We all get stressed sometimes. Whether you’re in the middle of exams, having relationship troubles or going through a tricky period financially it’s easy to feel a bit anxious. The trick is to find healthy ways to deal with your anxiety and distress effectively.
Art has long been used as a calming and happy alternative to more destructive forms of self-help, and these days art therapy is very common. Go into any hospital, prison, school or nursing home and you’re likely to find an art therapist supporting people there. Luckily it’s also easy to do art therapy yourself at home.
Why not try some simple, creative activities to help you deal with life’s stresses and strains? Here are three easy activities to get you going.
1. Paint visual letters to people
This is a classic art therapy activity and a great place to start if you’re doing it at home. Simply get together some plain white card and whatever paints you have to hand, then start designing cards to important people in your life.
These can be messages of love and gratitude that you’ve always wanted to send, but don’t worry you don’t have to actually give them if you’re shy. Simply painting your feelings out is a therapeutic activity in itself. Just remember to be prepared for the messiness of craft activities if you do this.
For example, be sure to have paper towels to hand in case you spill paint water and know how to remove paint from clothes (if you need more info on this, click here!).
2. Make a collage
If you’re a bit intimidated by the idea of painting something or don’t have the materials to hand, why not try making a collage instead? All you need for this is a few old newspapers or magazines, scissors, glue and card. Cut out images that speak to you in some way. Maybe they represent how you’re feeling now, your emotions in the past or the place you want to get to.
Doing this activity a few times over a month can give you a clear sense of the changes in your emotional state.
3. Do some (fridge) word poetry
Finally, art therapy doesn’t have to be about pictures and images. If you’re someone who works more in language than images or simply doesn’t want to risk having to remove paint from clothes then why not try expressing your feelings in language instead?
One great way to do this is to get a set of fridge magnet poetry – those magnet word pieces that you can put together in any way you like. Try making a few compositions that express how you feel.
It doesn’t have to make sense and no one else is going to read them, all it has to do is help you unwind so write whatever you like.
Those are three simple art therapy ideas that are easy to do at home. Remember, it’s not about the quality of the work that you produce, but the way in which it helps you to deal with all the complex emotions swirling around in your head.
By working through these using painting, collage or poetry, you’ll be able to process difficult emotions and feel more in control.