There's no denying the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our collective mental health.
About 53% of people polled in 2020 reported a decline in their mental health due to stress and fear around the virus. Everyone has their own way of coping with that worry; Indiana mom Angie Carel chose to take out her art supplies and draw each day.
Angie owns a marketing agency, but she has a background in graphic design. She says she's always loved to sketch, so when she found herself out of work with all of her kids under one roof back in 2020, she started creating daily drawing prompts to get her family's creative juices flowing.
"We were just drawing to have fun," Angie explained. "It started with just myself and my daughters doing the drawings. And then we were sharing our drawings on social media and then that built up into a following on social media."
Over the next 2 years, Angie's Simple Daily Drawing developed a devoted following. Her Facebook page now has over 30,000 followers!
Each day, Angie gives her followers a drawing prompt. These prompts range from serious to silly, like "Perspective: From Above" or "a smiling hippo." Artists can then share their creations with the main group, or in a separate private group with about 8,000 members where people tend to share more intimate details. It was here that Angie first learned what an impact the group was having on people and their mental health.
"I get emotional about it because it's like, I'm just giving you something to draw, but these stories that come out of it with mental health, in particular, are shocking and amazing," said Angie. "And people, they're vulnerable in the group and they share the stories with others. "
Many people use Angie's daily prompts to work through unresolved trauma in their lives. Hearing their stories has encouraged her to keep going, even though she never intended to create anything more than a COVID distraction. She feels like she's making a real difference in people's lives, and she's not about to quit anytime soon.
"I started drawing because of the way it helped me cope with COVID, but that translates into so many people's lives for so many other reasons," Angie said. "And they started posting these stories and then I was like, I can't just shut this group down."
Simple Daily Drawings now has over 625 prompts, and Angie's coming up with new ones each day. Who knew that disconnecting the brain and letting creativity flow had such a positive effect on mental health? We sure didn't!
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