Staff at the Royal Free Hospital demonstrated their creative sides at mindfulness workshops that had a playful twist.

The free ‘art for mindfulness’ sessions attracted staff from all over hospital including nursing staff, a chaplain, volunteers, a bereavement midwife, and patient safety managers. With no prior art experience, they created beautiful ‘mandalas’ - circular patterns - on recycled vinyl records using paint pens.

Staff spoke about their inspiration and how it made them feel. 

Denis Sellu, head of patient safety and risk, said: “Yellow is my favourite colour – it reminds me of flowers and life. I look for uplifting things, especially in winter.”

Monica Del Olmo, a bereavement midwife, said: “I started with pinks and blues, probably because I work in maternity!”

Paula Griffith, a senior education nurse, said: “I just switched off and drew. It was really relaxing. I would strongly advise other staff to attend and have already told other members of my team to have a go.”

Developed by Claire Carson, head of chaplaincy and spiritual care for the trust, and led by Jacqueline Kottler, an art therapy volunteer, sessions were set up to give staff a break away from work, experience some breathing space and do something creative and enjoyable.

Jacqueline said: “It’s a wonderful way for staff to take a moment for their wellbeing – doing something without words, an easy task where mistakes don’t matter. You can be present, and get into a meditative state creating repetitive patterns”.

An added bonus is that those attending don’t need to be 'arty' to enjoy the sessions.

Jacqueline explained: “If you can draw a line or draw a circle that’s all you need - that and an open mind. It’s about the process and enjoying the moment, rather than the end product. I see how hard people work here, and even if you just do it for 20 minutes, it’s important to take time for yourself because everyone needs it.”