If you’ve ever noticed pictures of Olympic swimmers in full flow, there are these magnificent images which show the exact moment that the swimmer’s body was about to break the surface tension of water. Now, imagine the water, someday, refusing to let the swimmer out. Imagine the swimmer is trapped under the control of the water. That, in its essence, is what this lock down has felt like.
You feel enclosed by this constant sense of uncertainty and, at times, helplessness. But you’re not alone - you have the most powerful entity in the universe right beside you - the human mind. And the most endearing part of the human mind is that it can be your finest companion when you need one.
The possibilities are endless, and you’d be surprised with how at one with yourself you will be. There’s an abundance of time and an abundance of random thoughts, and it’s only human to spend your time alone channeling these thoughts into positivism. A proverbial embarrassment of riches, yes, but with a bit of time and effort, a devastatingly good payoff. Let the human mind surprise you.
Our collaboration with Artistik India
It all started with a collaboration with Artistik India, an e-Commerce platform which acts as a hub for selling and purchasing affordable art. We conjured up a simple, yet wildly effective campaign the summer - Self Expression In Isolation - with an insight into ways to stabilize and mentally massage the human mind, while battling long stretches of isolation and uncertainty. As another part of our constant efforts to make mental health, peace and well-being a priority in today’s world, the campaign led with its diverse methods to help everyone place their feet comfortably on an ever-wobbly ground this year.
First off, and perhaps the most calming activity on this list, came “The Mood Circle”. And mind you, we weren’t looking for reincarnations of Piccasso or Van Gogh here. The activity was all about the participants finding a sense of belonging in their headspace. Simple steps - Draw a circle (however unconventional it may be). Add in all your thoughts about this lock down in a pictorial representation within the said circle. Colour it with whatever tickles your fancy.
A quick glance at your end product, no matter how good, bad or ugly it may be, would give you a deeper understanding of what it is that has played on your mind in isolation. It puts things into perspective, making you get closer to yourself.
The Feelings Cup
Secondly, we had a very unique concept, termed as “The Feelings Cup”. The Feelings Cup was a means to gauge the current emotional state of a person’s mind and subsequently find ways to deal with these various mental states. By colouring a cup with a set of designated colours, alluding to various emotions, and circling a number of symptoms (technically, things you have done or experienced within the lockdown) mentioned above the cup, people opened up their minds for interpretation. And we had on board one very accomplished interpreter of human emotions in Ms. Avantika Naidu, who is a very well-known clinical psychologist and a resolute advocate of mental health with over 10 years of experience in this field. Her insights and advice to the people who sent in this activity went a long way in calming the general tidal wave of nerves created in people by this enforced isolation.
Third on the list was “The Travel Collage”. And as is often in life, the best things are usually simple. The Travel Collage involved finding artifacts, such as old bills, pictures and so on, from all the previous trips you’ve made, be it abroad to a fancy city, or even to your nearest hill station for a quick breather. Then, people cut out logos, images, billboards and much more and form a collage with these cutouts, on a piece of paper or cardboard. Once you stick these cutouts, you have your very own Travel Collage!
At first, you’d question the purpose of this. And that’s natural. But the sense of joy and the abundance of memories that this singular activity brings back can really stimulate the peace inside your head. Remember-A happy mind always translates to a happy human being.
Lastly, we had a beautiful session of “Art Therapy, which was conducted by Devki Modi Jain, one of the most gleeful Mentors at Artistik India. A very uncomplicated process to follow, this activity was all about putting your mind at ease by the act of inhaling and exhaling. The circulation of oxygen to the brain is imperative to stay fresh and healthy, and this was the exact purpose of that. For this activity, all you needed was a sheet of paper and either a pen, a pencil or a paint brush. After shutting your eyes and beginning the process of breathing, you had to let your hand, equipped with your choice of stationery, flow naturally across the length and breadth of the paper. What you drew didn’t matter, as long as the focus was on meditative breathing. As Devki said, “If any thoughts come to your mind at this time, acknowledge them and bring your focus back to inhaling and exhaling.”
This activity used the concepts of free-flowing abstract art and therapeutic breathing to instill a sensation of near-tranquility to the mind. The constant breathing was the key to getting oxygen to enrich every inch of your brain, and in turn, put you at ease.
The lock down was never going to be a stroll in the park. Isolation, as a concept, can be very daunting. But it is at times like these that we come to know ourselves better and find ways and means to get through all the tediousness. Our campaign was aimed at this very thought, and we sincerely hope that it played its part in taking you to a calmer state of being and helped you cope with the world in and around you.