Posts Tagged ‘self-care’

Gratitude Round-Up: Creativity, Resilience, & Well-being

November 23, 2017

I thought today would be a nice time to re-share some of my favorite archived blog posts about gratitude, creativity, resilience, and well-being. I enjoyed re-visiting these and I hope you will enjoy this round-up too:

These posts continue to guide me about the importance of having a gratitude practice and the role of creativity in helping support and express what we are thankful for– especially in times of uncertainty, stress, or conflict. Not just today or when times are tough, but beneficial for our well-being everyday.  A wonderful opportunity for us to activate daily creative practices with an attention to gratitude.  🙂

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Creative Action Link Round Up: Self-Care, Responsibility, Community

August 20, 2017

 Social media is a powerful tool for self expression and engagement of all kinds…giving a voice for many and often a way to cast attention, influence, and respond to causes, values, and efforts we hold dear or reject.

Below are some links I have been reading, saving, and sharing from and on social media recently. Most are rooted in self-care, individual influence and responsibility, and creative community action through the arts. Many offer ways we can effectively activate resources, ideas, and our gifts both on and offline with others (and ourselves) as artists, creatives, mental health professionals, helpers, and human beings.

Self-Care:

Influence:

The Arts, Social Action, and Community Response:

Related Links:

Creative Resilience Link Round Up

20 Creative Quotes on Courage, Hope, & Possibility

Mission Statement Crafting

August 5, 2017

Recently I attended a retreat where part of the day introduced a closer look at the meaning behind mission statements. A mission statement offers intention and guidance towards ones goals and potential, often empowered by important values and beliefs.  A common practice in organizations and companies is to have a mission statement that helps define and offer focus about what the organization does, its purpose, and values.

Also introduced as a component of self-care during this retreat, mission statements can also be created as a personal declaration that helps define meaning, intentional living, and our own values that guide and empower our work, life, and goals.  It also helps strengthen resilience and compassion satisfaction, especially important for combatting compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization, and burnout. After reflecting on this practice more, I was inspired to create a mission statement collage to explore this idea deeper.

Before crafting the collage I used a provided template inspired by the work of Covey, Merrill, & Merrill (1997) that offered a series of “it is my mission to” prompts. I also discovered there are a lot of mission statement generators and builders online if you want additional help!

Creating this collage also will serve as a visual reminder to continue reflect on and refine.

It is my mission to

Live mindfully with intention and courage

Work creatively to help others

Continue growing and learning

Love unconditionally

Be grateful, calm, and present

Become open to what unfolds

Believe in humanity and the greater good

Promote hope and possibility

Strive for grace and presence

Seek understanding with integrity

Make & Do Show & Tell

February 20, 2017

I wanted to offer a quick show & tell of some images from my Make & Do 365 journal.

I have found that this daily creative practice has taken on a new level for activating self-care and creating an opportunity of creative refuge. I’ve worked my way through filling the journal’s pages for plans and wishes… and currently finishing pages dedicated to the section on dreams. I use the valuable creative time I have committed to this journal and to myself as a way to connect to a sense of mindfulness, hope, and peace of mind – a process and act that I continue to have much gratitude for and hold sacred.

Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion

img_9029 Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion

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3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop

June 14, 2016

I had a great time at Lani Gerity‘s workshop this past week-end at the Mid Atlantic Play Therapy Institute: Visual Art Journaling for Teens and Adults in Treatment: Creative, Messy, and Contained.

creativity in motion

The day was an artful exploration of resilience building, flourishing, intention setting, strength reflection, and lots of creative goodness to fill our handmade art journals that we made from hanging file folders, basic manila file folders for the signature pages inside, and a simple pamphlet stitch to bind it all together.

3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop | creativity in motion

I really enjoyed using the various supplies I brought in my mobile art stash– as well as sharing them with my tablemates so they could experiment with them in different ways. It was very inspiring to work in this community. We even did a table exchange of mini art in the form of artist trading cards, index cards, and craft tags to honor the concept of art as a gift, one of Lani’s prompts to explore practicing kindness and sharing joy with others through our art.  I was lucky to be gifted this art from Mary during our table exchange:

creativity in motion

Art as a Gift

 Upon returning home, as I was unpacking my supplies, handouts, and art from the workshop, I reflected on Lani’s teachings from the day prior and the power of art making to help us cope in distressing and challenging times.

