We all know that life can be busy and stressful, and most of us had that feeling of starting to burn out. When that happens for me, I love to stop, take a moment, and turn to culture.  


Whether it’s sitting and staring at a great painting in a gallery, losing myself in a piece of video art, being transported by an action film, or emotionally captivated by a piece of live theatre. This is where I find my renewal, my restoration and replenishment. 


There is something about experiencing culture that frees me from myself and transcends my every day. I can see myself from a different perspective, laugh, and be someone else just for a moment. 


I used to get really hung up about what was “high culture” and “low culture”, but now I’ve learnt that it all has its place. The “stupid” TV show you watched at the end of the day is no less valuable than that great piece of art that you go back to time and time again in the gallery. They all play a different role in restoring ourselves. 


There are times in your life when you don’t want to be challenged and just want to relax! Television is perfect for this. There are times when you need to be soothed, or energised, and here movies are ideal. Then there are the times you need to something provocative to take you out of your comfort zone. In these situations, an exhibition at the Museum or a play is just the ticket. All forms of culture play their part. For me, what’s important is remembering that culture is where I find this renewal. 


Whilst I am mostly a consumer of culture, I do find that creating it can be even more restorative. The act of making something from nothing, taking raw materials and creating something which is either beautiful or useful (or both if you’re lucky!) is a wonderful thing. It builds your soul in a way that is hard to explain. Although it can certainly be frustrating, in the end it’s so rewarding to actually make something yourself. It gives you a sense of achievement, and that intangible sense of expressing oneself. 


In the past I’ve given painting a go (a disaster); been a knitter (not bad at all); tried amateur theatre (much harder than it looks) and writing poetry (hard to judge how I went with that one!). Luckily, all of them were fun to try; all of them fed my soul, and all of them had a season. 


Culture’s gift (haiku): 

Light pours, cascading 

All around me, quenching 

My parched thirsty soul. 


This piece was written by one of the ICLA eFriend Peer Support Workers. eFriend is an online platform where you can connect with a trained peer support worker whom has their own lived experience of feeling lonely, isolated, stressed or worried. You can speak to your eFriend Peer via video or phone call. Your eFriend Peer will listen, validate and provide hope. If you like, they can also assist you to identify any other services you may like to try or help you create plans to improve your personal well-being. Or they can simply listen.

To book your first call visit: https://my.efriend.org.au/preregistration/