Leap into a new year by trying new things and creating new habits! Facing another lockdown can feel boring, frustrating or anxiety making – let’s pull together a Creative Toolkit for Challenging Times. Do you need ways to 'get going', arty energy boosters? Do you need ways to chill out, worry less? Would creative and effective ways to focus and take control of your energy and time be useful?
Over the next 3 weeks, different activities, strategies and tools will be shared which can help us get through tricky times:
Creative Energisers - activities, techniques and routines to give you a boost
Creative Chillouts - ways to slow down, get rid of jittery anxiety and fears
Fun Ways to Focus - ways to get your head and body focussed and ready to do stuff, achieve things and be the best YOU that is possible.
Continuing this week with...
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake up and shine?"
"I keep it simple," said light
"One day at a time"
Calm Down – Aaaaaarggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!
It’s hard to chill out if your heart is racing or if you feel angry, irritated, sad, or full of fizzing energy.Need a little something to get you feeling more relaxed? We can all find different arts activities that suit us and work as our 'chill skills'.
Musicians, dancers and performers often have to destress and find ways of calming themselves when they feel down, frustrated, nervous, anxious or after a performance when they are full of extra energy. Check out how these 14 different artists chill out:
Artists' Chill Skills
Walking in the woods, baking, disc golf, building stuff from wood, exercise, meditating, playing guitar - just some of the Chill Skills used by our featured artists. Why not watch their short films and pick up ideas for ways that you can stay calm?
Have a look at Nathan Geering's introduction to wellbeing and ways to switch your unhelpful thoughts and mindset:
Intro to wellbeing
Doodling and designing can be a great way to slow down and get absorbed in colour and patterns.
...or some Zen doodling (YouTube):
...or anime type characters (YouTube):
Watch these moving sculptures - their gentle movement will keep you mesmerised!
Sit or lie down, get comfortable and Just listen to an audio book from the teen section of https://stories.audible.com/discovery or listen to a soft gentle play list of music.
Listen to artist Sam Bakewell describe how carving tiles helps him manage his anxiety (YouTube)
Use sand or flour on a tray or in a box to create patterns as touching soft textures can be a soothing sensory experience. Look at these beach sand drawings for inspiration (YouTube)
Try this simple stretching sequence to help you relax tense muscles and your mind. Choose a song or piece of music to do the sequence to and make it part of your daily routine.
Get comfortable and sit or lie back and just listen to these food stories from Therese Collins:
Colouring can be a gentle calming activity as it involves a repetitive physical action and gives you something to concentrate on and it is fun! Try out these:
How about painting some pebbles, it’s like colouring on a 3 dimensional object! Check out these ideas for starters, then make up your own.
Singing can be a great way of organising and calming our breathing. Join in with this beautiful song.
Try these body shapes and movements
(click to download PDFs):
Early years & sensory
Smells, physical actions such as squeezing and stretching and visual stimulus can really help to calm us down. Try these sensory calming activities
Here are some relaxation techniques for young people on the autism spectrum.
Check out the calm zone from Childline with lots of ideas and activities.
Having tasks and activities that help you feel OK will help you throughout your life.
If you need a little something to get you going, give you a buzz and lift your spirits, then getting physical is a great way to get your heart pumping, blood flowing, upping the oxygen in your body and lifting your mood.
Actors, singers, circus performers often have to energise themselves before a performance or rehearsal – so try the tasks below and see what works for you! Activities for all ages, teenagers and younger people, as well as early years and sensory.
General energisers for all ages
Dance can be a good way to stay well - find out how here and watch the Mental Health Awareness Week dance flash-mob on YouTube. Dance along if you like.
Music and singing can also open up your lungs and voice and make you feel more positive. Sing Up At Home offers a bunch of free songs for primary and secondary ages, plus a weekly Feelgood Fifteen singing session every Tuesday at 9am. Why not join in?
Head to Zoo Nation for inspiration to get moving - dance tutorials and interviews with dancers, including Some Like It Hip-Hop
Sharpen your coordination with circus skills and flow dart work in these challenges from local artist Dimitri:
Visit the Dance Tent from our Summer Festival to engage your brain and body coordination with these dance and flow tasks from local artists Shanelle and Nathan. Try out the challenges for older festival goers.
Prefer a pencil and paper task? Set a timer (use your phone?) and draw as many birds, faces, things that smell, things that are blue, in 30 seconds - 1 subject each time.
Try one of these drawing tasks each day - set a time limit. Have fun!
Warm up and wake up with...
Dance from Shanelle
Drama from Tonia Daley-Campbell
Get your brain and body buzzing with...
Circus skills from Dimitri
Rope Dart from Nathan
Tap, click, drum and sing...
Try this easy singing task from Ula
to open up your lungs
Try Rob's Kitchen beat sequencer
Prefer a pencil and paper task? Head over to the British Library and create a hilarious nonsense directory.
Early years & sensory
Wake up the body and brain with sensory activities from HealthLine.
Use gentle percussive body massage to get your body moving and simple songs and clapping patterns.
The next area in our programme to introduce you to some of the fantastic artists and arts organisations working in the West Midlands. The arts are everywhere, and we want to help you find out what's in your area. After featuring each area on this page we'll store it in our Local Links section.
This week we introduce you to the artists and arts organisations of Coventry.
Meet your Virtual School's Arts Champion
We asked Rachael Bignall - arts lead for Coventry Virtual School - about her arts interests:
Q: What was the first live music gig/concert you went to?
Rachael: King – Love & Pride Tour, Apollo theatre Coventry – AMAZING!!!
Q: If you were in a film or story, which character would you like to be?
Rachael: Marty McFly from Back to The Future – so I can travel through time
Q: Quick fire questions: choose one option for each quick fire question. Would you prefer to…
Dance or watch TV? Dance
Art gallery or cinema? Art Gallery
Be in a performance or be in the audience ? Perform
What is your favourite arts activity to do ?
Rachael: Read a good book
Here's a sample of some of the arts organisations in Coventry....
Coventry Cultural Education Partnershive have created a fantastic 100 Brilliant Ideas book to get you creating. You can download the PDF here:
In response to our Winter Photography Challenge, Abbie from Staffordshire sent in some wonderful landscape photographs which capture the atmospheric winter light really well. Visit our Gallery to view all her pics. Congratulations Abbie!
PLEASE BE CAREFUL!
Children & Young People: please make sure you stay physically safe when doing any of the activities, and check with an adult before starting, as Artslink can't accept liability for any damage to yourself or property!
Children & Young People and key adults: please be aware of the importance of e-safety.
We strongly recommend the Thinkuknow e-safety website.