This reflection also prompted me to summarize a list of 3 good things (so many to choose from!) from content introduced during the workshop- and ways to help instill hope, gratitude, and self-care into our lives:

  • Three Blessings Exercise– Dr. Martin Seligman suggests this practice as a way to foster well-being and decrease depression.  This exercise encourages us to make note of three things (for one week) what went well throughout our day and to reflect on why they went well (i.e. “why did this happen?”). According to the research of Dr. Seligman, focusing (and dwelling) on our blessings (what is good, going right with life) helps increase our well-being and decreases anxiety, depression that dwelling on bad events can actually make a lot worse. Lani puts an art-based spin to this exercise by suggesting to create art about three good things (collectively in one image or in separate images).  In one of Lani’s Happy Artist’s Life Workshops a few years ago for 6 Degrees of Creativity I even made a Pinterest board to collect images and content inspired by things that made me happy.  Re-visiting this board made me thankful that I created it— and maybe it is a good time to start adding to it again.
  • Daily Creative Practice– Citing the work and practice of art therapy pioneer Edith Kramer, Lani shared that creating art everyday helps guide skillfulness (mastery). This type of practice has a direct connection to nurturing our resilience, regulation, and inspiring us to be and do the best that we can.  I love that this reminder was included as part of the day’s offerings- and very much agree with these findings!
  • Sensory Relief Art- This prompt (originally to create an image representing a mini vacation and to incorporate the senses) inspired a collage that was connected to the importance of self-care, focusing on the here & now, and finding refuge & breathe in this space. I used a photograph of an old collage I created, pieces of torn (blue) magazine pages, distressed ink, and paint pens. Lots of relief in this image!
3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop | creativity in motion

Self-Care © 2016 gretchen miller

Thanks to the Lani, all the participants I met at the workshop, and the small group of fellow art journalers that I worked with throughout the day.  I look forward to incorporating content we learned into my groupwork and adding it to my art journaling ideas and inspiration.

Related Posts:

Happy Artist’s Life Art Journaling (VIDEO)

The Art of Emotional Resilience

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways and Creative Offerings

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Create Fest: The 1st Annual Virtual Creativity Festival for Mental Health Professionals

February 8, 2016

Check this out! Create Fest — The 1st Annual Virtual Creativity Festival for Mental Health Professionals!

I am soooo excited to be a part of this offering!

Lisa Michell and Courtney Armstrong have brought together 12 influential therapists, and asked each to offer inspired approaches that will help you partner with your creativity to do your best work and elicit deep transformation within your clients (and yourself).

CreateFest | creativity in motionDiscover new, creative ideas and earn 12 CEU’s from the comfort of your own home or office and… each speaker will lead an inspiring activity you can do during the festival to experience these transformational strategies yourself!

I am speaking about topics related to self-care, trauma focused work, and creativity’s role in supporting mental health professionals. It was a pleasure to speak with Lisa about these topics–  It’s an honor to be included in the debut of this event with such an inspiring line up with so much to offer…

If it seems like this offering would fit related to your work, I hope you’ll join us later this month!  🙂

Learn all about the offerings and speakers for this event here!

Moments of Creative Breath: Creative Deed 365- September & October Offerings

November 1, 2015

It’s been a super active last couple of months during my Creative Deed making, so I am catching up on sharing my offerings here for the months of September and October!

Creative Deed 365 | creativity in motion

In moments of long days & busy scheduling; having a moment everyday to stop & create truly fosters a sense of centering and opportunity to catch & regulate my creative breath.  It’s times like these that this daily creative practice is important more than ever.  It’s also a valuable reminder how essential it is to have this commitment part of my day and self care. I breathe in stillness & grounding. I exhale the possibility each deed released into the world could offer to another.

Creative Deed 365 | creativity in motion

Creative Deed 254 discovered on September 11

So here are the offerings I’ve made over the last 2 months with these quick videos from Flipagram (click on the image to view!)… These little videos are so much fun to create!

Creative Deed 365: September Offerings

Creative Deed 365: October Offerings

I also recommend these great reads to advocate for the role of creativity in self-care:

The Creative Life and Well Being- The Creativity Post

Are you missing out on an essential ingredient? – Kind Over Matter

Happy November and Art On!

 

 

 

Values, Virtues & Vision: Creative Exploration into Covenant Caregiving Continues

October 23, 2014

I’ve slowly been working on the altered book I started for exploring the theme of covenant based care giving.  Here are some work in progress photos:

Values, Virtues & Vision: Creative Exploration into Covenant Caregiving Continues | creativity in motion

Values, Virtues & Vision: Creative Exploration into Covenant Caregiving Continues | creativity in motion

Values, Virtues & Vision: Creative Exploration into Covenant Caregiving Continues | creativity in motion

Values, Virtues & Vision: Creative Exploration into Covenant Caregiving Continues | creativity in motion

Values, Virtues & Vision: Creative Exploration into Covenant Caregiving Continues | creativity in motion

I’ve been using a lot of acrylic paint on the raw surface of the chipboard page that I’ve stripped of its glossy coating and its former life of a children’s board book. Over the dried acrylic paint I’ve also been using some white colored pencil.  It’s been a super liberating process.

