[Photos] Mindful Art at the Beach

Do you struggle to pay attention to the present moment?

Does your mind wander when you’re at a mindfulness class?

Are you avoiding indoor public places because of Covid-19 risks?

Outdoor mindfulness could be the answer you are looking for!

Before March 2020 we were comfortable running our mindful art groups in cosy pubs, cafes and community venues around Plympton and Plymouth. However, after lockdown restrictions were eased this summer, we started running small outdoor groups, and discovered this adds an extra dimension of fun to mindful art club.

A review of scientific research has indicated that the mental and physical benefits of practicing mindfulness in nature may be considerable. (Mindful.org March 2020)

You won’t be surprised to learn that being in nature boosts our health and well-being, and that combining the outdoors with mindfulness can lead to even better results.

As the Autumn weather approaches we are going to have to take our regular groups indoors, bearing in mind Covid-19 safety guidance, such as social distancing and limits on numbers. But keep an eye on our Facebook page because if the weather forecast is good, we may be able to take some spontaneous trips outside, like this small group we held on Wembury beach recently.

Don’t miss our next event. Follow our Facebook page and join our Facebook group.

How Art Can Help You Cope

Even a small amount of creativity can help you to cope with modern life, according to recent research by BBC Arts and UCL. In the largest study of its kind, with almost 50,000 people taking part, the research explored for the first time how creative activities can help us manage our mood and boost wellbeing. (Creativity Can Help You Cope – BBC, accessed 10/08/20)

The Evidence

A Health Evidence Network (HEN) synthesis report on arts and health references over 900 publications, including 200 reviews, covering over 3000 further studies.

Arts interventions, such as singing in a choir to improve chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are considered non-invasive, low-risk treatment options and are increasingly being used by Member States to supplement more traditional biomedical treatments.

The Health Evidence Network synthesis report

What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being?

In July 2017 the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing published a report of their two-year inquiry into the role of the arts in health and wellbeing.

It found that the arts can keep us well, help us recover, and help to meet some of the major challenges currently facing health and social care. Therefore the arts can help to save money in the health service and social care services. You can read the short report here:

Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing

But How Do We Know That Mindful Art Club Works?

People who come to Mindful Art Club feel more supported, experience empathy, feel mentally calmer and more peaceful; they make new social connections and feel happier and more confident. They also learn to use mindfulness as a self-help tool, and learn to use art as a self-care activity.

We know these things because we get verbal feedback during the “check out” at the end of each session, and occasionally we ask our clients to complete written feedback forms. These simple questionnaires measure the client’s perception of their difficulties, including mental health, physical health, loneliness, self-esteem, and experience of art and mindfulness. We also gather some qualitative evidence, in the form of individual case studies.

Find out more by coming to an online group, or a community group in Plymouth. The online groups are free.

New: One Day Retreats

We have started to host small, socially distanced, outdoor retreats. Join us for a day of laughter, conversation, mindfulness and art, surrounded by the peacefulness of nature. If you enjoy our weekly mindful art groups you will love our full day of relaxing activities.

  • Guided mindfulness with Emma
  • Qi Gong with Lee
  • Simple art activities with Peggy
  • Nature walk with everyone!
  • Lunch, tea, coffee and cake included

Read more: Mindful Art Retreats

Mindful Drawing in 5 Minutes

Want to feel happier, calmer and more socially connected?

Do you find meditation difficult?

Do you feel like you are no good at drawing?

Our mindful drawing video is the solution you are looking for!

Grab a pen and join in with us as we try mindful drawing for five minutes.

Now we’d like to hear from you. Did you try mindful drawing? What did you notice? Leave us a comment below.

Windows of the Souls

Want to be a part of a collaborative art piece, that records our time in lockdown?

Want to feel more connected and together, even though we are separate?

Do you enjoy doodling, but fear that you have no talent?

Just draw yourself looking out of the window!

There is no artistic ability required for this project. You just have to be willing to join in and have fun. You will need a piece of plain A4 paper, and whatever you like to draw or paint with. Send us a message through our contact page, or send us a photograph of your drawing through our Facebook page.

YOU Can Be a Part of This Community Art Project

Want to be a part of a collaborative art piece, that records our time in lockdown?

Want to feel more connected and together, even though we are separate?

Do you enjoy doodling, but fear that you have no talent?

This group project is for you!

There is no artistic ability required for this project. You just have to be willing to join in and have fun. You will need a piece of plain A4 paper, and whatever you like to draw or paint with.

Let’s feel more connected, and draw something for fun, without judgement! This project aims to represent the feeling that we are all isolated together.

Watch now, to find out how to join in and what you need to draw.

Now: View Art Club On Demand

Are you feeling anxious?

Are you socially isolated?

Missed the online art club?

No problem. Catch up with the video replay, and join in by commenting in real time. Enjoy a short mindful meditation and an easy art project. Grab a coffee or tea, and try some creativity with Emma and Peggy.

Watch Now: Art Group Catch-Up TV.

We are running Mindful Art Club as an online live Facebook event, twice a week on Mondays at 10am and Wednesdays at 10am, while the UK is in lockdown due to the Corona Virus. There is also a private group on Fridays for people in recovery from addiction.

To join in with a live group:

  • Visit our Facebook page at 10.00 am on Monday or Wednesday
  • You will need a pen, felt tips, some paper and a cup of tea or coffee
  • Watch our live Facebook video and join in with the group by typing your comments below the video
  • Optional: Join in with the video chat using Zoom, free video conferencing software.

As always with Mindful Art Club, there is no talent required. Just a willingness to have a go and have fun. We look forward to seeing you at the next online live group.

Why is Staff Well-Being so Important?

Would you like to try mindfulness in your workplace?

Want your staff to feel valued and listened to?

Want to increase staff productivity and reduce sick leave?

It sounds like you are ready to invest in a staff wellbeing event!

Mental health difficulties are the biggest cause of sickness absence in this country (Health and Sickness Executive, 2018). So poor mental health costs employers money. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems.  But major changes or challenges in life, such as bereavement, relationship problems, having a baby, debt or a workplace restructure may also affect mental health.

On Wednesday 11th March we visited Plymouth Job Centre Plus in Exeter Street, to offer a mindful art club session to the work-coaches, and other members of staff, as part of their wellbeing day.

We started with a brief chat about how everyone was feeling. They were actually feeling quite good, as they had been attending different staff wellbeing sessions all day. We then did a five minute mindfulness meditation, some mindful drawing and then made some collages. The mindful drawing exercise is simply making simple marks on paper with your eyes closed. This eliminates any self-judgement or need to make an image that is “good”. Then we can focus on the feeling of drawing, which quickly produces quite a relaxing sensation. In mindfulness this is called “being in the flow”.

While making collages, staff were able to relax and chat to colleagues they might not have usually met. We received feedback that everyone enjoyed the session and the work coaches were keen to recommend our community drop-in sessions to their job centre clients.

It is every employer’s responsibility to provide a workplace where people experiencing mental health difficulties, major life events or juggling caring responsibilities can talk openly without fear of stigma.

If you would like to offer a mindful art session to your staff, colleagues or service users contact us now to find out more.