Artists & Mental Health Practices
By Quinn Fati
Photos by Kate Russell
Published Issue 113, May 2023
How some Meow Wolf artists take care of themselves, both inside and out.
To say I am grateful for the sun being out longer, the weather getting warmer, and more opportunities presenting themselves for me to stretch out over a flat surface in the sun like a lizard on a rock would be an understatement. Spring brings sprouting flowers and trees; the cactus outside of my house begins growing tuna; my allergies get worse, but that’s okay because the days are longer and the sun is brighter. It’s really wild how much being in the sun and being in a body of water during the hotter days resets my brain in a positive way.
Artists tend to analyze their own feelings and reinterpret them through a physical form. We have a reputation for being sensitive, and that reputation is absolutely true. We work at least 20 jobs in order to propel ourselves into being shown, being successful, and/or becoming shareable on IG stories for 24 hours. It’s a lot more work than what we often reveal, and in order to get that work done we have to stay on top of our game mentally. We took some time to ask around at Meow Wolf about what people do when they’re feeling poorly, and how to alleviate the gunk that sometimes coagulates in the brain-space.
Andrew Cabaniss, Data Engineering Manager
going for walks. in the neighborhood. in the park. in the desert. with a dog. with two dogs. with two dogs and my husband. seeing sky and sand and cacti and sunsets and the Halloween decorations that have been up four months at the neighbor’s and the little seeds on the monk’s pepper trees that cling on despite the wind. and occasionally seeing a person amid the concrete and rocks who wants to talk and find a friendly face in the world, even for half a minute. and feeling like there is something bigger than me in the sheer immensity of the world and the complexity of our natural and social communities.
Kati, VP, PR & Communications
I practice a modified version of the Wim Hof Method, spending a few minutes several times a week in really cold water — most often Lake Michigan from Fall to Spring. It gives me an opportunity to connect with nature while the cold forces me to slow down my thoughts and focus on my breathing. I always do it with at least one other person for safety, and we typically follow with some yoga by a roaring outdoor fire or a dance party to get our blood moving again.
Therapy, therapy, therapy and exercise! Wellbutrin helped, especially when getting through some of the worst times. Admitting to myself that I had been plagued for years allowed me to finally seek help. Admitting it to myself allowed me to admit it to others. Understanding that it isn’t something to be ashamed of — as had been pressed on me since childhood — allowed me to better understand my issues and make the needed changes. Just know you are not alone.
Cheyenne Morin, Senior Integrated Marketing Producer, @_soy_chai
When the world feels wild, I find cross-stitching to be very helpful to my mental health. Focusing on a small detail like filling in a single square at a time with color helps keep my mind from spiraling and reminds me that my problems are just like those little squares — one small piece of a larger, beautiful design.
Sara Pecora, Executive Assistant
I love to take hot baths — focusing on the warmth helps to distract me from difficult feelings. I also try to make one of my favorite meals. It doesn’t have to be a big, elaborate, or time-consuming one; after all, even basic cooking can be hard with depression and/or executive dysfunction. But any sort of meal you love can be comforting on hard days.
Dave Jasmon, Brand Content Manager
Meditation, or at least slow, focused breathing. Walking/jogging with headphones (any exercise is helpful, even stretching). Playing repetition-based games. For me, it’s all about reclaiming control of my body. My biggest issues are anxiety and PTSD, and both cause a great deal of physical symptoms that feel completely unconscious. So whether it’s fighting hyperventilation, releasing endorphins, or calming my brain, these are the methods that I find consistently helpful. Oh, and talking to someone about it! Professional or otherwise. Bad thoughts grow and spread like bacteria when we keep a lid on them. Set those fuckers free!
Allyson Lupovich, Director of Brand Content, @alupovich
I started bird watching seven years ago when I was struggling with being in the present moment and being pulled in an infinite amount of directions. Over time, from going on many walks in nature, I’ve developed my own secret friendship with birds. There is something so meditative and forcibly selfless to be able to identify different birds, and even wonder what it would be like to live within their version of the time continuum. It gets me out of my head, and I think has lowered my blood pressure.
Monique Griffin, Sr. Communications Manager, @MelizabethGr
Reading, jigsaw puzzles, stretching, long shower, watching animal videos on YouTube, playing with my cat, coloring, getting outside for some fresh air and vitamin D, meditation, CBD, organizing or cleaning some small area for a feeling of accomplishment and some distraction, playing video games, easy at-home facials — like sheet masks.
Journaling takes the conversation you are having with different parts of yourself in your own brain out of your head and onto the page. When you give those parts voice and read them back you can see that you, the reader, are NOT those voices — at least not entirely — but you are something else, the observer. This gives you space from the emotional weight of those voices and allows for more discernment and clarity around how to move forward. As the observer, your emotions don’t need to drive you; instead you can put them in the passenger seat and be a friend to them while YOU take the wheel.
Anna Isenberg, Visitor Services Coordinator
I try not to isolate myself. I reach out to people who I feel safest around and just spend time with people. I know my own brain, and sometimes reaching out when I’m having a hard time is hard in itself, but there are people that I have standing weekly plans with and knowing, “Oh, I’m going to hang out with this person on Fridays,” it helps take a lot of the effort of that initial reach out off my plate. “Journaling” is good too, I put it in quotes because it’s usually just in the form of shitposting on my finsta, but shouting out into the void is pretty powerful.
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