Over the past few months, many of us have experienced high levels of stress and distress. We’ve been thrown out of our routines. We’ve worried about loved ones who are sick and grieved those we’ve lost. We’ve faced trauma and grief over racial injustice and the devastating loss of many Black lives.
In a humble response to these high levels of stress, trauma and grief, the Lifeology team partnered with Dr. Natalia Peart and illustrator Jordan Hunter to create an illustrated mini-course about how to strive for mental wellness in these troubling times. This resource was created with Black individuals and communities in mind, but is relevant for all of us. It is beautifully written and illustrated to feature Black voices and faces and to help us all understand why it is that we are so stressed these days, and how to grow as we move forward.
The mini-course is published under a CC-BY-SA license.
About the mini-course, by Dr. Natalia Peart
I was excited to be a part of this project for a few reasons. Given that we are living in extraordinary times, as a psychologist, I know how important this topic of stress, burnout, and mental health and wellness is that we are all grappling with. But also, as a woman of color, the issues of safety and our health that have taken center stage through the Black Lives Matter movement is deeply personal.
This course was an opportunity to take all of the big, complex challenges of this moment, and not just reflect what we are all experiencing without the shame that often accompanies talking about mental health and wellness, but instead, provide real solutions to build mental resilience so that we can see a way forward and thrive in the face of the obstacles we’re experiencing right now. So, for me, what was critical in creating this course, was helping everyone see that they are not alone. It was also important to give people solutions that they can incorporate in their lives right now and show them ways to control what they can. It was important to help people find the light within, the inspiration that can carry them forward.
About the illustrations, by Jordan Hunter
“This project was an exceptionally valuable experience, allowing me to explore some new visual directions and giving me a unique opportunity to focus on my own mental health through my work.”
I’m an Illustrator and Graphic Designer based in Glasgow, Scotland. I primarily work in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, concentrating on characterisation and narrative, in addition to logo and brand development roles.
The topic of this course resonated personally with me, as a black visual artist. Throughout lock-down, like many people of color, I have been made to reflect on modern racial tensions. While social media has been a crucial outlet for many, the inundation of news, and the increased pressure to personally validate and examine Black identities, can be trying. While most people are experiencing a great number of stresses due to lock-down and subsequent financial woes, for people of color these issues have been compounded, woven with generational and contemporary traumas. For this reason, I appreciated the opportunity to contribute to a resource that might benefit and support those who have been similarly struggling.
My process began with some quick storyboarding, allowing me to establish some basic visual language and organize my thoughts. For the most part, my illustrations are drawn by hand, and then coloured and composited digitally. I immediately knew that, because of the number of images, I wanted to maintain some cohesion through a consistent use of specific colours. These elements of visual style evolved slightly, and felt increasingly successful as I continued to draw. Overall, the project was an exceptionally valuable experience, allowing me to explore some new visual directions and giving me a unique opportunity to focus on my own mental health through my work.