salad and spinach pasta with pesto and mint ice cream for dessert. You’ve probably stocked up, but shop your fridge, freezer and pantry for hidden gems. Lynn Rosetto Kasper used to have an MPR call-in show and she would make meal suggestions based on three to five ingredients you might have in your fridge. Some were pretty random ideas!

You may ask why it’s good to turn on your creative energy? Research shows that these activities help you be present. It increases happiness, improves mental health, decreases dementia, improves your immune system and makes you smarter! Now go grab some crayons and start coloring!

Written by Dr. Sue Mathison

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