A new op-ed from Newsweek outlines just how valuable art and art therapy was during the long, isolating months of Covid lockdowns, and how we should be investing more heavily in these therapies going forward.
“Perhaps art, instead of being seen as a hobby or a job for the fortunate few, could be seen as a form of therapy. Many of the art students I speak to (whether they study in-person or online) tell me that they benefit from a therapeutic or meditative effect of their learning.
The benefits of art therapy, which applies art-based techniques like painting, dancing and role-play as an intervention for mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, have been well-established. It should come as no surprise then that art therapists were essential frontline workers during the pandemic, with half of the art therapists surveyed claiming that they continued to go to work in-person throughout lockdown.
Better yet, art-based therapy is becoming much cheaper and more accessible than ever before. With the advent of online learning through dedicated platforms as well as YouTube, you no longer need to attend an exclusive art school to reap the psychological benefits of creativity.”
We all know someone who took up a new hobby during lockdowns, be it bread baking, knitting, digital art or maybe a new musical instrument. Not all of them will keep up those hobbies now that lockdowns have mostly ended, but even if they don’t, the time spent on those activities were therapeutic and beneficial. We should be encouraging such activities for all sorts of different conditions going forward.
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