It is often said that we learn more when things go wrong than when we are succeeding, but taking action when we are at our lowest point takes courage, and I wanted to share how I have been using art and creativity to help in beating burnout, one heroic step at a time.

Beating Burnout

I started my art journey nine years ago to support my #mentalhealth when I had reached rock-bottom with burnout, PTSD and work-related stress,  and never really had any ambitions to become an artist full-time. After a few years of dabbling and exhibiting, I took my creative practice further into more #mindfulart practices to help me through a very turbulent few years of upheaval and stress, culminating in 2019 with a decision to invest in myself and enroll in a Foundation Art & Design course at my local college.  This meant that I had to make some significant career decisions and take that scary step over into self-employment and more flexible working to accommodate the studies.

My @anniesartthings blog has recorded my progress during that course, and even though it has been incredibly hard work,  I have loved every minute of it and learned so much, not only about art and creativity,  but about myself and the ‘rules’ I had been constrained by during 17 years working in the Professional world.  

Play More

One of the first lessons I learned was to play more, and not fear making mistakes (or ‘happy little accidents as Bob Ross would call them!). This has been so liberating after so long checking for compliance to the rules  in the Health and Safety career I had moved away from,  and this playfulness and reflective practice has helped in so many other areas of my life.

Make Art

Besides offering #beatburnout  transformational coaching, did you know that work safe and well also offers #makeart workshops?  I have run workshops  to tackle social isolation, support local artists and performers in my local community, and am delighted to report that I have  been commissioned to run public art workshops for Durham University #DUArtPrizeArtSchool later this month.

Celebrate Your Heroes

To accompany the Durham Student Art Prize 2020/21,  they are running an ‘Art Prize Art School’ between December 2020 and February 2021, offering a FREE programme of online short talks, workshops and resources to further explore the prize’s theme of ‘heroism’. These are open to all, you don’t need to be a student or an artist to get involved with the programme (but only students can enter the art prize).  You can find out more and book a workshop here

After the year we have had it will be wonderful to help participants share some conversations and creative responses to this theme.  Here is a video  of the launch of the Art prize events featuring  the patron, last year’s winner and some really interesting ‘curators picks’ from the University Art collection curators showing pieces from the extensive collection held by the University and their links to the Heroism theme. 

As an artist (yes, I now identify as an artist!), I can’t wait to share the creative responses we generate to celebrate all our heroes, and seeing what amazing creations emerge. 

As a wellbeing practitioner it will be another example of how important creativity is to connect communities and support better mental health, and to confirm that I am truly beating burnout, one heroic step at a time!. You can find out more and book a workshop here, or get in touch to book your own #makeart workshop here