Home Music therapy Sewing, music and weekly picnics help mental health

Sewing, music and weekly picnics help mental health


Kerry Davis sipped a beer as he stood in his neighbor’s driveway and observed the activity around him.

He watched the teenagers playing corn hole on the lawn, the friends sharing dinner from their lawn chairs they had circled under a shade tree in the park across the street, the children playing. cat on the corner, a newcomer to the … neighborhood couple walking down the street to see what was going on.

And while he thought about the the loneliness so many people have suffered in the last 18 months of this pandemic, he choked.

“People are dying for the community right now,” said Davis, a pastor from Vineyard Columbus. “In hysteria and fear, people want to be comforted and they want to be loved.”

Anna Marrison, left, shares a laugh with Molly Domanski during a Thursday night food truck dinner in their Gahanna neighborhood.  In the stroller is Judah, Anna's 6 month old daughter.  In order to build community and keep people connected, Cris Ferrante and his neighbors have held weekly food truck parties in their Gahanna neighborhood since the start of the pandemic.

And so it is that here, at the corner of River Ridge Boulevard and Woodtown Drive in Gahanna’s Bryn Mawr neighborhood, dozens of people have visited the outdoors safely every Thursday night since April. Neighbors take their dinner at a different food truck each week that parks in front of Bryn Mawr Park and safely congregate for camaraderie, friendship and fun.

Here – with Cris Ferrante’s corner home as a touchstone – people have found a way to help release their pandemic blues, leave the isolation of their homes, and help the local economy of food vendors around the world. the process.

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“It keeps people from hiding in their homes and allows us to keep a sense of community as the pandemic drags on,” said Ferrante, 61, who owns a local dance wear business and has long been known. like the party in his neighborhood. host. “It has been a positive for all of us in this pandemic. “

Thus, for 20 weeks in the summer and last fall and since April of this year, the neighborhood invites a food truck and a dessert truck to park in the street in front of the park (no municipal permit is required) every Thursday – spread out, of course – with people coming and going over time. The rallies will run until October 21.

“It’s something to look forward to every week when there hasn’t been much to look forward to,” said Andy McPeak, 41, who lives within walking distance in the nearby Rose Run neighborhood, then that he was sitting with his family and friends under that giant shade tree in the park. The three couples and their children all ate the dinner they had just bought from this Featured Food Truck Of The Night, Holy Crepes.

McPeak’s wife Angie stepped in: “And we met new friends, even some of them new to the neighborhood. Think of them, the people who moved during a pandemic and had no way of knowing anyone around us. “

Renee Sheppard serves from her Water Ice Shoppe"at a neighborhood rally in Gahanna.  In order to create a community and keep people connected, Cris Ferrante and his neighbors have organized monthly food truck parties in their Gahanna neighborhood since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

While the pandemic shows few signs of slowing down – and as experts suggest it could even worsen again as we head into the winter chill – there is a renewed focus (or may -be supported) on maintaining our morale and protecting our mental health.

Experts all agree on the basics as good practice: limit the consumption of dark news, exercise, sleep and eat well to protect your body and mind, stay in touch with others and ask for help when needed.

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The Dispatch asked a few people to share an activity that has been a saving grace to their mental health during these stressful times, something others may be able to do to help them as well.

“People couldn’t even travel to be their own families,” Ferrante said, “so making plans to do something in your neighborhood and getting to know people fills a void of loneliness.”

Pandemic sparks musical collaboration between Westgate man and New York University pal

When Ed Plunkett needs to escape pandemic stress, he heads to the basement of the family home in Westgate and picks up one of his nearly a dozen guitars.

And with each pinch and scratch, he feels a little more anxiety coming out of his brain and a little more peace slipping into his soul.

“Music brings you joy in really difficult times“said Plunkett, a 57-year-old library cataloguer at Ohio State University.” It heals because there aren’t any real mistakes. get stuck.

He’s always performed, but in April he found new joy in collaborating on old covers with a college pal who now lives near Albany, New York.

Plunkett had recorded a performance of Burt bacharach‘s “This guy is in love with you” and uploaded it to his own YouTube channel.

This old friend saw it, added drums and base to complete the song, and sent a file back to Plunkett.

Now the two are called the Jangle Brothers and have mixed (both with their own instruments and using the GarageBand digital audio app) about a dozen songs and have posted them on SoundCloud.

The ability of music to shape our mental health has long been documented by researchers. The The National Alliance for Mental Health has tons of material on the benefits to our psyche – whether to listen to music, play an instrument or compose a song.

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From an article published on the NAMI website a few years ago: “Music acts as a means of dealing with emotions, trauma and grief – but music can also be used as a regulating or calming agent of the heart. ‘anxiety …’

“Playing gives me a certain structure. I can go down and put something together and feel good, ”Plunkett said. “And with all the bullshit in the world, it can be hard to feel good about some things sometimes.”

Ed Plunkett, an Ohio State University library cataloguer, plays guitar in the basement of his home in the Westgate neighborhood.  Plunkett turned to music to get him through the seemingly endless pandemic.

Louise’s sewing studio in Powell noticed how sewing projects exploded during the COVID pandemic

Jill Elia sat down bent over a canvas and with slow, methodical precision, pulled the thread over and over again into the corner of what will become a traditional, elaborate Christmas stocking for her new grandchild.

Jill Elia, owner of Louise's Needlepoint in Powell, is working on a Christmas stocking for her youngest grandson.  Elia said embroidery as a hobby, with its calming benefits, had exploded as an outlet during the pandemic.

Repetitive point-to-point movements relax both body and mind.

Needlework (various types of embroidery and cross stitch) has exploded during the pandemic. Elia, who owns Couture from Louise to Powell, said this was for a number of reasons.

Research shows that for generations, needlework and stitching were used both to calm and heal. And Elia even brought in a local psychologist for a workshop (pre-pandemic) to explain how it works as therapy.

Jill Elia, owner of Louise's Needlepoint in Powell, is working on a Christmas stocking for her youngest grandson.

The reopening of the company brought its own stressors: “Do one thing every day that makes you feel like you are.”

“The rhythm and movement is very calming for your mind and, especially in times of great stress, it can take you to a different place,” she said.

Before the pandemic, needlework had already seen a resurgence as younger generations turned to nostalgia and traditional design and decor. (often with an irreverent twist now, though).

Thus, the pandemic has only fueled this already simmering fire.

“People were locked in and had nothing to do. You had done all the puzzles and watched all the movies and you can’t eat that much,” Eliah said. “So they looked for ways to be creative. Plus, it brings you joy once you see something you’ve done.”

Needlework ornaments at Louise's Needlepoint in Powell

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