Yep, she’s in there and it’s time for a re-introduction…
A breast cancer diagnosis often creates a mix of emotions for the person diagnosed with cancer and co-survivors. Those emotions can feel hard to talk about and at times, it can be difficult to even figure how what you are feeling. One proven way to cope after a breast cancer diagnosis is through the use of expressive arts, which can include visual, dance/movement, music, drama/theater, and writing/poetry. Unlike traditional art making, in expressive arts, the process of creation is emphasized, not the final product.
Expressive, or creative arts, can be a way to tap into your feelings and offers a way to express yourself, to pass time while waiting for a medical visit or to help you combat scanxiety. Getting creative or crafty is an opportunity for you to connect with yourself, enjoy some quiet time and may even help you discover new parts of yourself.
Research proven benefits of expressive arts:
– Greater connections to self-understanding
– Increased relaxation
– Pain reduction
– Alleviation of stress and anxiety
– Distraction from the medical environment
– Can help individuals to communicate emotions that may be difficult to verbally articulate
– Patients feel more empowered, hopeful, and resilient throughout the process of cancer care
Everyone is creative – yes, even you!
Step 1: Repeat after me, “I am creative.”
Step 2: Breathe
Step 3: Get started. It doesn’t matter how you start or where you start, just start. Choose your creative medium and have fun!
Step 4: Repeat Step 1 and Step 2 as often as needed to keep you creating.
Adult coloring books, create a collage on poster board, make your own gratitude box, take a photography walk-about in your town, make handmade cards, paint on canvas, dance to music or write a short story.
– Keep it Simple.
– Don’t be afraid to get messy.
– Take your creative supplies to medical appointments, or just keep them easily accessible so you can pull them out often.
– Check your inner art critic at the door.
– Get curious – What feels good? What feels fun? There is no right or wrong way to express yourself creatively.
– Are there expressive arts opportunities in your area? Check out a local craft store for supplies, they may even have workshops, some of which may be free of charge.
– Invite some friends to a Creativity Night. Ask each person to bring a few supplies and an open mind. Crank up music, share supplies and create away…
Hope this helps to inspire you! Send us pictures or stories about your creative adventure to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Ali Schaffer, LCSW
Ali is the Program Manager of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer (VICC) Center Patient and Family Resource Center. In this role, she oversees the management of the Resource Center and collaborates with medical professionals and local and national organizations to plan and implement educational programs for people impacted by cancer.
Ali is hosting a wellness activity on Art as Expression at the upcoming YSC Summit.
Join us in Atlanta, GA on March 11 to 13 for her awesome workshop and other inspiring, informational sessions and workshops throughout the weekend. Register today.