Self-Care Jam: Games that make us happy

“Let’s make stuff that makes us happy”, wrote Jessica Hayley, the organiser of the inaugural Self-Care Jam. And this is how the Self-Care Jam was born, a one-week event which took place from 28th November through to 5th December.

Reflecting on the tough year that has been, Jessica decided to open up the Jam to creators of games, poems, comics, music, crafts, or anything else, in order to create some positivity for all involved. After a tough US election season, and amongst other negative global events, Jessica told us that she felt upset and powerless, and felt compelled to do something. Rather than creating an event that would amplify the negativity and hate, she decided the only way forward was to turn it around and give people the opportunity to create things that they could be proud of – as a form of self-care for creators and consumers alike.

When we had the wonderful chance to speak with Jessica, she told us that she believed the creation process itself could be a powerful form of self-care.

In fact, that was largely the driving idea behind the jam itself. It was partially to provide projects that could be used as self-care, but mostly for the creators themselves. By making a jam that was focused on self-care, my hope was that people would keep that in mind in their creation process and intentionally make smaller-scoped projects with minimal stress. And that seems to be what happened!

Additionally, creative works can be powerfully therapeutic for people who engage with them too, Jessica explained.

I believe creative works provide an important outlet for the emotions of the people that experience them. Drowning out the world with music, or getting lost in the story of a book or game are all things that I’ve found to be therapeutic to myself, personally, and I know I’m not the only one. Interacting with these creative projects, whatever they are, is a convenient way to share the emotional load.

From a twitter bot called Self Care Bot, by Alayna Cole, to a text adventure game called Self-Love Hotel by Malibudreamhaus, to a zine called ‘Brighter Thoughts’, by Tyu; there was a incredible breadth of creative expression. The Jam attracted lots of attention on twitter at the hashtag #selfcarejam, and in total had 37 complete entries.

We really hope that the Jam will run next year, and we at CheckPoint will certainly keep you in the loop about when and how to be a part of it! In the meantime, please take care of yourself – and maybe try a few of the fabulous self-care creations here: https://itch.io/jam/self-care-jam/entries.

Feature image credit: Garden of Calm, by Olivia.

CheckPoint Copyright 2017, ACN 612816841 ABN 50 612 816 841. We are an Australian Health Promotion Charity with TCC and DGR Status.
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