The powerful respite art can offer during lockdown

Niamh Quinlan

We’ve all had to find our coping mechanisms during the pandemic, especially over the last six weeks where we’ve all be stuck inside. And we’re not out of the woods yet, Level 3 can only give us so much freedom.

And art is one way to find new freedom. At least that’s what Ellen Moriarty, a second year nursing student picked up the paintbrush for the first time since secondary school during lockdown.

“I kind of took it up because I just needed distractions during the whole lockdown,” she said. “Like I just let the pencil do its own thing and I just kind of go along with whatever I feel like at the time. It doesn’t require any thinking.

“It’s a bit therapeutic, being able to draw what you want to draw. It brings a bit of relief.”

A study by the Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, found that “arts activities were used during lockdown to help individuals manage their emotions (e.g. to help focus their thoughts and feelings and to distract from negative emotions).” This led to an overall lower rate of depression, anxiety and gave participants great satisfaction in life.

There are several ways to incorporate art into your life. DCU Visual Arts and Design Society host a drawing class every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30.

Sophia Fronda, Ordinary Committee Member in the society, spoke about how her art helped her over the course of this pandemic: “Art definitely helped to distract me,” she said. “This is probably a universal thing, but it helps when you make art and it’s to express your emotions, and you put your feelings into it.

“It’s a way of expressing them and dealing with your feelings.”

“I would encourage anyone, if they have a single creative bone in their body, just find what medium they can use to express themselves creatively, to help with dealing with their feelings,” she also said, “because I feel like it does help when you put your feelings into art or just make something.”

The internet over the last few years has been filled with challenges promoting creativity, from following Bob Ross tutorials to making slime out of detergent and flour – all possible fun household activities.

Even something as simple as a painting competition with your family or housemates. Paintbrushes from Dealz cost €1.50 and the paints themselves aren’t far from that price either.

And while the College View would never encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol, maybe a few light drinks would spice up the competition a little.

Or even going back to our primary school roots and making garlands to hang around the house and on the tree from craft paper.

Ireland is out of Level 5 for now, but it’s still important to watch yourself and your mental health and find outlets, especially if you can’t even go outside.

Niamh Quinlan

Image Credit: Tim Arterbury on Unsplash

Note: This article was reuploaded on 26/03/2021 due to a fault with The College View website.