Reduce stress with these 51 Creative Ideas, Art Projects & DIY Activities
Adelaide artist Corinne creates large, beautiful fine art paintings, prints and printables available for sale, and updates her creative blog every Sunday.
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Art Therapy: How to Find Your Creative Outlet & Use it to De-Stress (+51 Ideas!)

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.

Reduce stress with these 50+ creative ideas, art projects & DIY activities

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

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

Watercolor on paper

Jewelry Making

Knitting

Cross-Stitch

Blogging

Acrylic paints on canvas

Oil painting

Fiction writing

Write poetry

Furniture refurbishing

Resin art

Make greeting cards

Digital painting (Photoshop or Corel Painter)

Sewing clothes from patterns

Create and document new recipes

Soap making

Candle making

Crochet socks

Make baby bibs

Collage

Rope basket making

Wind chime making

Make and design dream catchers

Melted crayon art

Cake baking and decorating

Flower arranging

Paper making

Make lip balms

Sugar scrub mixing

Terrarium design

Create a vertical garden

Lipstick making

Pottery

Photography

Music composition

Curtain sewing

Lamp making

Rope ottoman making

Arm knitting

Pebble matt designing

Design and make fascinators

Rehupolstering

Clockmaking

Film and edit a YouTube video

Makeup artistry

Make infused oils

Make twine lamp shades

Build a herb garden

Make sculptures from clay

Get creative with fairy lights

Adult coloring

51+ Creative Outlet Ideas to immerse yourself in and reduce stress!

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.

Getting Started

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?

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6 Comments
  • Lydia Nordhoff
    Posted at 06:10h, 14 February Reply

    This is such a great post! So true! Thank you so much for including my rope basket!

    • Corinne
      Posted at 08:34h, 14 February Reply

      Thanks so much Lydia – it’s such a beautiful idea, I can’t wait to get stuck in myself!

    • Kathryn Johnson
      Posted at 14:33h, 23 March Reply

      Corinne, thank you for this list, and the links you have! I’m disabled, and between a LOT of medical considerations, a massive set of issues with my husband’s immediate family (his dad is under end-of-life care performed at home under the auspices of Hospice) and selling our warehouse and buying a new property (yay!) and needing to be out by mid-May, actually moving out of the city and back to the country is something I’m *really* looking forward to. Having a larger craft room and studio and being surrounded by trees and greenery and fauna is, at this point for me, something even my doctors have recommended in order for me to hopefully feel better. Another facet of that is being able to spread out and unpack all of my supplies and getting back to creating! Sometimes I need a little bit of grease to prime the pump, and Art Therapy is one of the things I’ve found that helps ease my physical and emotional pain. Having a list like this is the perfect way to do that. I can look at this list and get going right away…and that is worth so much to me right now; I can’t thank you enough for providing this to us! It’s something I’ve needed and I am just overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you. G*d bless you for being so generous and kind!

      I actually followed a link from a different site to get here, but wanted to see this really cool DIY tutorial in a different link from yet another site first. I’d never been to either site before.

      Imagine my surprise when I got here after reading and bookmarking this really cool page that explained how I could use a (96¢, I believe it said…) Dollar Store laundry basket and some jute rope and a really pretty copper-looking metallic paint to make a rope basket, and discover it linked here, as well as the lady who thought it up commenting!
      I couldn’t figure out how to leave a comment there, but was going to write about how excited I am to making one, or two, or ten, of those baskets, both for myself, and for gifts. We’re moving in May, and I’ll have a much, much larger craft room/studio, so will actually have the room to work on those without having to worry about being in the way! Thank you so much for the tutorial, (and beautiful pictures!) I can’t wait to make them and try different colors and dyes and stains and well, what-have-you! Thanks and take care!

      PS: Sorry about the length of this; please believe me when I say that you two ladies have *totally* made my week! Take care!

      • Corinne
        Posted at 10:49h, 24 March Reply

        Kathryn – what beautiful words. I’m so sorry to hear of the tough times you are going through with your family, and wow – it seems like a lot is going on with you in life at the moment with the selling & purchasing of a new property! Moving out of the city to be surrounded by trees, greenery & wildlife sounds amazing. All the best for the exciting transition! Thanks for your comments – I hope you enjoy the post. Slowly over time I’ll be linking more of the suggestions into tutorials around the web. And yes – Lydia did an fantastic job with the beautiful basket idea! Bless & all the best xxx

  • Laura Radniecki
    Posted at 13:47h, 15 February Reply

    This is a great list of ideas, and also a great hobby list in general! If someone is looking for a new hobby, there’s no excuse to not try something new with all of those options!

    Thanks for including my baby bib tutorial in your list! I’m intrigued by your digital painting idea! I have an iphone but I’m guessing there must be something similar for that?

    • Corinne
      Posted at 22:19h, 16 February Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment, Laura. And yes! I’ve heard Procreate Pocket for iPhone & Procreate for iPad are the actual best for painting on the go. Good luck getting started, it really is a lot of fun!

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