Another lockdown? Here are 5 arts-based ideas with resources for all ages and abilities..
Updated: Sep 11
Oh dear. Just as we thought things were getting back to some sort of normality, as of Monday 14th September we enter into another half lock down. Just as schools open, people are booking winter holidays to the sunshine and my friends and I were even invited to our first outdoor, unrestricted gig on Friday night.
This partial lockdown is already about to affect our social lives and they way we live life normally, which as we already know has been shattered into many pieces this year already. But as we enter the second half of the year, it dawned on me yesterday as I was trying to rustle up business that this lockdown stuff isn't going away any time soon. And if we're not careful, we are only headed in one direction, which includes more fatalities, more restrictions, and many heartachingly long weeks without vulnerable family members who we love so much. But also, it means changing the way we work. We can't continue to wait for all this to be over before we support members of our community who normally access colourful and self expressive elements like the arts.
The arts are the most valuable asset we own. Our self expression is the spectrum of emotions which we feel every day and without this expression through music, drawing, dancing, writing, role playing and acting - interacting - we would internalise these feelings and be stuck in bubbles most people know well after that first long and arduous lockdown. People may have endured lockdown and got back to nature in March. Spring is a very wonderful time to have time off from life. Winter, however, is a very different season.
This calls for creatives, therapists, healthcare workers and educators to think about how best to interact with students, patients, clients, participants, audiences and service users over the coming months. This calls for initiative, a realisation that the norm is no longer the norm and the biggest, most crushing fact - no one has as much money to spend on these services as we focus in on life necessities. After all, so many people have lost jobs and changed their life focus. What is this going to mean for all these people about to embark on a short-term government backed pay cut and who is going to pay for all of this later? I think we know the answer for that, but for now I want to think about how we can change the way we do things to support our health so the only deficit we will need to think about is a financial one, not a huge crater of mental health too.
I think looking after mental health is actually incredibly important. It's easy to say those words and point people in the direction of talking therapies. But what does looking after your mental health actually mean and how can you take control of this if we go into a more severe lockdown over the coming months?
Photo curtesy of Headspace
Here are 5 ideas with resources which can help to beat that lockdown blues..
Explore music making apps
There are hundreds of music making apps out there. There are so many that it's easy to get lost and forget what you were actually intending to do in the first place. The thing most wonderful about music apps is that it suits every person individually. Ever wanted to learn the piano? Fancied yourself as a drummer? Always wanted to arrange your poems into a song? Ever wanted to just make a song from the thoughts in your head? Wanted to practice singing techniques so you improve on your vocal quality and pitch? Ever wanted to just make loads of sounds and explore what music you can make on a range of instruments to your favourite music?
There are music apps for just about everything. Below are a few of my favourites to get you started. These can be used with children as an accessible and educational expressive toy, with adolescents as a way of expressing emotions, with people who use alternate ways of communicating as an expressive tool and for those who fancy themselves as a bit of a musician and want to delve deeper into the world of music.
Garageband - available on most apple devices - Great for all ages
Keezy and Keezy drummer - Hours of fun - Great for kids
Jam looper - Looping fun - Great for all ages
Remixlive - Make music and beats using loops - Great for kids
Musescore - Sheet music - Great for learning
Tabs - Learning to play songs on guitar, piano and ukulele.
Tenuto - Music theory - Great for getting your head around the deeper stuff
TONALY - Songwriting using the circle of 5ths - Good for exploring songwriting
Online yoga is glorious. You don't need to leave your house. You can leave your socks on. Whatever goes. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice originating in India which combines breath control, simple meditation and body postures. If you haven't seen it already, then you must have taken lock down pretty seriously! Whether you hate the thought of it, have done it a million times or wherever you sit in between, here are some fresh ideas for all ages which might inspire a morning salutation as we step into autumn.
Sun Salutations & Yoga with Animals - Yoga for Little kids - Young kids.
Back to School: Yoga Club - Cosmic Kids Yoga - Yoga for young people - all abilities.
Do Yoga With Me - Free online yoga lessons - all abilities, ages and levels.
Wheelchair Yoga - Gentle Chair Yoga Routine - Yoga With Adriene
Adapted yoga (online) course for people with disabilities - training for yoga teachers
Listen to music and put pen to paper
This seems like a simple one, but listening to music and putting a pen to paper in a mindful way can be very cathartic. If you do both at the same time, all sorts of inspiration comes out! You might choose to draw to classical, paint landscapes to jazz, write to instrumental electronic music, paint dot pictures to funk. Whatever you choose to do can help to echo how you feel at that moment and can be a great way to connect with your inner thoughts and emotions. Feeling a little bit stressed or unmotivated? Give it a try!
Take a mindful moment
Mindfulness can be as light or as deep as you want to take it. The basic idea is to notice sounds around you and senses you might feel on your skin or in your body and let them exist in the moment and as that movement moves into the next, you also move with it, noticing and accepting what you feel. Mindfulness is really good for anxiety, stress and for sleep.
Here are some brilliant resources to get you started on your mindfulness journey. For a range of ages and all abilities.
Cosmic Kids Zen Den - Mindfulness for Kids
Meditations for Kids - 4+
Calm - 7+ and adults
Headspace - 8+
Aura - 8+
Stop, Breathe, Think - 8+
Connect with a professional
If you, or someone you know needs more assistance and motivation, please get in touch on the contact page on this website. There is always something you can do to improve your ongoing health and to keep you mentally, physically and spiritually active, but if you're really not feeling it then the best thing to do is to connect. Connect with others and connect with professionals who are also trying to navigate this minefield and can help you through these tough times we are facing.