My favorite way to release stress is through art. My first degree was a focus in art therapy and although I did not pursue it and actually become an art therapist (because I am way too sensitive and ended up sobbing along with my first patients) I still use art as a form of therapy for myself and a way to have fun and brighten up my days.
I make stuff all the time.
When I’m happy when I’m sad when I’m angry, or if I need a personalized gift for someone. The process of creating puts me in a different state of mind, as my art therapy teacher always said, it’s about the process, not the finished product. So if you shy away from art because you’re a little “art challenged” have no fear! I started out drawing bad stick figures, but it makes me happy and nothing can quite match the feeling of making something with your own two hands.
These are my latest greatest crafting go to. The best part of these is that you don’t need to have any previous art experience, all you need to do is buy some beads, they are very affordable by the way, and a perler board. You can google perler bead patterns for almost anything that you want to try out. They have all kinds of designs already out there. You can also make your own designs, but make sure that it’s a small picture as the more detail you put into it, the more involved it will become. Next, make your design and then you simply place one of the ironing sheets on top and iron one side. Put a book on top of it so that it doesn’t curl up and once it’s cooled flip it over and iron the other side. You’re done, you made that! You can make these into necklaces, bracelets, magnets, hair pins, literally whatever you want. Or you can just leave it as is and look at it from time to time.
You don’t have to be the next Van Gogh, but the next time you’re at a craft store check their canvas section. I usually wait till the packages of canvases are on sale and then I buy a lot. A lot. And occasionally my family and I will just have a paint day, I just bought big tubes of red, yellow, blue, and white and just go to town. It’s even more fun when you’re mixing the colors yourself. Again, don’t worry about it being perfect. Have fun, get messy with your family or friends. You don’t have to wait for a painting event to paint, have stuff on hand at home so you can paint whenever the mood strikes you!
There are few things more relaxing than kneading stuff to me. I don’t know why, if its homemade bread or clay it’s just fun! Polymer clay is great for detailed work if you’d like to make small figures, charms, or jewelry I would highly recommend it. Regular polymer clay will have to be baked in an oven when you’re finished though, that is a downside. Recently, I discovered air dry polymer clay which is even better!
There is also regular air dry clay that can get quite messy and squishy, but sometimes you can just let it all out into the clay and pound it out if you don’t like it. The best part of air dry clay is that you can just add some water if you want to keep working and not let it dry out. I don’t recommend very tiny pieces with regular air dry clay as it tends to crack and isn’t very sturdy. But this is great for large pieces. There are also various clays that you can make yourself at home and be even more efficient.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but it is the main way that I relieve stress and center myself when I need to just kick back and relax. You don’t have to get really crazy with it either if you’ve got a piece of paper and a pen or pencil you can just go at it and have fun. Again, don’t critic yourself heavily! The point of it is to relax, not to stress yourself out more. If you like doodling, then doodle. Do whatever type of art form that makes you happy, everyone needs a lot more relaxing in their lives. So relax and try to have some fun!