Guest blogger artist Justine Van De Weg

Justine is an artist and has been involved with the ARTS since 1996 personally tutored by Laura Wenman for 7 years. Justine continued her studies with one of SA’s top 5 oil painters – Reyno Swart. Justine runs an art college in Worthing, West Sussex, England where she teaches adults and children of all abilities.

Justine has worked with children and adults in trauma, down syndrome, autistic, cerebral palsied, traumatic backgrounds, physical, sexual and drug abuse to individuals injured in car accidents, people who had brain tumors as well as dyslexia or who were wheel chair bound. The individually tailored courses reached the personalities with life changing results.  Justine works individually with her clients and also offers training to companies, schools and supporting colleges/universities.

Justine demonstrates that art can really help people from any situation with their emotions and happiness.

Here is Justine’s guest blog for us:

When I type in google the first three words ‘How to help my child’ the main search pop up phrase on google these days, is how to help children deal with anxiety. How scary is this?!!! If people are typing in search engines how to help their child – this is great as they are prepared to listen and want the best for their child. The sad thing is – that not many people know how……..hence searching for knowledge.

I receive so many surprised comments from strangers with children when they ask me how ‘stressed’ I am after having a baby. I’m surprised by the question. When I answer at every stage in her growth that she is doing so well, sleeps right through the night and is A VERY happy baby all the time. The only time she will cry is when she is hungry, needs a nappy changed, is tired or ill. The response I hear is;’ Well, wait until she is ‘older’ then you’ll have problems’. Every stage comes and goes and still she remains happy………

So why is she happy? What am I doing? I chuckled to myself when I had my parents in law say – wow – this child is still so happy, her parents must be doing something right.

The truth is, we aren’t doing anything right or wrong,…..we are just making sure we as parents are happy so that our child feels how happy we are and learns from us. Being sad is not a ‘bad’ emotion. How you deal with that sad emotion is what triggers anxiety, pain or further sadness. When your children see how you deal with situations, they learn how to deal with situations by learning from their parents.

What is our secret?

Being constantly creative – yes! That’s it!

Not only creative with activities, but our time, work and life. Of course, there are days where you don’t feel completely whole. When this happens, we don’t beat ourselves up – we creatively support each other or seek/research ways to heal our sad emotions.

What types of creativity do we introduce into our daily lives?

– We enjoy the work we do, and if we didn’t enjoy it – we found a creative way to change it
– Every morning there is some form of reading and singing
– Making meals is fun, explained and scheduled to stimulate us (we all cook)
– There is at least one full hour without phones switched on and not near us where we play, play and more play!
– Our movies are Disney/comedy when we do watch tv
– We eat our meals together and everyone goes into detail how their day has been
– We do art in any form at least 5 times a week
– Clear schedules so that everyone knows what is happening through out the day to feel safe

How does art help you reduce stress or anxiety?

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Art forces you to slow down, follow guidelines, have patience and work towards an end goal. When you make a mistake, you fix it, change it and keep going until you have reached a stage where you are proud of yourself.

Where people do become frustrated with art, is that they expect their activity to give results immediately or just ‘know’ how to draw or paint. When you are tutored and given skills to get to the end result (like anything else in life) you grow confident, experience less stress and feel in flow with life. Situations don’t appear to be as upsetting as they used to be. Hence feeling happy…..

Why are you happy?

You are giving both sides of your brain regular and balanced stimulation. How can you help other people or your children when you are not helping yourself? One full hour without being interrupted with your full focus on your children doing an activity of their choice will create hours of less crying, irritation, pain and anxiety.

Art provides both left and right brain balanced stimulation. Art gives your mind the space to work out situations that are troubling you. Like anything, when you step away from it and come back to deal with your situation – it all falls into place and makes sense.

Being creative as a whole with art provides this amazing tool to remain balanced. When you are creative and find the energy to find a solution to be balanced, take responsibility and apologise to yourself – you can genuinely say you are OK and happy when ever anyone asks how you are doing…..

Here’s the plan:

  • You can find out about Justine’s children’s art classes here
  • You can find out about Justine’s adult art classes here
  • Maybe find a form of art that you would like to try?

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