H-Town Run Tourist's Guide to Mental Health

Feel like a kid again with community art

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

Last week, I gave my 9 recommendations to de-stressing. Because mindfulness has to be practiced every day, this week, I decided to try Hack #9 "Try Something New.". Because one of my super-powers is being at the right place at the right time, I just so happened to know of a community art project with some big time local artists.

Nicola Parente and Tami Moschioni, founders of Art Uniti, are creating a new art project and needed help. I have helped on community art projects before. My tourists and I worked closely with artist Carol Simon on "First Ward is Blooming." We painted up-cycled water bottles and cut them up like flowers. It was a perfect way to chill out after work. The project took 9 months to finish and when we did, we were all proud of our "flower garden." I had been looking for a new one since and I finally found it.

Houstonians' gifts of creativity.

Author's own

We met at the Baker Ripley Leonel Castillo Community Center in Near North Houston. I was so happy that 20 of my tourists came to help. Nicola briefs everyone first:

"This community project is called Snapshot. It is a permanent installation made of steel that will perfectly frame the view of downtown Houston. There will be a spot to stand and take your selfie with the perfectly framed skyline behind you. Hence, the name Snapshot. The frame will be sitting on top of a pedestal covered with tile designs. That is where you come in. Each one of you has a setting in front of you and a bowl of tiles. You are free to design anyway you want, just stay in the lines."

It was heads down as everyone set to making their tile designs. I decided to do a Blue Tile design to depict the first street signs of Houston. You know the ones that are found on the curbs. It seemed like a breeze until my fingers got too big.

The Taylor Family spending some quality time together.

Author's own

I listened to the conversations being had. Everyone talked about when they were kids and how they loved to paint and color. Everyone was asking questions about the person next to them. The children, in the room, were all of a sudden treated like the authorities on creativity. But, not one was talking about bills or gossip. Mission accomplished. That is exactly what I wanted.

Mother and daughter, Bobby and Rachel had a gloomy week and felt inspired and uplifted while working on their tiles. Rachel was stressed about her pre-calculus final and wanted to spend time with her mom. Gillian and Tracey moved here a few months ago. Gillian works from home and sometimes can get lonely and Tracey travels a lot for work. Both were excited to do something different and get out.

Artists Nicola Parente and Tami Moschioni hold a mock-up of Snapshot.

Author's own

Now, I bet you are thinking "What is Art Uniti?" Nicola feels that being creative is a huge component to mental health. It makes him happier and he wanted to share it with others. Because they know how important art is, Tami and Nicola founded Art Uniti to let the community get involved in creating the public art around Houston. The community is able to gift their art to the city with the help of respected artists like Tami and Nicola. Snapshot is the fifth project from Art Uniti. Maybe you've seen these projects around the city: Community Quilt at Kroger at Riverstone Sugarland, Color Bursting in Hermann Park, and Scaped Senses across from Moody Park. Unfortunately, community involvement on Snapshot is closed, but I will definitely keep you posted about new projects.

Courtney Bell photos

If you're already bored of being at home, and your couch is sunken in from binge watching all the shows you had on your must watchlist… then we're in the same boat. I know exercising isn't always the most fun thing to do, but when you are sick of being cooped up inside, we've got to get creative on how to get up and get our bodies moving. So here is a strength and conditioning workout that you can try, tips, pictures and modifications included, and no equipment needed.

Me personally, when I'm working out, I'm not a huge fan of timed interval workouts, (the 45 seconds of work, 10 second rest ones). I'm more a fan of at your own pace/goal achieved workouts, where you write it out, it's usually in a certain number of rounds or blocks, get to it, knock it out and then it's over.

Today's workout is going to consist of a quick warm up, 1 circuit round with an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) to finish.

(See photos below for instructions).

Warm up:

Windmill Twist (10 each side)

Inchworms (10) *Challenge- add push up once you are fully extended in plank

Bicycles (20 each leg) *Tip- try and get your shoulder to your knee, not your elbow. Keep your elbow back.

Round 1:

-3 rounds

Pushup series (5 each side) *Modify: Drop to knees when doing push-ups

Double Lunges (10 each side) *Tip: make sure to push off when lunging back from your forward lunge. Challenge- If you have weights, grab and hold at your sides or at chest.

Wipers (10 each side) *Modify: bend knees when dropping to each side. Challenge- Add hip thrust in the middle between each drop.

Squat + Rotation (10 each side) *Tip: Make sure body weight stays in your heels when squatting & you use your hamstrings to bring you up from the squat, NOT your knees! Challenge- If you have any weights or heavy objects, grab and hold in the center of your chest while you squat and rotate.

AMRAP for 15 min:

Shoulder Taps (10 each side) *Modify: Drop to knees when doing shoulder taps. Make sure hips stay squared to the floor, try not to turn them.

Skaters (10 each side) *Modify: step instead of hop, reach out instead of down to your toe.

Half Burpees (10) *Modify: Step instead of jump. Tip- stay in a squat when you come up from plank, no jump like a full burpee.

Full Body Sit Ups (10) *Modify: Crunch up to the ceiling instead of reaching your toes. Challenge- Grab a weight or heavy object, hold at chest and press up with hands after full sit body up.


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