Health & wellness make for better artists & designers

Healthy creativity is about embracing the notion that successful artists and designers need more than technical skill and conceptual prowess. They need balance and a sense of wellness. At Columbus College of Art & Design, that means arming our students with the tools to mentally, financially, and physically thrive, which, in turn, leads to creative excellence. We’re also using our institutional voice to challenge the cultural narrative and encourage society to support environments that ensure wellness far beyond CCAD.

Healthy creativity is a community-wide effort

When it comes to healthy creativity, our faculty and staff aren’t just talking the talk, they’re walking the walk. (In some cases, literally.) From yoga to weightlifting, meditation to swimming, gardening to walking—and, oh yeah, getting plenty of sleep—our faculty have adopted healthful practices that keep them mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. In addition to making them more balanced as individuals and professionals, our faculty and staff are great role models for our students.

Gen Z is a generation under pressure

Today’s students are driven, talented … and faced with pressure like never before. Gen Z is stressed out, and that stress can lead to mental and physical health challenges. Not to mention, “no sleep” and “crunch culture” have emphasized short-term production at the expense of long-term wellness and the highest levels of creative pursuit. For instance:

Gen Z feels an incredible amount of pressure:

According to national studies, Gen Z (born between about 1995 and 2015) feels an incredible amount of pressure—significantly more than previous generations. Pressure to do well in school (97%), pressure to be healthy (86%), pressure to be more self-reliant (82%), and pressure to stay positive and upbeat (79%).

Stress → mental & physical health challenges for Gen Z:

We’re seeing an increase in mental health challenges across the country. The political climate, headlines, money, work, and school are stressing out Gen Z more than previous generations. More than nine in 10 Gen Z adults (91%) said they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom because of stress, reported the American Psychological Association

Rates of depression and suicide are skyrocketing:

In an article in The Atlantic called “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” Jean Twenge notes skyrocketing rates of teen depression and suicide since 2011, saying this generation is “on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.”

A “no sleep” culture has negative impacts on education & creativity:

There’s an epidemic of a “no sleep culture” in higher ed today. Too little sleep is as bad as too much alcohol for students’ grades. And, these issues are even more pressing for art and design students as sleep “doesn’t just preserve our memories; it can transform them in a process linked to creativity, according to a study out of Brazil, which found that during REM sleep neural processes not only strengthen connections between neurons but also reorganize them,” wrote Arianna Huffington in her book, The Sleep Revolution.

This is a place where students thrive

At CCAD, we understand that wellness is holistic, and healthy creativity helps our students destress and thrive, leading better lives as artists and designers and as human beings. Here are some of the ways we celebrate and support healthy creativity across our campus, including holding a student-led, campuswide digital detox day, hosting student organizations such as Plant Club, and planning workshops such as the multiweek Mind Body Stress Reduction series for students.