Each of these beginning pages are forming a visual pledge connected to my professional and creative work… to instill, engage with, and honor.

Live creatively.

Continue the journey.

Believe in art.

Be resilient.

*******

Related Posts:

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways & Creative Offerings

Exploring Covenant Based Caregiving with a Creative Twist

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Vulnerability

 

 

 

twenty14 on the go :: autumn offerings & happenings

September 15, 2014

“….autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together…” ~ Edwin Way Teale, Autumn Across America

Fall is quickly approaching, which means lots of art therapy and related offerings & activity happening– Yay!

The kick off for me starts this week with attending Ohio’s 33rd Annual BATA Symposium in Columbus, Implications of Research in Art Therapy Practice. I am looking forward to these couple of days to be inspired, meet up with art therapy colleagues & friends, as well as make some art!  Throughout the next couple of months I am also excited to be guest lecturing for undergraduate and graduate art therapy courses, facilitating a local art gathering dedicated to self care & emotional resiliency, and teaching again for the Expressive Therapies Summit in New York City, and at Ursuline College:

twenty14 on the go | autumn offerings & happenings | creativity in motion

Tokens of Strength & Affirmation: Artist Challenge Coins (ACCs)

September 19-20: 2014 Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA) Symposium, Columbus, Ohio- Laurel Larson, MPS, ATR and me will be offering the workshop “Tokens of Strength & Affirmation: Artist Challenge Coins (ACCs)” as part of this year’s BATA Symposium program on Friday afternoon. Used in the military, a Challenge Coin is a medallion symbolizing achievement, membership, or recognition, as well as given to increase morale and community among belonging members. In the spirit of Challenge Coins, participants will learn how to use Artist Challenge Coins (ACCs) as tokens of affirmation, strength, and recovery. Participants will engage in making their own ACC with mixed media, as well as create an ACC to exchange with other participants.

September 24: Guest lecturing at Ursuline College’s Master of Arts in Art Therapy & Counseling Program about the inspiration of Dr. Bruce Perry in relationship to art therapy & trauma as part of Dr. Amy Jacob’s Psychopathology course.

October 3: Guest lecturing at Ursuline College’s Master of Arts in Art Therapy & Counseling Program as part of Sr. Kathleen Burke, PhD’s Arts and Social Justice intensive course.

twenty14 on the go | autumn offerings & happenings| creativity in motion

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: An Evening of Art Making for Helping Professionals

October 15: Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: An Evening of Art Making for Helping Professionals, Cleveland, Ohio- Explore & strengthen emotional resilience through art-making and creative practice within this small and artful gathering of helping professionals. This evening of art-making will focus on creating a mini, mobile accordion matchbox art journal that can serve as a tangible reminder of support, strength, & the importance of self-care for the work we do in service & care of others. For more information and to register, visit this link.

October 20 & 21: Remote lecture for undergraduate psychology students at the University of Cincinnati, Clermont College focusing on the topic of using art in trauma intervention.

November 6-9: 5th Annual Expressive Therapies Summit, New York City- On November 6, Mindy Jacobson-Levy, MCAT, ATR-BC, LPC, DVATA HLM and me will be teaching the Master Class Destruction & Transformation in Art & Therapy: Re-Framing, Re-Forming, Re-Claiming at this year’s ET Summit. Participants in this all day offering will explore key concepts surrounding the therapeutic role of creative destruction and the reparation of images that fosters the fertile ground for self-repair and personal growth. A self-directed journey will commence as we discover how art making affects each of us; this enhanced by group discussion. Case material will be presented as a bridge to our work with various client populations.

Throughout this semester I am also teaching Art Therapy Studio I again, a core course for Ursuline College’s Art Therapy & Counseling Program to explore creativity, self expression, and lots of studio, art-making time.  In addition to personal art making and creating a portfolio of work throughout the semester, students will also learn how to create digistories and use the medium of digital storytelling to share narratives about their artist identity.

This fall I also have some new supervision times available for art therapists seeking the Art Therapist Registration (ATR) credential, whether you are local to or outside NE Ohio.  Skype supervision sessions are available for art therapists living outside NE Ohio and abroad.  Check out this link for more information and how to connect with me if you might be interested.

As always during this busy and inspiring time of year, I hope that there might be a place or opportunity above or between for us to connect and meet up off the grid!  ❤

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways & Creative Offerings

June 5, 2014
Journey to Resilence: Takeaways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

3×5 365 day 154 takeaways : journey to resilience

This week was our annual staff retreat and this year the day was completely dedicated to the impact of trauma exposure, self-care strategies, and resiliency.  The retreat’s main speaker was Cynthia Vrabel, MD, who is the Medical Director of FrontLine Service here in Cleveland. Dr. Vrabel’s work includes an interest in research and program development to address the issue of secondary traumatic stress in clinicians and first responders.

