This COVID-19 season, many of us have been dealing with different stressors at work, school, home, or even in our relationships. With our 24 hours spread across various responsibilities, finding time to take care of our mental wellbeing might seem almost impossible, and before we know it, many of us might have found ourselves feeling exhausted or burnt out.
Talk therapy involves speaking with a trained professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. By facilitating an understanding of your internal state, talk therapy aims to improve your overall wellbeing by:
- Identifying unhelpful thoughts, negative feelings and unhealthy behaviours
- Understanding what led to these thought patterns
- Evaluating current coping mechanisms and their impacts on life outcomes
- Consider replacing current thoughts and behaviours with something more helpful
Adapting Principles of Talk Therapy into our Self-care Routine
If you experience trouble working out your thoughts in your mind, consider journaling down your thoughts. Writing has been proven to improve understanding of yourself, others and the world around you (Purcell, 2006). You could also talk things out with a trusted friend or family member.
That said, there are also many who struggle with putting their thoughts and emotions into words. Are there alternative methods?
Indeed, there are many alternative methods drawn from other forms of therapy that you can incorporate into your self-care routine.
Art therapy involves creating artworks using various mediums like drawing, painting, craft and sculpture. The session is guided by a certified art therapist, who is trained in helping clients understand and process their thoughts and feelings by:
- uncovering hidden trauma/revealing our internal states.
- helping us resolve deeper issues through understanding our art.
Adapting Principles of Art Therapy into our Self-care Routine
Art can be a medium in which you express yourself without words. When we find it difficult to verbalise the intensity of our emotions, the limitless form of art can perhaps better represent what you feel and express. We should note that this form of expression does not have to be limited to negative emotions. For instance, art can also be used to express your gratitude towards someone when you do not know how to put it in words. Consider creating an artwork for them — think about what you want to convey and what medium would best suit the theme.
In and of itself, the process of creating art has been shown by research to be beneficial in relieving stress as we find creative forms of expression and release in ways that are not limited to words. In addition, the process of reflection helps you work through and better understand the emotions and thoughts that you have.
The benefits of creating art can be enjoyed with our families, friends and loved ones as well. Creating art together and sharing your reflections with those you care about can help you further understand and work out your thoughts. This allows us to forge deeper bonds and connections, a key factor in boosting our sense of wellbeing.
Music therapy is another modality through which individuals process emotions and express themselves. It has been proven that engaging with music:
- improves moods through the release of endorphins
- alleviates stress by inducing feelings of calm
Adapting Principles of Music Therapy into our Self-care Routine
Sometimes, we find ourselves exhausted after a long day — maybe you met someone rude, or a train delay caused you to be late for an appointment and nothing seems to be going your way today. Yet, you’re unsure of how and where you can release your stress and emotions. In times like this, listening to songs that are relatable to your current experiences can make you feel better. Music helps to relieve some of the grievances we may have as the lyrics give us the words to vocalise our emotions. Furthermore, identifying with key sentiments and similar experiences in the songs makes us feel less alone.
Find Out What Works Best
Wong, C. (n.d.). What to know about music therapy. Verywell Mind. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from https://www.verywellmind.com/benefits-of-music-therapy-89829.
Odendaal, J. S. ., & Meintjes, R. . (2003). Neurophysiological Correlates of Affiliative Behaviour between Humans and Dogs. The Veterinary Journal, 165(3), 296–301. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1090-0233(02)00237-x
Purcell, M. (2006). The Health Benefits of Journaling. Psych Central. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/000721