A Few Things That Helped People Get Through 2020 It was a tough year. NPR's Morning Edition asked what helped get you to 2021. Some people turned to art or letter writing. And others found escape by following a steer named Crouton online.

What Got Us Through 2020? For Many, It Was Hobbies, Relationships And 4-Legged Pals

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

This week, we've been asking you, our listeners, what got you through a challenging year. For some of you, it was either discovering or reigniting a creative streak.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Anjali DasSarma is a senior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She's been working on an acrylic painting for the past nine months, which helps her recall her recent study abroad.

ANJALI DASSARMA: I'm using this as a way to recall some of the beauty that I saw when I had that freedom of being able to go wherever I wanted.

FADEL: When she paints, she plays music from the band Beach House in the background. And that time - it's allowed her to find solace in the things that she can control and create.

DASSARMA: This should be sort of a time of coming into my own. And one of the things I like the most about making art and about painting is that you have the control of the paintbrush, and you have the control of how it'll turn out.

INSKEEP: If you're looking for a little more control, DasSarma has some advice.

DASSARMA: I would suggest to everyone to sort of be able to put their phone down and just enjoy the feeling of creation.

INSKEEP: But unlike DasSarma, siblings Maggie Slepian and Harry Wolfson-Slepian needed their phones to give them that nudge to create.

MAGGIE SLEPIAN: I had one drawing that was a 40-hour drawing that I worked with over FaceTime with Harry for weeks and weeks this summer.

FADEL: They live more than 2,000 miles away from each other. Maggie lives in Bozeman, Mont., Harry in Somerville, Mass. And after Maggie lost her job early in the pandemic, she and Harry turned to FaceTime, so they could draw together.

HARRY WOLFSON-SLEPIAN: It was a great opportunity to kill two very important birds with one stone.

INSKEEP: Harry says those weekly video calls and drawing sessions brought the siblings closer together.

SLEPIAN: But how much drawing have we done? We've done so much drawing together.

WOLFSON-SLEPIAN: And how much time have we spent together? A lot (laughter).

INSKEEP: Maggie says the calls pushed her to draw for the first time in years and made her realize it was something that she missed.

FADEL: Both of the siblings studied art in college, so this isn't the first time they've drawn together. Maggie remembers those times when she'd return to their family home and go to a museum to sketch together with Harry.

SLEPIAN: Harry and I, feel like, have always had a really special connection with art. Reconnecting with that would not have happened without the pandemic.

FADEL: Those were the voices of Maggie Slepian, Harry Wolfson-Slepian and Anjali DasSarma. They all found solace in art, something they plan to continue into the new year.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEACH HOUSE SONG, "SPACE SONG")

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