Engaging with creativity is a form of self-care that can benefit both a caregiver and a care recipient in many ways. In 2015, psychologist and art therapist Dr. Cathy Malchiodi cited multiple studies confirming that being creative can increase positive emotions, lessen depressive symptoms, reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and even improve immune system functioning. A 2016 study in The Journal of Positive Psychology supported these earlier findings, concluding that spending time on creative goals during a day is associated with higher activated positive affect (PA) on that day. Positive affect is the extent to which people experience positive moods, such as joy, happiness, and optimism. Higher positive effects lower stress and expand our perspective so that we notice more possibilities in our lives.
In Episode 14 of our Caregivers Out Loud podcast, Bill chats with Faye Melling, a caregiver for her adult daughter. Faye talks about how being creative has helped her deal with some of the ups and downs in her caregiving journey. She also shares how her daughter is using artistic expression as a way to deal with some of the challenges she’s experiencing due to her condition.