Unplug and paint

August 18, 2023

I recently received an email from a friend and fellow botanical artist in which she said that she had become so distressed and disgusted at the political news currently on the airwaves, that she’d decided that painting was to be her sanctuary. She called it “unplug and paint.”

This is good advice, particularly for those of us fortunate enough to have a sanctuary like botanical art—a place to tune out the turbulent world and immerse ourselves in something peaceful, beautiful, satisfying, and productive.

The debilitating impact of the depressing negativity euphemistically promoted as “news,” has long been understood. For instance, In 2014, psychologist Guy Winch, published self-care tips under the title “What to do when the news cycle is affecting your mental health.”

Winch’s three tips are well worth implementing:

  1. Set limits on how much news you’re going to consume. 15 minutes a day is a good limit to set yourself.
  2. Skip the graphic details. You want to be informed about what’s going on, not overwhelmed.
  3. Know when to take a break. If the news is making you angry, anxious, or depressed—step away.

When you implement these tips, you’re going to have to find something else to do with the time you’ll no longer be spending in front of a screen. You’ll need a sanctuary. This is where your botanical art comes in.

Unplug and paint.