Taking the Time to Create Art: Your Greatest Weapon Against Stress

I know I am not the only one guilty of not taking time for myself. When classes start and we begin the new semester’s time crunch, there’s little space leftover for us to just be ourselves. Often we use our free time to catch up on a tv show, scroll through social media, or to hang out in a Cafe with friends, and while these are great ways to relax, they don’t carry the same opportunity for self exploration that creating art does. 

I know you’re probably starting to think I’m insane. After all, not everyone is talented at art. Those of you who are like me and barely got by in high school art might wonder how this could ever be an effective stress reliever. Not to mention all the money and time that goes into creating a piece of artwork. But art isn’t just for those who are “good” at it, or for those that have the time for it, or those that can afford it. Creating and experiencing art is for everyone. We are all capable of picking up a pencil and a piece of paper and doodling or getting a packet of paints and finger-painting all over our textbooks in frustration. 

Recently I started getting lessons in watercolour painting. Taking the time to go to a single hour long class once per week gave me an opportunity to see how much I can create with just a bit of water, a sheet of paper, and some watercolour paints. Not all of my paintings were good, in fact more often than not they were an assortment of colours ending up in a brown splat, but I had fun doing it, and even though I never became good at it, I continue to paint. Ultimately, I am giving myself the opportunity to put on some music, and just be in the moment. With everything I paint I give myself love and I enjoy the works that I failed at, laughing a bit at my attempts, and feel immense pride at the moments where I create something beautiful.

Creating art doesn’t just have to be watercolour painting or drawing. It could be anything from crocheting, origami, or jotting down a poem in the margins of your notes as a little break from studying. Art is whatever you want it to be, and it can be immensely freeing when you have the daily expectations of school and living on you. Creating art gives you the opportunity to drop all that judgement that we all carry from expectations of professors, friends, and family, to the expectations that we carry for ourselves.

Ultimately, creating art frees you temporarily from the stress and the daily struggles we all encounter and allows you not only to explore yourself, but to experience a moment free from judgement as well. So go out there, buy a cheap watercolour pallet, a crochet needle and some yarn, or just use a piece of paper and a pencil. Whatever you choose, just create.