4 Stress-Free Creative Outlets

Though everyone exercises it through different outlets, we are all creative beings. You don't have to be pursuing a creative career in order to tap into your innate imaginative capacity. Pressure to be immediately skilled at creative endeavors quickly turns creativity into a stressful experience for many, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you consider yourself creative or not, engaging in stress-free creative activities can be extremely therapeutic and actually quite fun! The most important thing in relieving stress in creative activities is intention. If you go into the activity with the expectation of accomplishing a certain outcome, you'll probably end up disappointed and frustrated. Approaching the following simple activities with an imaginative and playful mindset that is free of expectations can reveal creativity within you that you didn’t know was there, and can serve as a great form of relaxation. 

  1. 1. Blackout Poetry

    Blackout poetry is the practice of taking existing text and forming poems by covering up all but a few words. I personally love to go to thrift stores and pick out old books, newspapers, and magazines that seem interesting. I then flip through the pages, looking for words and phrases that pique my interest. When I find a page I like, I rip it out and start planning my poem with a pencil. Once I have the words I want, I cover up the remaining words using markers, paint, or anything else I can think of. This can be done completely randomly, choosing words on the page that just stick out to you (this way it ends up kind of like a mad lib,) or by finding words that can be strung together to form a more coherent poem. I love this activity because it allows me to create something new out of an existing work of art. It takes some pressure off of me and makes me feel more explorative and playful. The product ends up looking so interesting and beautiful and makes a great addition to some bedroom wall decor. Click here for some examples of blackout poetry!

  2. 2. Cooking/Baking

    Baking ingredients spread out on table

    Cooking may not seem like a super creative activity, especially if you’re someone who prefers to follow recipes perfectly. But exploring your own twists on recipes or creating your own recipes entirely can be so fun. It may take some trial and error, but discovering your own recipe that works is super gratifying (and delicious.) I love experimenting with food and desserts when I’m feeling stir crazy or if I’m feeling bored with food. This activity can also be one that is fun to share with friends, family, or a S/O!

  3. 3. Phone Photography

    Woman in white shirt working

    Photography is an art form that takes a lot of skill and experience to, but thanks to smartphones, most of us have amazing cameras at our fingertips. One of my favorite activities is taking interesting pictures on my phone — this goes beyond just taking pictures of me and my friends and requires me to look a little closer at my surroundings instead. I try to find nuanced, unique parts of my environment and photograph them on my phone from various angles and distances. This is a super easy activity but can be very creatively satisfying. You don't have to be a professional or experienced photographer to take pictures on your phone, and you see things in ways that nobody else can, automatically giving you an artistic voice in the field of phone photography. This is another one that can make great bedroom wall decor, and I personally love to print out my photos and hang a little piece of my world in my room. To me, this is much more fun than buying a mass-produced poster, as it gives me a feeling of individuality and pride for my space. 

  4. 4. Watercolor Painting

    painting pallete

    This is another one that can obviously be done on a very skilled and  professional level, but can also be done casually! Watercolors are cheap and easy to work with, making them the perfect painting medium for those of us who are not pursuing a higher level of painting. I love to mix colors and paint them randomly on the page to make abstract color collages. Another fun, easy tactic is putting down some masking tape in random patterns on the page before painting — then after filling in the empty spaces, pulling away the tape is so satisfying and fun. I find this practice to be enjoyable and relaxing. Just putting colors on a page is gratifying to the senses and serves as a kind of meditation for me. 

Being able to express creativity is such an important component of mental wellness, but the pressure surrounding art-making often deters people from even trying. Approaching creative activities with a playful mindset can allow you to truly enjoy engaging in imaginative, therapeutic activities like these!