As the calendar turns to spring, many people are looking forward to sunnier skies. Between cold, snowy days, political turmoil, and concerns about the coronavirus, it was a long winter indeed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the pandemic in particular has had a major impact on all of our lives. It has increased stress and anxiety resulting in reduced overall well-being.
If you are looking for a few ways to boost your mood, we have some ideas for you to explore. Each is based on research that shows creativity can spark joy and lift the spirit.
Finding Joy During Challenging Times
Researchers call it positive affect or PA. It’s the feeling that comes when you look and feel happier. Studies show people experience higher levels of PA on days following greater creative engagement.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be Monet or Beethoven to reap the benefits associated with engaging in the arts. It’s the very act of creating that seems to trigger happiness.
If you aren’t someone who regularly explores your creative side or if you are looking for new ways to spark joy, we have a few suggestions for you to try:
- Take up stargazing: This doesn’t require you to invest in pricey telescopes. It’s a creative outlet you can learn about for free. It starts by learning the night sky. Sky & Telescope’s Interactive Sky Tool allows you to enter your zip code, along with the day and time. It will chart the skies above you in all directions. This starter guide to astronomy (Northern Hemisphere Version) is another great resource to help you learn more.
- Be a friend to butterflies: Even if your outdoor space is limited, you can create a space for attracting butterflies. In a sunny corner of your yard or patio, dedicate some space for plants and water for butterflies. They are attracted to smaller flowers, especially milkweed. To protect the caterpillars that eventually become butterflies from predators, make sure to keep birdbaths and birdfeeders away. Finally, create puddling spots for butterflies to drink. Sink a bowl or bucket in the yard, and fill it with sand. Wet the sand down every day. Invest in a butterfly book, such as Stokes Butterfly Book or The Little Guide to Butterflies, to help you identify the different types that visit your yard.
- Create your own bouquets: Having fresh flowers in your home is another mood booster. It doesn’t have to be anything more expensive than a bouquet picked up at the grocery store. If you invest in a few vases and containers, the opportunities for creating your own unique looks are endless. There are a variety of videos on YouTube that show you how to arrange grocery store flowers in your home. If you prefer a more structured learning opportunity, sites like Alice’s Table offer virtual floral arranging events. They even ship the flowers directly to your door!
- Build a charcuterie board: A popular trend in recent years is the charcuterie board. It’s a great option when you are entertaining friends and family because it can be as simple or as complicated as you choose. You can stick with fruits and vegetables or meats and cheeses on your platter. Other options include dessert boards, breakfast foods, or children’s favorite treats. How to Build a Simple Charcuterie has some good ideas to help you get started.
- Become a rock star: Music is another activity that has therapeutic benefits. It can calm, excite, and reconnect. The act of learning how to play an instrument also promotes better cognitive health. If you are new to music, consider taking a class to learn how to play guitar or the piano. For those who aren’t comfortable going to public spaces yet, there are virtual classes to join.
Live With Purpose™ at Sunrise
At Sunrise, we know how important it is for residents to have daily opportunities to engage in the arts. You’ll find activities that range from gardening to painting. Learn more about our Live With™ Purpose programs and how we make every day a creative adventure at Sunrise!