Take a Social Break – a Workshop Toolkit designed to help LNU students release stress and anxiety through design practice and visual communication
For the last 2 years we have had a pandemic where we had to be isolated because of the spread of coronavirus. This caused a lot of worry and stress in our lives especially as a student because we have experienced a drastic change in our education and social life. This of course after a period of time took a toll on our mental health which had some of us feeling burned out, stressed, anxious, or depressed. Knowing and relating to this, inspired us to think about how we could create a comfortable and safe space where students can finally socialise again and relax from a long day of uni work or a stressful period.
Take a Social Break is about creating a community, an example of how design work can bring change into student life and how students can actually help each other by socialising and using creativity to destress from the worries that the life of a student can bring. We have researched how doing things with your hands helps the mind relax since it is focusing on a repetitive action. Part of the research was about the concept of craftfulness and how beneficial it is for your mental wellbeing.
“It is when we return to our sewing, knitting, book binding or weaving that we achieve moments of calm. When our energy is low, making something energises us. When we feel overwhelmed or stressed, craft turns us to an even keel…” (Rosemary and Tahsin, 2019, pp.11–12)
Our result for the project has been to design and create a workshop tool kit that would include information on how to organise a creative workshop even if you are not a design student, because everyone is able to be creative, in their own way. Craftfulness is the key element of the toolkit and workshop: using craft as a way to distract yourself and let the mind ‘flow’. The rule is: there is no right or wrong, but only your feelings put down on paper in the form of creative drawing or writing and other techniques.
‘Take a social break’ is more than a simple workshop toolkit
The workshop is an invitation for students to sit down, relax and chat with others and create a space of inclusion and support with the aim of not feeling like the “only one” that has struggles and is going through a troubled moment.
The toolkit is designed to be ready for use. Inside you will find zines with information about the workshop: how to start, how to proceed, the exercises to make, but also with examples of creative writings, drawings and collage. We have also included some material needed for the creative activities such as pens, ruler, glue and scissors.
As part of the digital exhibition, the audience is invited to create their own workshop by downloading the workshop zines here. Examples of creative drawings and writing are included, so be inspired and get creative!