13 Feb Art Therapy: How to Find Your Creative Outlet & Use it to De-Stress (+51 Ideas!)
I’ll never complain about an opportunity to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life, and immerse myself in a creative activity. In fact, I look forward to it each and every weekend! Getting stuck into an art or DIY activity can be incredibly relaxing, and a fantastic method to reduce stress. In this post I’ll share with you the benefits of getting creative and the therapeutic effects it can have on your body, mind and soul. If you’re not sure of where or what to start with, I’ll provide some tips on picking the perfect creative activity for you. I’ll also share with you my very favorite creative activity and a little bit about how you too can get started today.
How can being creative help reduce stress?
Over the past decade, health psychologists have begun looking at how the arts might be used in a variety of ways to heal emotional injuries, increase understanding of oneself and others, develop a capacity for self-reflection, reduce symptoms, and alter behaviors and thinking patterns (Source: PubMed).
Being a corporate advisor by day, I need to engage in activities that help me switch off when I’m not at work, so painting in particular is especially cathartic for me (a little more on painting a little further down the post)! If you have a challenging job that you have trouble winding down from, picking a creative outlet to start playing around with might be just the medicine you need to switch off. Or, if you’re not feeling stimulated or satisfied from your day job- it’s a great way to offset the boredom that often breeds frustration.
How to decide on your creative outlet
This is where things begin to get a little fun. Although some pretty traditional creative ideas might come to mind – like painting or writing- there are some off-the-beaten-track ideas like creating/documenting new recipes or refurbishing furniture that you might get more joy out of. It’s about understanding what can best fit into your lifestyle. To help understand what might be best for you, I’ve developed a simple method and some questions to ask yourself, to help guide your thinking.
How to Pick the Perfect Creative Outlet for You
Using the 51 Creative Outlet Ideas below:
1. Highlight the ideas that you would LOVE to try
2. Cross out the ideas that you can’t stand the sound of
3. Think about when you might fit the creative activity in to your lifestyle. Would you have some alone time on the weekend, early mornings or evenings you can use for a creative activity? If not, do you need to find a creative activity that you can enjoy either with kids, your partner, or a friend? After thinking of these things – Circle the ideas that you believe you could make time for.
4. Now – cross out the ideas that aren’t practical or possible – ideas that you may not be able to get the resources for, that cost too much, or are just generally not practical.
What you have left are some ideas to work with!
(Psst… Hover over me!)
51 Creative Outlet Ideas
Acrylic paints on canvas
Make greeting cards
Digital painting (Photoshop or Corel Painter)
Sewing clothes from patterns
Create and document new recipes
Design and make fascinators
Film and edit a YouTube video
Make infused oils
Build a herb garden
Make sculptures from clay
My Favorite Creative Outlet
One of my very favorite creative outlets is digital painting! And I got started with software that’s easy to get, and even completely free, that you can download to your free painting smartphone and tablet. You might be surprised to know you too can get started right away, and create paintings that you can then print to ready-to-hang, mounted canvas or fine art paper for framing.
I got started with Corel Painter Mobile which is currently available for Android devices. It’s quite fun to play around with the different brushes and different colours – without any of the cleanup! (The ability to ‘undo’ is also particularly handy). And, if you create something that you love, you can visit an online canvas printing shop to have your masterpiece printed to canvas.
All that’s left now is to pick your creative outlet and build it into your lifestyle. I hope this post today has given you some inspiration to get started, find your little piece of Zen, and begin reducing stress.
Is there anything on the list that you can’t wait to get started on?