The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week (1st-7th Feb) is ‘Express Yourself’*
This seems very appropriate in a year when a lot of people have turned to new hobbies and activities to get through the boring phases of lockdown, isolation and school closures. It is also a year that has put a huge strain on everyone’s mental health, determination, creativity and ability to cope with such tough times.
Creativity can often be a way of coping with difficult feelings and relieving stress, as well as distracting ourselves.
Sometimes, there can be a tendency to think that we only do creative things if they are ‘real art’ or if they are so good you could sell them. But I am here to champion expressing yourself even if you don’t think you are ‘good’ at it. We could think ‘good’ means other people would pay money or spend their time watching you do your expressing, through dance or music, or want to own a piece of your expressing, like buying a painting to put on their wall.
But expressing yourself is about you. It is about what makes you feel good, relaxed, real or just puts something outside of you that wants to be put out there. To be good at expressing you just need to be good at putting the stuff that wants to be outside you, well, out there. So go for it!
This Children’s Mental Health Week, the challenge is to think “What would I do with my time if there was absolutely no-one else to tell me what to do with it?
What would I express if there was no-one to stop me, or no-one to feel embarrassed might be watching?”
Over the week we will be posting a series of creative activities that I use with young people and families (others and my own) that can help with expressing and communicating.
We hope you enjoy them and enjoy whatever other ways you find of to express yourself. We’d love to hear about your ideas and expressive activities this week, so do send us messages!
I wish you and your family all the best and hope that you find this helpful.
Dr Helen Care
Clinical Psychologist at A Confident Start in Oxfordshire
*This Children's Mental Health week by Place2Be has found 1 in 9 children as having a mental health issue with many more struggling with remote learning and lack of social opportunities.
Here's a message from their Patron, The Duchess of Cambridge:
“This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is all about expressing yourself – about finding creative ways in which to share your thoughts, ideas and feelings. So whether that’s through photography, through art, through drama, through music or poetry – it’s finding those things that makes you feel good about yourself."