With the semester drawing close to November break, it is prime time for the exams, papers, and presentations to pile on. The stress of it all can be overwhelming, and sometimes even discouraging. When panic and fear strike, you know it is time to check in with yourself, asses your mental health and find ways to control theseconsumingfeelings. Fear not, as someone who lives with anxiety, I can tell you that the moment will pass, and the panic will fade. I have compiled a list of ways I reduce my stress level specifically through art.
Now let’s get creative!!
Coloring is such a great and cute way to relieve small stresses, easily in your dorm or at the library. It is not messy and can be very cost effective, especially for the college kid budget- a diet of ramen and with a side of student loans.
You can find coloring books with intricate designs for as low as five dollars at the dollar store, 5 Below, and even on the Barnes and Nobles’ sale rack. As for colored pencils, they vary in price and quality and can be found at all of the above retailers and more; my personal favorites are watercolor colored pencils, they glide across the page so nicely! Coloring can really be a great way of redirecting your focus and breathing on something else while it gives your brain the break it needs to recover.
Method 2- Painting:
This method is a little messier but can still be done in within a dorm room or even outside if weather permits and you’re feeling like you need some time away from the small room we call home for 9 months. This method can be cost efficient, especially if you split the price of a pack of canvas, paint, and brushes between friends; added stress relief by hanging out with friends. There is not right or wrong way to paint, use the brushes, painting knives, or even your fingers, express yourself in your unique way. If you’re in need of some inspiration, throw on a Bob Ross painting tutorial and follow along! If you’re more of the abstract type of art below is a link I use to generate palettes to see what colors go well together:
Grab your brushes and start painting on that canvas, big or small, let your stress leave you as you fill the blank space with color!
Method 3- Tie Dye
This method can get a little messy so please use caution when creating; do not begin to tie dye without covering anything in the vicinity that you don’t want stained including yourself and your clothes! If you decide to remain in your dorm while doing this project, I would suggest grabbing a plastic bag, rip it open and tape it down on the floor to use as a tarp on a budget! Once the area is protected you are all set to go, grab your old white t-shirt with the dominos stains or some plain white socks, scrunchies, headbands, or tube tops and go ahead and make them funky!
Tie dye kits are available at stores such as Walmart, 5 Below, Target, an Amazon. Be sure to read the instructions on how to mix the dye and stain the article of clothing, avoid using materials such as wool or silk as your base.
Below I have attached a link of video tutorials that I have used that include what you’ll need and how to tie dye:
Tie dying is a bit more extensive than the above-mentioned methods, but definitely a good stress reliever.
These methods are especially effective after a long week of exams, almost tripping on the way to class and losing money to the evil vending machines that always get stuck, because let’s face it, stuff happens, and even something small like not getting the fruit snacks you paid for can really add to your everyday stressors.
Self-love, and checking up on your mental health is extremely important to ones wellbeing. By practicing and advocating for an assessment of mental health helps decease the negative stigma around mental health that leads to isolation those that are going through their own struggles in their life journey. With Mental Health Awareness Month fast approaching, know that it is still important to check in on your friends, share you experiences (only when comfortable) and know that you are not alone.
Seeking help when necessary and doing small things like art or even cleaning your room can help decrease stress and increase productivity in one’s life and in turn can help you manage your stressors. Remember to love yourself: mind, body, and soul. This may be easier said than done, and even impossible at times, especially in high stress situations, but know that you are resilient, brave, amazing, beautiful, and unique.
*Disclaimer– This article consists of methods that have gotten me through some of my stressful times in a creative and fun way. Everyone experiences stress and anxiety differently as it manifests itself in various ways from person to person, so this is not a “one size fits all” solution of self-help or a replacement to counseling or medical advising.
With stress or anxiety, sometimes depression is present. If you or a loved one are experiences signs or symptoms of depression do not hesitate to reach out to a trained medical professional near you or the suicide hotline available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week:
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