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How Do You Practice Wellness?

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This year’s Arts Ahead theme is Vibrations: Arts, Wellness & The Search for Balance. The Arts Management cohort has spent the better part of the last 5 months planning for the event. We decided on a theme, planned the programming, learned to use a livestream platform, secured partnerships, and so much more. We also adjusted to learning fully online and got to know each other solely through the boxes on our glowing screens. 

Not to mention–we’re still living through a global pandemic. 

The theme of the event was inspired by the ongoing dialogue about mental health and overall wellness, but was heavily influenced by the need we felt as students, and up-and-coming arts professionals, to take good care of ourselves in this precarious time. We aim to continue the conversation around mental health and wellness, and want to encourage people involved in all areas of the arts to reflect on how to take care of themselves and others.

Leading up to the event, we decided to record short videos sharing how we practice wellness, because after all, it is a practice. Watch below or scroll down to read a transcript of what the cohort had to say. 

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How do you practice wellness? 

“Practicing wellness and staying well during all this, a lot of it has to do with sticking to things that I love doing that are meditative to me. So going outside, looking at the sky, biking, just getting some air. The other day I went and biked to pick up some negatives to scan, and sometimes I feel like all this can get lost in so many things we’re thinking about and working on and it gets put to the side. But it’s really important to be able to return to these things that are so important to you.” –April, Marketing & Web Committees

“I have had many ways I have been trying to practice wellness during the pandemic. One of the ways is daily affirmations and meditation when I wake up. As well as keeping up my piano, my art, and my singing and learning a new instrument, like the ukulele. So I try and stay as musical as I can, and as positive as I can.” Alicia, Programming Committee

“One of the ways I’ve been trying to stay well during this time is by making sure I get outside every day, at least once a day, and by going for walks. There’s not that much we can do outside the home right now, so getting outside and getting a little movement is really important to me.” -Allie, Marketing Committee

“Something that I like to do to practice wellness is colouring in a colouring book. It’s a really fun way to get out of your head a bit and to relax. It’s a great creative outlet–obviously we’re laking a lot of creative outlets right now–so just a little one like that that’s low stress and fun is a great way to practice wellness.” -Lauren, Marketing Committee

“When I’m looking for some moments of quiet, and just me time that kind of allows me to unwind, I come to my basement and dig through a big chest of vintage clothes and I style my barbies. I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl and it’s just one of my favourite things to do. It just feels really calming, really relaxing. There’s no pressure except to make them look really awesome. I find that it’s been a real help during this time when I’m just wanting to move away from the screen and I can’t go outside. I really find solitude with my dolls.” Ciragh, Co-Chair

“I like to play with Micio. He has the wonderful power to change my mood. I like walking on the lakeshore with my friends or alone. I like any kind of activities with water or nature. I think it’s very relaxing and feels good. Another way to practice wellness is painting. I love painting big canvases to connect my mind with my body and go with the flow and be surprised by the result.” -Sara, Operations & Finance Committee

“I call up a friend for a quick chat. Isolation is one of the hardest parts this quarantine and I think that calling up a friend is such a good way to get a quick mood boost. And, it’s just as good for your brain as doing a crossword puzzle. You can quote me on that, I heard it in a podcast. So call your friends and your family and tell them about your boring quarantine day.” –Yvonne, Web & Operations Committee

“I’ve been trying to incorporate wellness into my life by being more present. Less screen time and more time doing things I love, like walking, being out in nature, reading, cooking, practicing piano, spending time with my dog and my family. I’ve also been making time to think about gratitude and set daily intentions. I’m trying to be more gentle with myself and give myself time to breathe and unwind at the end of the day.”Vanessa, Programming Committee

“My morning routine I find is very healthy and keeps me well. I wake up at 6 in the morning, I cook my breakfast, I wash my face, brush my teeth, and then now, here I am doing yoga. I find it is very helpful to, instead of being a night owl, I like to be an early bird.” –Rui, Operations Committee

“During this pandemic, I have been doing more yoga and mindful eating for my self-care and wellness. And I have been going on daily walks to be able to get fresh air and I think staying active during this time is so important.” –Nas, Web Committee

“How I practice wellness: I have been known to play a tune, maybe something by Phoebe Bridgers, maybe even write a tune–that’s really cathartic. Maybe make a groovy playlist on Spotify when I’m feeling particularly not great. Taking a breath is probably the most helpful for me. And enjoying a fantastic cup of coffee, whenever and wherever.” -Grace, Marketing Committee

“Growing up in a tropical country, running is my chosen form of exercise. Moving to North America has changed that routine and restricted it to only the summer months, during the pandemic I experimented with my grandmothers’ recipes my background with Material Conservation and Chemistry minor helped substitute some of the ingredients with readily available ingredients in North America and understanding the construction of diverse flavours which are involved in traditional Indian cooking. A poem that always helps me to get in a better mental state while cooking is by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. This routine helped me through the pandemic being creative, boosting positivity, and a new perspective on my heritage.” Nipun, Development Committee

“Wellness is a practice. No one can become great at something without practice. I would say it is being able to answer the question “how are you?” with something other than “I am fine,” or “good, how are you?” Learning how to check-in with my emotions and reflecting on thoughts helps me to become self-aware which enables me to engage in a “real” way. When I wake up, I take time to breathe. Being grateful that I can breathe helps me step into the day, not as an autonomous robot, but as a thinking and feeling human. I have also recently started a gratitude jar which I will continue to use way into the distant future. When I experience or learn something that I am grateful for, I write it down on a piece of paper, fold it, and date it. On the days that I need a bit more happiness, I reach into the depths of the jar and pull out something to look back on and remember how that moment made me feel. The pandemic hindered my art-making because I wasn’t able to dig into my inspiration. To put it into a metaphor, my inspiration is a little plant that feeds off of the sunlight other creators generate. I recently started to create more abstract drawings and infuse them with as much colour as I can.” –Jasmine, Programming Committee

Thanks for taking the time to learn how we’ve been practicing wellness.

We hope to see you at Arts Ahead 2021!

Bonus: Here’s Michelle sharing how to make a warming ginger tea! 

Tickets for ARTS AHEAD 2021 – Vibrations: Arts, Wellness & the Search for Balance are ON SALE NOW.

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