Frontliner Elena Stokes Combats Stress With Art

Frontliner Elena Stokes Combats Stress With Art

“Even before COVID-19, I would often turn to art to keep me grounded and positive,” says Elena Stokes, a cardiology technologist working at the Vancouver General Hospital in Canada.

“Working in the hospital has always been rewarding as it’s really gratifying to help people. One of my favourite things to do is to bring an extra copy of the ECG report and cut it into a heart shape and give it to a child once they’ve finished their test -- watching them smile when you’ve literally just given them a picture of their heart would always make me realise I picked the right career.”

“Even though my job is satisfying, I still feel an enormous responsibility to stay positive [for everyone]. In order to combat my daily stresses, I originally turned to art in the form of colouring books and coloured pencils. As time progressed, I tackled bullet journaling and graduated to calligraphy and watercolour.”

Elena with Hamilton, the staff therapy dog at the Vancouver General Hospital.

Art is a meditative practice.

Stress is a natural part of life, and for years now, art has helped Elena stay leveled. “I was so shy about being a bride that I even have a picture of me doodling in my sketchbook at the reception dinner,” she recalls. Recognising that her art practice is a natural way for her to meditate and bring peace to others. “I even donated an ink drawing of a hydrangea I drew and kept it framed in our department so people would feel happy even when I’m not there.”

Above art by Elena Stokes inspired by Melanie April Art.

Art blends seamlessly with life.

For Elena, the act of putting paint to paper has led to a renewed understanding and appreciation of her craft - both in the hospital and in her creative space. “Art has been a cornerstone of my mental self-care regimen. It has literally helped me help others and do my job,” reflects Elena. 

As she eases her mind creating a new piece of art every chance she gets, her practice has already begun to help imagine a better future for herself and for the people around her.

What does art do for you?

Does it help you de-stress? How does it add value to your wellbeing? Let us know in the comments below!

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