Art Therapy – an effective way to deal with the coronavirus lockdown

Art Therapy – an effective way to deal with the coronavirus lockdown

And while we have a lot of options panned out, art has timelessly been an exceptionally beneficial hobby known for its therapeutic benefits.

The global health crisis has forced us all to stay indoors and look inwards for self-development. A lot of people have now found time to pursue, their otherwise side-lined hobbies. Some indulge in cooking, while some invest their time in home development. And while we have a lot of options panned out, art has timelessly been an exceptionally beneficial hobby known for its therapeutic benefits. 

But the importance of art isn’t newly found. Therapists all around the world promote art therapy as a means to relieve pent-up anger, stress and other emotions. The creative world has also dedicated today’s day in the honour of art, calling it Creativity and Innovation day. Be it drawing, painting or sketching – it is in these testing times that we realise the significance of art in helping us deal with the anxiety and frustration caused by the uncertainty. 

Tanushree Baikar-Talekar, a clinical psychologist and physiotherapist with Masina Hospital, Byculla, explains to us the essence of art therapy and how it can help us in dealing with the lockdown.

“Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses creative art as a therapy medium. It is a means of communication, that lets people express and explore their emotions and thoughts, through a creative medium. It helps foster self-awareness, self-esteem, cultivate emotional resilience and enhances social skills. It also helps reduce and resolve conflicts,” says Tanushree. 

Explaining how a lockdown affects us, she says, “People in lockdown or isolation are at risk of developing depression or increased anxiety. Art therapy can make them feel more in control of their lives, giving them a sense of freedom. The therapy uses the creative part of our brain, that also manages stress. It helps restore a sense of personal identity. It helps in distracting people and induces healthy thoughts. In a way, it is a way for people to express their emotions without any verbal communication.”

Art, a saviour in these times
With endless benefits, art is almost a saviour during this pandemic. As also seen on various social media platforms, people have been resorting to drawing and sketching to make good use of this forced break in our regular lives. 

Nineteen-year-old Shriya Phadnis is a second-year Microbiology student of Ruia College Mumbai, believes drawing has helped her relax and use time more productively.

“Time constraints have always kept me from drawing. But on ever since the national lockdown was announced, I decided to start drawing with the message of Go Corona. Eventually, I started depicting various thoughts through my drawings. It has not only helped me relax but has helped me use this time productively. I am more than willing to continue even after we resume our normal lives, as I have found my way to destress,” says Shriya.

For Fatema, art started off as a means to kill time. Eventually, they found companionship in each other, and now it’s a hobby she truly enjoys. Fatema Lakdawala 25, a production trainee at Essel Vision Productions shares, “I think the last time I painted was back in school, and that was out of sheer boredom. Now I realise I enjoy it more than anything, and surprisingly a lot of people appreciated it. It is also really helping me right now, and I want to get better at it. I will also continue to paint after the lockdown.” 

For some, growing up meant social distancing from their painting pursuits. The lockdown, however, has made Madhur Joshi find her long-lost love. 

“It was only during the lockdown that I could revisit my hobby. I realised how much I loved doing it, and it is a huge stress buster. I am glued to my canvas in my house without worrying about anything,” says the 29-year-old Cipla employee.

Art isn’t generation-centric. For the 59-year-old Meena Gadekar, she has always found her muse in art. Before the lockdown, drawing for the Thane-based homemaker was an occasional luxury. But now, it has become a priority. 

“Art always brings me joy. It is my time that I used to do things that make me happy. My afternoons are reserved for drawing and destressing. I will also continue to take classes after the lockdown lifts. It helps me take my mind off other things and create something new every day,” says Meena.

No matter how young or old, embracing the creative side is helping people make it through these enduring times. With the world battling the virus, it is in our own hands to maintain a healthy mind and body and remain positive. 

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