I found the content presented throughout the day really spoke to the realities, challenges, & struggles of trauma work and exposure related to compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout, as well as provided nurturing and encouraging staff self-care strategies and takeaways to implement and build upon as individuals, within programming, and agency wide. It was re-energizing to spend the day receiving Dr. Vrabel’s teachings and reminders rooted in the work of Dr. Bruce Perry, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, Brene Brown, and many others who offer support & inspiration related to trauma focused work.

There were countless takeaways from the day, but my top 3 were these:

  • Create a Transition Zone: A space, ritual or practice that supports us to create a healthier boundary and balance between our personal life and work. In the same spirit, this idea reminded me to re-visit the article, 10 Easy Steps to Creating a Peaceful Home Retreat published by the Joyful Heart Foundation‘s Reunion Magazine (Issue 2).  This resource provides many sensory based suggestions that can help cultivate routines and areas within the space we live to shift into a place of calmness, peace, and relaxation.  Using symbolic objects, scents, music, journaling, creative expression, & more are all offered as options to integrate this into self care practice.
  • Covenant Based Caregiving: A covenant can be defined as “a written agreement or promise…especially for the performance of some action.” What are your covenants, values, or intentions related to bringing your “best self” to your life, work and service….to not only others, but to yourself as well? We were given a worksheet created by Dr. Vrabel to explore discovering our own covenants that I thought could easily be explored in visual form as well (I thought about making a collage or book!).  What are your own values and promises to yourself that you can make about living, working, loving, being, becoming, believing, promoting, striving, and seeking that support covenant caregiving vs. “on demand” caregiving?
  • Compassion Satisfaction: Compassion satisfaction is the enjoyment created from being able to help other people. It is the opposite of Compassion Fatigue (the emotional and physical exhaustion of caring for others) or Vicarious Trauma (becoming traumatized ourselves as a result of being exposed to stories and images of suffering).  I am always interested in learning more about concepts connected to Post Traumatic Growth and how very stressful or traumatic situations can transform into positive and life affirming experiences. Compassion Satisfaction supports this experience for the helper or caregiver, which I love!  Check out this resource: Transforming Compassion Fatigue into Compassion Satisfaction – 12 Top Self Care Tips for more ideas and suggestions.

In addition to the cognitive learning throughout the day, there was also dedicated time to mind/body & sensory based activities to support and explore self-care themes.  Part of the morning included engaging in stretching, movement, & deep breathing and during some of the afternoon I was able to introduce and lead everyone in an art experience focused on art journaling as a tool for nurturing emotional resilience.

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

Nurturing Emotional Resilience through Art Journaling

 Everyone created paper bag art journals (check out this past post on how to make one!) as a tangible reminder of our supports, strengths, positive affirmations, and comfort.  Each person also received an Artist Trading Card as an invitation to create an anchoring image that reflected a sense of peace and relaxation inspiration.  A variety of creative goodness was offered for materials such as acrylic paint, pastels, Sharpies, gel pens, printed paper of various colors and bright designs, tissue paper, as well as journaling cards & Smash pad paper.  I also invited people to bring their own favorite quotes, sayings, images and inspiration related to resiliency, affirmation, and self-care.

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

It was great to see the room buzz with book making and art journaling energy infused with both written and visual positive messages.  The group was encouraged to continue working on their handmade journal and ATC post retreat and to also incorporate its presence into a work space where it could be of help or support in times of need or support.

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

In relationship to this post’s topic, next month at the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly, I’ll be presenting another workshop about Art Journaling’s Visual Voice in Trauma Intervention.  This hands-on workshop will explore the use of art journaling as a safe, contained space for processing emotional expression, promoting self-care, and sharing one’s personal narrative and intentions. Content will include themes and the benefits of art journaling as a visual voice and means of trauma intervention with youth and women survivors of trauma. Participants will also engage in creating their own mini art journal with mixed media to identify and support their own professional self-care practices and intentions related to working with trauma & loss issues.  Registration for this year’s Assembly is still open if you’re interested in attending!

It was so wonderful to have a day to come together to honor self-care and the impact trauma work can have on our wellbeing, as well as learn and practice ways to manage, balance, and cultivate what supports our best self – at work, home, and in our relationships. Very grateful!

Related Resources:

The Art of Emotional Resilience

Top Ten Takeaways : PEP Symposium Dr. Bruce Perry in Cleveland

Trauma Stewardship, Gratitude, and Wordle Making

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