do it. create. walk and see. cut and paste. scratch and sniff.
do whatever you have to do to feed your soul.
this is my commitment.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

the benefits of art making for your team or staff



Yesterday, I felt fortunate to facilitate a team building/ staff development day for a local institution. It just so happens that this particular group of people have a large dose of one thing in common: crisis management.

I opened up our time together by starting a discussion of different ways each individual cares for themselves when not at their workplace.  Even though this particular staff knew what the "right" answers were to this question, there is always the topic of time and logistics.  When they leave their workplace, it's off to the grocery store, time to pick up the children, create stability in my home so that the next day can go as planned, etc. etc. (you know the drill).  In other words, there is no time (unless we consciously take it) to allow the adrenalin to find it's equilibrium once again.

I discussed the positive and negative effects of adrenalin on our physical (as well as emotional) bodies.  We all need adrenalin.  It gives us that extra boost when needing to get from point A to B.  Unfortunately, when our life's work involves highly stressful situations everyday, our adrenalin levels are less likely to find equilibrium (even after we leave our workplace).  This can naturally lead to anxiety, depression, sleep problems, memory loss, and digestive problems (just to mention a few).

There has also been a lot a research that emphasizes the importance of incorporating both hemispheres of our brain.  In our culture, using the left side of the brain is encouraged and expected. It hasn't been until recently where companies are learning that it is just as important to give their employees opportunities to engage the right side of the brain as well.

::::: By the way, did you know that children naturally know how to bridge the two hemispheres of the brain?  One way they do this is by humming.  The next time you observe a child humming (or better yet, when you catch yourself humming!), take some time to think about how incredible this is :::::::::

And here is where the simple (we'll talk about this later) act of art making can enter.  Art making is a natural way to give our adrenalin time to slow down (just look at the market for adult coloring books right now).  Art making is a beautiful way to let the right brain put in some valuable time.

Before designing a curriculum for a team building event, I need to do my research.  What does your group hope to gain from this event?  What are some challenges you share?  If you need support, what does this look like for each individual or the group?

In this particular case, my curriculum involved teaching simple ways to play with everyday materials (items that could be easily found in your home or at your local grocery store).   By the way, the act of "play" can have the same, healing effects as art making.  Why not pair the two?

I introduced several ways this group could incorporate creative play into their lives, ways that would only require a ten minute recess from the remaining demands of life.

This particular group played with children's watercolors, markers and colored pencils.  We explored working with our non-dominant hands.  We talked about the benefits of blind contour drawing.  We discussed and explored ways to just "start" (this can be difficult for many - looking at a blank, white page and wondering where to start).  I gave this particular staff ideas of how kitchen items could be a starting point (as well as other everyday, household materials).  I also encouraged these adults to create beside children (if there were children in their household) and how to do this.

More importantly, each individual was able to experience their inner critic turning off (I give helpful hints of how to do this over the course of our time together) and every person was able to spontaneously express how relaxing and therapeutic the experience was.




Would you like for me to design a team building or staff development day for your staff?
View this link for more information and contact information.


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