[May 2021 | San Juan Silver Stage | Kathryn R. Burke]
Caregiving can be stressful, and it is usually a full-time commitment that allows little or no personal time. Unfortunately, and all too often, caregivers neglect themselves to the point of mental exhaustion and physical illness. Caregivers need a break! They also need support, which best comes from others who understand what they are going through.
The Caregivers Art Journaling program offers help. Each two-hour session provides respite as well as a creative, introspective outlet to relive stress. Think of it as a little vacation, a chance to escape from routine, relax and recharge your emotional and physical batteries. Best of all… it’s a chance to have fun, and not feel guilty about it.
How it works
The program combines verbal group support (from other caregivers) with cathartic art therapy in the form of illustrative journaling. Two-hour sessions are held twice monthly in a safe and private setting. You will have access to plenty of art supplies and collected materials, as well as the tools needed to create a personal diary, an art journal, maybe a memory book. Take your book home to use and work on between classes. (Or, if you are not comfortable taking it home ask us to keep it for you.)
Whenever and however you use it, your journal becomes a safe outlet for tension relief and self-expression. Sometimes it’s a way to vent without verbally letting go with a situation calls for restraint. (Shout it out on paper, not out loud!) You can write, doodle, draw, scribble, paint, collage, cut and paste pictures from magazines—the possibilities are limited only by need and imagination. No art experience is necessary. I will bring lots of stuff to play with and show some videos of journals made by other caregivers.
Talking with other people sharing similar experiences lets you realize you are not alone in your caring journey. Acknowledging both positives and negatives of tasks, activities, and expectations facilitates new perspectives and increased comfort levels.
Support groups often provide answers to questions the caregivers have concerns about or may yet encounter. One person’s experience can be another person’s solution. In-person support groups offer a form of talk therapy augmented by facial and body expression. It’s physical and verbal hugging.
Adding a component to graphically express thoughts and feelings in an journal is a safe (and acceptable) way to vent negativity and frustration and celebrate joy and positive experiences – the yin/yang integral to caregiving. Finding words and writing them down, graphically illustrating thoughts and feelings, gathering pictures, mementos, and miscellanea from their own lives and the life of those they care for is a powerful tool for managing self-care.
When and Where
Art Journaling for Caregivers is held 10 am to noon at the Montrose Methodist Church, 19 S. Park Avenue, on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday monthly. There is a cost (to cover materials). Region 10 can help with the cost if needed and can also provide respite for your careé—the one your care for, sometimes referred to as a “loved one”—although love, and or even like, may not always an appropriate description how you feel about the one you care for.
Come and join us. Wear some old clothes you can splat paint on. Become part of our Aspiring Artist, Caregiver Group family! Sign up or inquire here. I do need reservations, please, so I know how much supplies to buy and what to prepare for. The next class is Tuesday, May 11th. Hope to see you there!