All of a sudden, that well-worn phrase in social media circles, "gone viral," has taken on a whole new and frightening meaning. I refer, of course, to the new coronavirus, COVID19, which is now spreading across the United States at a rapid rate. It is an unprecedented time in our nation's history. A 'new normal' is becoming apparent as we adjust in our various states to comply with guidelines and orders to stay home. Truly, this is a time of intense difficulty, trouble or danger. This is a time of crisis.
A crisis is often interpreted to signify 'danger' or "opportunity." When I consider the resiliency and resourcefulness of art therapists in times of crisis, I am assured that we would resort to using this as an 'opportunity' to create in many ways to cope, to find peace, to navigate through what seems so chaotic. While we may not be able to create as we have before in face to face groups and communities, we can create virtually, mindfully, and strategically. Let's make sure we consistently attend to our needs and practice self-care. As we deal with transitions to protect ourselves by working at home and limiting contact with others, we need to take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally. We can't pour from an empty cup. I encourage everyone to 'fill your cup' in and or all of the following ways:
1. BREATHE slowly and deeply. Use your full lung capacity. We have to breathe anyway, so make it count. Deep breathing can engage your parasympathetic nervous system to lower stress hormones.
2. EXERCISE take a walk, do yoga, chair exercises, run, whatever makes you feel good.
3. MAKE A GRATITUDE LIST write down all the things, people you are grateful for.
4. GO OUTSIDE enjoy nature and the beauty that surrounds you, take in some fresh air, hug a tree, listen to the birds singing.
5. CATCH UP on tasks around the house, or that have been sitting around for a while, keep busy.
6. PRAY, meditate, and use other tools to build your faith and resilience.
7. KEEP IN TOUCH with one another by email or phone, video, reach out, share personal stories. Take this opportunity to 'go viral' creatively.
8. CREATE to themes on or colors of stress, fear, safety, change, hope, make a mandala, or complete a project that you've meant to get back to, keep an art journal or make an altered book; we know how beneficial this can be to help us adjust, heal, learn and discover.
9. EXPLORE the use of digital apps focused on relaxation and stress management; many that are available for free on your smartphone and can be additional resources for support.
While we navigate COVID19, ATCB will be utilizing social media, the website, email, and our blog, Credential Conversations, to share information but also to cope together. Also, I am excited to announce that back by popular demand is the ATCB Call for Art! We invite you to submit Original Artwork for ATCB to use in electronic and print media. The theme is The Healing Power of Art. For formatting purposes, photographic reproduction of the artwork must be square. Artists may submit more than one piece. Be sure to include your name, ATCB credential, or university program (if a student), a photograph of the artwork, the title of the piece and, medium.
Please submit your images to the ATCB's National Office at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30, 2020. By submitting your artwork, you are granting ATCB permission to use your artwork in electronic and print media, including but not limited to the ATCB website and blog, social media, print brochures, and applications; and promotional/marketing items. Entry submission denotes acceptance of these terms. We will credit each artist for their work.
We will navigate through this new season, moving forward to continue our mission. Know that the entire ATCB Board of Directors, the National Office, and the management team are here with you to provide support, guidance, and encouragement needed to take on this challenge. Please feel free to reach out to us. Also, please share ATCB's COVID 19 information page with your colleagues, as there are important updates and information regarding our credentials and examinations.
In the meantime, be safe, use wisdom. Take good care of yourself!