How to Celebrate World Art Day

Chloe Stevenson Arts Leave a Comment

Ah, the finer things. Painting, music, dance, sculpting… all wonderful components of the arts. In today’s technological world, many people place a heavy emphasis on the fields of math, science and engineering. However, the arts still play a vital role in much of our society. In fact, without the arts, much of our history, expression and culture would be virtually nonexistent. 

To commemorate the arts, the International Association of Art (IAA) established the first-ever World Art Day on April 15, 2012, in honor of Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday. Since then, World Art Day has been celebrated on April 15th as an international celebration of fine arts. In 2015, World Art Day was held for the first time in the United States in Los Angeles. Later in 2017, the official U.S.-based chapter of the IAA was formed, officially establishing World Art Day as a continual celebration in the United States. There’s no doubt that art plays a major role in our lives, so how can you celebrate World Art Day today? We have some ideas.

Visit an art gallery.
This might seem simple, and it is! One easy way to celebrate World Art Day is by visiting a local museum or art gallery near you. Many museums or galleries might offer extended hours for the day, special discounts or put on educational programs to commemorate the occasion. Take the time today to check out a local gallery in your community and see what you can learn.

Support local artists.
Local artists are often the backbone of the community. They provide valuable art and beauty in an otherwise monotonous world. If you want to celebrate World Art Day, consider how you can support local artists near you. In fact, you might just find artists at the gallery you visit, late night at a poetry reading or even on the sidewalk as you walk by. Find a piece of art you enjoy and purchase it for your home to add elegance and support others around you.

Do an art project with kids.
You already know kids are the future. Unfortunately, many schools have to reduce their funds for art education, which makes World Art Day even more important for younger generations. Teach the children in your life about World Art Day by doing a project together with them. Pick an artist from a period you love, study him or her and their style, then encourage your kids to try the art for themselves. And remember: expression is unique! Let them find their own style as they explore the infinite world of art.

Attend a theatre production.
There’s more to art than painting; in fact, theatre plays a major role in the art industry. After you visit the museum and art gallery, attend an amateur theatre production in your community to support those around you. Depending on the play or musical, you can even invite your entire family, for a fun night out with the kids to teach them about art.

Support a nonprofit.
Many nonprofit organizations—both local and national—put an enormous amount of effort into contributing to, encouraging and promoting the arts. If you want to join in, consider how you can support a nonprofit. Whether it’s attending shows, purchasing artwork, volunteering or simply giving a monthly donation, you can help make a difference.

World Art Day is about coming together as an international community and recognizing the importance of fine arts. If you want to join in, consider these ideas for how to celebrate today. Help spread the enthusiasm and awareness of the arts in your community, and watch how others around you flourish.

3 Positive Reasons for Seniors to Volunteer

Chloe Stevenson Volunteering Leave a Comment

After a lifetime in the workforce, retirement leaves many senior citizens wondering what’s next in store. With a free schedule, suddenly they have a plethora of time, resources and flexibility that they never had before. For years, work gave them a purpose and a sense of accomplishment. Without it, many seniors can find themselves pondering how to fill their extra time.

Fortunately, no matter who you are, how old or what experiences you have, there’s always one way you can find fulfillment, use your passion and give back to others all at the same time: through volunteering. For seniors, volunteering is the perfect chance to use extra time to make a difference in the community. Check out these positive reasons for seniors to volunteer.

1. Volunteering promotes brain health.
As we age, health can become a serious concern for many. Particularly after someone retires, the number of activities they do that stimulate the brain dwindles. However, volunteering provides the perfect outlet for mental stimulation and interaction. This stimulation improves seniors’ mental health, including reducing symptoms of depression and even dementia. 

The National Institute on Aging found that participating in meaningful social activities like volunteering can improve a person’s longevity, mental health and diminish the risk of dementia. Another study by the Rotman Research Institute found that seniors who volunteered approximately 100 hours a year (three to four hours per week) had improved memory and speech as a result. They also ended up feeling less stressed and overwhelmed. As we age, volunteering keeps us mentally sharp, which improves our overall health.

2. Volunteering equips physical health.
In addition to mental health, volunteering can also significantly boost a senior’s physical health. And of course, maintaining a good level of fitness can prevent injuries and disease as people age. Whether it’s walking dogs for the Humane Society, building homes for Habitat for Humanity or simply restocking books at the local library, volunteering gives seniors a physical outlet to stay in shape. 

