It’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, and with the pandemic still very much a part of people’s lives, mental health has never been more important. And not just our own, but the mental health of those around us too.

The use of creativity and art for mindfulness has become extremely popular in recent years, and even more so over the last few months. From The One Show to Grayson Perry’s Art Club, we need only to look at our TV schedules to see the media is all about art helping us through COVID-19.

Our hugely successful charity colouring-in book Lockdown Legends originally came into being as a way for our good friend and talented local illustrator Sabina Gran to help her own mental health when she lost her income due to the pandemic.

“Having struggled with my own mental wellbeing over the last few weeks and losing my income, I hope the drawings will help to encourage positivity and mindfulness, as well as being a welcome distraction at this crazy time.”
SABINA GRAN, LOCKDOWN LEGENDS CO-CREATOR

Sabina is a huge advocate of the benefits of using creativity for mindfulness, and when she found herself stuck at home during lockdown she channeled her energy into creating some fantastic illustrations. Teaming up with PLOTT MD Anna and her team, they created the beautiful limited-edition Lockdown Legends colouring-in book to help raise vital funds for the NHS.

The books are full of our favourite COVID-19 heroes, from our NHS angels to Captain Tom Moore, Anna and Sabina have carefully selected those who have stood-up to make a difference, or to those who have given us a welcome distraction, such as Joe Exotic!

Our versatile books are helping people of all ages cope with the stress, anxiety and boredom of lockdown, allowing people to switch off from reality and bring some mindfulness into their daily routines. We’ve delivered 200 copies along with Derwent colouring-in pencils donated by art supplier, Cass Art, to the QE, Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull to be used in the wellbeing hubs to help hospital staff unwind and relax during shifts.

We’ve also delivered over 100 colouring-in books to the Arthur Terry Partnership Schools, including Coleshill, Arthur Terry, John Wilmott, Nether Stowe and Stockland Green.  They’ve been a huge hit with the teachers and parents as much as the kids!

Finally this week, we are delivering copies to our friends at YMCA Sutton Coldfield, Wyndley Care Home and to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. We have allocated some free copies for other causes, so please get in touch if you’d like a few copies.

“I’ve battled on and off with my mental health for several years, and I’ve found the Lockdown Legends colouring-in book to be a great way to switch off from the world. It allows me to focus on myself for a while, and it really helps.”
ASHLEY ARMSTRONG, PLOTT WEB DEVELOPER

If you’re struggling with lockdown anxiety, set some time aside in your day to prioritise your mental health and give something creative a go!

The science behind it says – due to its basic, repetitive motions, colouring engages parts of the cerebral cortex while relaxing the amygdala, the brain’s fear centre, and done regularly can significantly lower levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms. So there you have it!

If you fancy your own copy of LOCKDOWN LEGENDS colouring-in book, it costs £10 + £2.95 postage and is available to buy via PLOTT or through the Hospital Charity website. Or they can be picked up from Anna’s house in Sutton Coldfield, her office in Coleshill or Sabina’s house in Appleby Magna.

You’ll be doing something great for charity too – every penny raised from the sale of Lockdown Legends goes directly to University Hospitals Birmingham Charity’s NHS ‘Superheroes Fund’.

If you want to find out more about Lockdown Legends, why not get in touch with Anna on anna@plottcreative.co.uk.