Switching off can be difficult, and learning how to quiet your mind is an important skill.
For 20-year-old Hannah Cameron, cutting out photos from old magazines and turning them into art is a lifeline.
Cameron has struggled with anxiety and depression for as long as she can remember.
However, it wasn’t until she found a way to manage her emotions that she attempted to take her own life and was forced to be hospitalized for a month.
“It was scary…I was away from my family for a month,” Cameron said.
“I had to wake up at a certain time, take my medicine at a certain time, go to the gym, do art and make music.”
Cameron says one of her friends on the ward encouraged her to take more art classes and make collages.
“I fell in love with the concept … being able to express myself through messy, imperfect art and being able to close my mind for a while,” she says.
“If you’re having a really bad day and your thoughts are spinning, it’s distracting.
“In a way, art saved my life.”
Angela McDowall is a service manager for Mind Australia, a non-profit mental health organization.
The service runs four programs in Mackay, including the 10-bed residence where Cameron spent some time.
Mr. McDowall The organization employs art therapists and runs art groups for its clients.
“When someone engages in art, it gets them out of their heads and out of their thoughts. It can be a welcome break.
Professional development coach Rowena Hardy says our brains are constantly being stimulated and it’s hard to switch off.
“Away from that stimulus always provides your brain with an opportunity to calm down, but reaching for a device can be very difficult and tempting,” she says.
Since then, Hannah Cameron has turned her love of art into a small business.
Cameron uses magazines and frames she buys from specialty stores to sell her work and run workshops at local markets.
“I love being able to recycle and reuse and give new life to all my magazines and frames,” she says.
“I feel better for the first time in 20 years”
Ms. Cameron regularly sells her collages at a local market, and two other women knocked down some stalls to take her creative hobby to another level.
“I have that little something”
Angela McDowall says finding an artistic activity you enjoy can help you feel a sense of purpose and pride.
Between working full-time jobs and caring for children, Lauren Turton and Karina May take time out to make earrings from recycled pearls.
“When I was looking for jewelry at home, I found a pearl necklace that my grandmother gave me,” says May.
“I never wear pearl necklaces. It’s not my style.”
Instead, the duo wanted to repurpose the pearls into actual wearable jewelry.
“We wanted to make our own earrings, so we made about 100 pairs,” says May.
“It’s really nice to have little things that you can do without too much pressure.”