DETROIT – Are you stressed? Get clayed. That’s how I chose to deal with the isolation and strain of covering a pandemic for TV news. I call it my COVID Clay-cation stress management program.
What I discovered as a whim was a sense of deep peace and even joy every time I touched clay.
I want to share with you how I used creativity to stay mentally fit and emotionally healthy at a time when everything hurts as a journalist. In hopes, I can inspire and be inspired when you reach back and tell me your stories of how you’re creatively coping with COVID.
To challenge myself, I took on a gigantic project for a beginner, creating a ceramic fireplace surround.
Emily Barr is the President and CEO of Graham Media, the parent company of Local 4. She manages seven stations and two digital media entities. She sees the heavy lift to cope every day, and she is shoulder-deep in what it takes to cover a pandemic.
“We’re dealing with a lot of layers of stress that are kind of new, and I think COVID put it all over the top,” Barr said.
And it’s through that unique perspective she sees the need to find relief from stressful times. However, you can get it whether you are a reporter, producer, photographer, assignment editor, butcher, baker, or candlestick maker.
“We’re not the only ones; journalists are not the only ones feeling the stress,” Barr said. “The whole is feeling the stress. We just have to report on it, and we have to come out and put that camera and microphone in front of people’s faces and say, ‘how are you feeling?’ That’s a hard thing to do over and over again. Each time you do, it takes a little bit out of you, so you have to find a new way to refill your bucket.”
And so tonight, we begin a four-part series for WDIV Insiders from my messy kitchen slash ceramics studio.
It’s part survival story, part love story, and part do-it-yourself how-to for a pretty daunting art-therapy project. How does it all turn out? Even I don’t know yet because it’s not finished. We’ll find out together.
Read: Watch Part 1 of Paula Tutman’s ceramics series: Finding inspiration -- A love story