I have found myself really missing the connections with my people – I mean actual, physical connections. Looking people in the eye and noticing small things about them that we miss when we are texting or video chatting. Things like new shoes, the way they laugh spontaneously, the smell of their hair. (Is that weird? Maybe.) I miss hugs from my family and my friends. I miss sitting next to my co-workers and fist-bumps from my students. I even miss bumping into random strangers…I just miss being in and around community. I know I’m not the only one who is finding this social (physical) distancing hard, a number of you have commented on that as well. So this week I thought I’d take a few days and post some ideas on how to make this “stay home season” a bit more bearable. We can’t change the situation, but we can do things that help us to cope.
Today’s idea is one that can tap into your creative juices. Being creative can help you feel better – sometimes words just aren’t enough. Either we can’t find the right words to describe how we feel, or we don’t want to say how we feel out loud. Art can help you bridge that open, sometimes scary – sometimes just really wide – space between you and another person. So here’s a fun idea that you can do by yourself, or with your family.
If you are missing someone in particular, you can create something that shows why you think they are special and then gift it to them. One idea is to create a shadow box filled with bits and pieces that remind you and them of times that you spent together – a special rock, a picture of you together, or a poem. It can be anything that reminds you of some special memories. This website has a few good ideas on how to create a shadow box. You can make a shadow box out of a variety of things – shoe boxes, wooden boards glued together, store bought shadow boxes (here) or even a quart jar…many, many options. Here are some simple steps to get you going:
- Find a container (shoe box, wooden box, jar etc.)
- Decide on your theme. You might want to make one for a friend and your theme might be favourite movies you’ve watched together. If it’s for a grandparent, your theme might be favourite activities you’ve done together. Maybe it’s simply a collection of words that describe your person.
- Collect your items. You can use pictures from magazines or online, photographs, little mementos like seashells, ribbons, feathers, rocks, pieces of wood – you decide!
- Arrange it. Depending on what you are using for your shadow “box”, you decide if you will glue your items inside, just arrange them, put them in sand etc.
The key is to make it personal and be creative. Once you have created your shadow box, wrap it up (or not) and deliver it to your special person. Letting your creativity flow is a proven way to cope with a hard situation. Finding unique ways of connecting – like making shadow boxes – also helps people feel happier and less alone.
If you made a shadow box, take a picture and email it to me! I would love to post pictures of some of your crafty coping ideas, so when you email your picture to me – let me know if you’d like me to post it.
Til tomorrow – stay safe, stay positive and stay home 🙂