One study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University showed that individuals over 50 who volunteered were at a decreased risk for developing high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke, heart attack and other conditions. In 2014, a review of 45 years worth of studies demonstrated that seniors were in better physical and mental health as a direct result of volunteering. To feel better mentally and physically, volunteering is the perfect option.

3. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose.
After years in the workforce, many seniors often feel a lack of purpose for their lives. While they used to spend their time helping others and working hard, time can feel much more vacant in retirement. Volunteering for an important cause fills this need. Consistent volunteering gets seniors out into the community, with people counting on their attendance, services and abilities. 

The feeling of being relied upon gives seniors this sense of purpose and responsibility for their lives. Seniors meet new friends and build a valuable sense of community and relationships. They know they’re making a difference, and their work has an impact. In fact, one study by the Corporation for National and Community Service discovered that adults over the age of 60 who volunteer reported higher levels of wellbeing and lower disability than those who did not. Volunteering not only helps the community, but it can also help the seniors who get involved. 

Volunteering has a valuable impact on everyone, but it can especially make a difference in the lives of senior citizens. If you or someone you know is a senior living in post-retirement, consider how volunteering can play a role in life. You might just find a plethora of reasons to get involved and give back.

Relax and Recognize Stress Awareness Month

Chloe Stevenson Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Whether it’s positive or negative, stress has a profound way of seeping into our lives. While a little bit of stress might not make a huge impact, constant stress over a long period of time can have a significant effect on your health. In fact, stress has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including mood, sleep, appetite and even heart disease.

According to BioIQ, 77% of Americans experience physical symptoms as a result of stress. Additionally, 33% state they are living with extreme stress, while 48% blame stress for negatively impacting their personal and professional lives. No matter how you look at it, stress plays a major role in our lives. 

Because of this, the month of April has been recognized as National Stress Awareness Month since 1992. This month aims to increase awareness about stress, its negative effects and how to relieve it. If you’re experiencing stress, keep these ideas in mind for how to relax.

1. Meditate. This might seem confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Meditation simply refers to the practice of slowing down and breathing deeply from your stomach. Take a short amount of time every day to calm your body and clear your mind. Focus on centering your thoughts on your breathing. Meditation has enormous benefits for reducing stress, and has even been linked to lessening the risk of heart disease. If sitting still is difficult, try including yoga or walking in your meditation practice.

2. Unplug. Nowadays, it’s practically impossible to get away from the constant stream of information, advertisements and media impacting our brains. All of this input can significantly affect our stress levels. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed by negative news, or feel the need to immediately respond to work emails or want to compare yourself to others on social media. Instead, take at least 10 to 15 minutes per day to unplug and be away from technology. Your stress levels will vastly reduce.

3. Sleep. There’s a reason sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture. A lack of sleep can increase anxiety and depression, making it difficult to deal stressful situations. If you feel continually stressed, check your sleeping schedule. Chances are things are pretty irregular. To establish a healthy sleeping routine, turn off all of your electronics at least 30 minutes before bed. Then, review your nighttime ritual, such as reading or meditating. This signals your brain that it’s time to relax and prepare for a restful night of sleep.

4. Exercise. Not only is exercise good for your physical health, but it can also benefit your mental health. Exercising gives you an outlet to relieve stress through. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, jogging and swimming have proven to be especially effective at reducing stress levels. To avoid stress from the beginning, aim for about 30 minutes of moderate activity per day, five days a week.

5. Eat. Even your diet can impact how your body absorbs and responds to stressful situations. Eating fresh, whole foods can keep your body energized and well-fueled, so you can respond to stress naturally. On the other hand, stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine tend to amplify stress, interfere with sleep and worse the effects on your body. If you want to reduce stress in your life, investigate the foods and drinks you consume.

6. Ask. Ultimately, if you find yourself constantly stressed without any apparent solution, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lots of people experience stress, so there is no shame in recognizing a need for support. Talk with your friends and family about your experiences, or seek out guidance from a professional counselor. Not only will he or she provide a listening ear, but they will also have personal insight to help you better combat stress.

At one point or another, all of us experience stress. This is why the April was dedicated as Stress Awareness Month. This month, take time to focus on any stress you experience and consider how best to reduce it. Not only will you feel healthier mentally and physically, but your life will be impacted for the better.