Self-care and personal development have always been at the forefront of discussions regarding one’s health and wellbeing, even more so in the hustle and bustle of modern society, where both values can easily be neglected.
To help alleviate issues surrounding self-care, many find connections through social and physical activities. One such activity is art.
Using art to promote self-care is what founder of Creative Wellness BN Esther Sim, a Kuala Belait resident, hopes to do. Sim sought to showcase how art can help relate to selfcare and personal growth through a series of classes held at the Belait District Youth and Sports Department.
I spoke with Esther during the inaugural class, comprising students from schools and centres in the Belait District. She said ‘Creative Wellness’ is an art programme, using tools from personal development such as confidence building and expressing gratitude.
She developed the programme with youth in mind, so as they learn art, they also learn about their own personal development. “For example, we can use learning to do a portrait to showcase our gratitude for someone in our life.”
Sim said while developing the programme, the concept of ‘art’ and ‘personal development’ were initially separate. “Initially it was just about art,” she said.
However, when seeing how art can help inspiration and expression among young people, she thought to herself, “What if I was able to learn ideas from personal growth and build my self-improvement from an early age? I would have perhaps achieved my goals earlier, and built things much faster.”
As such, some topics she discussed as part of the first class she conducted include the introduction of Creative Wellness as well as the Zentangle art-style, used as a platform for the programme.
Invented in 2004 by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, Sim explained that Zentangle art is a mixture of meditation and art comprising a collection of patterns as well as a form of freestyle doodling.
Zentangle art provides a freedom of expression while also promoting creativity and concentration, all quite instrumental in creative wellness, she said.
Sim hopes that introducing Zentangle art to youth can help form a close cycle of self-care that starts with decreasing insecurities which would lead to an improved sense of self-worth while increasing confidence.
She added, “The only thing that this programme requires is to be open to the idea of art and personal growth and to not be afraid to dive in to your ideas, creativity and individualism.” This is to ensure that participants, especially youth, are not restricted in the ways that they express themselves.
“I think it is common for lot of us to get very scared of doing something or not have the self-belief to pursue something,” she said.
She hopes to build more confidence among youth, “to inspire them to believe in themselves so that they know that they can do things in their own ways and growth however they want”.