In Fall 2021, the Jewish Teen Initiative (JTI) at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and BaMidbar launched a nine-month Mental Health and Wellness Track of the JTI Peer Leadership Fellowship. The teen fellowship cohort focused on peer engagement through a mental health and wellness lens, culminating in community projects. Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, stay tuned to BaMidbar and JTI as we share their projects related to mental health awareness and stigma reduction.
By Sarah Marmor
Life is stressful and we all know it. We go through ups and downs, good times and bad. Do you ever wonder if there could be a better way of coping with your mental health? I’m a Junior in high school. I like to watch Netflix, hang out with friends, and play sports – the normal teenage things.
Like most teens, I have bad days when my mind won’t stop racing, my hands won’t stop shaking and I just can’t calm down. It took me a while to figure out what coping mechanism would help me relax and cool off. Sometimes all I needed was fifteen minutes to calm down. While experimenting with different coping mechanisms I learned that drawing, painting and coloring helped tremendously.
When I started doing this I had a love-hate relationship with it, because I thought every picture and drawing had to be perfect. This resulted in me becoming more stressed, something I didn’t want.Then something changed. My mom came into my room one day and started raving about how she loved the drawing I was working on. At first, I thought she was joking but eventually she got through to me and to this day it is still hanging up on the fridge. This was the turning point for me. After this I was able to use drawing, painting and coloring to my advantage.
Now when I am at school and am having a hard time I will just doodle on the corner of my sheet. When I’m at home and everything feels overwhelming, I’ll take a break and color on an intricate pattern. I use drawing, painting and coloring as a way for my brain to put all my ideas into a big creative masterpiece. The outcome leaves me feeling less agitated and more relaxed.
Try some coloring for yourself!
Sarah Marmor is a junior at the Advanced Math and Science Academy, where she is involved in French Club, Student council and enjoys playing ice hockey. Sarah is a member of Beth Tikvah Synagogue, spends her summers at Camp Young Judaea and has a 75-pound puppy named Oakley.