Art & Self-care

or a lot of us, access to our creativity ends once art is no longer a required course in order to graduate. We hang up the markers, colored pencils, watercolor paints, and convince ourselves we’re “not very artistic,” when that actually isn’t a requirement for this form of self-expression. Studies that the levels of stress-related hormone, drastically drop when we spend time making art. Artistic or not, we all deal with stress. So maybe it’s time we explore the avenue of arts and crafts as a form of self-care.

Art therapy is a long-standing mental health practice using art materials and creative expression to treat those who experience anxiety, depression, social difficulties, or medical ailments. By creating art, no matter the skill level, we engage our mind, body, and spirit in a way that is restorative and comes with a host of benefits. Practicing art therapy helps to reduce stress and anxiety, while also increasing self-esteem.

When we create art, we’re able to look outside of ourselves and see the world around us with new eyes. We bring our attention to the piece we’re creating, or the photo we’re taking and all the details that bring it to life. It’s a low-intensity act that doesn’t leave us feeling depleted, but instead soothed and more open-minded.

In the study, highlighting how creating art lowers cortisol levels, it was uncovered that participants not only found the session relaxing and enjoyable, but also helpful in learning about new aspects of self. Without the normal constraints, they were able to indulge in a sense of flow and lose themselves in the work. Their sense of confidence was also impacted in that they left feeling interested in creating more art in the future.

Though we may not all have access to an art therapist, there are simple ways in which we can make it part of our daily lives. Here is one way to incorporating arts and crafts into your self-care routine:

Buy a paint kit or attend a paint and sip class!

Tapping into our creativity through art is also a great way to make our lives more social. We can build a connection with other like-minded individuals by joining a beginner’s art class, which can help with feelings of loneliness or social anxiety.

If you’re already content with your circle, try grabbing a friend and attending a paint and sip somewhere nearby! These sessions are generally guided by an instructor with an easy to follow piece of art, and they incorporate wine, what's not to love?!