woman oil painting on canvas

4 Art Therapy Activities That Can Help Relieve Some of Your Stress

Art therapy is a creative wellness activity that lets you utilize art to help soothe anxiety, depression, relieve stress, and bring an overall sense of relaxation. Too, art therapy can take things a step further than just providing a general sense of calm by helping you get your emotions out and illustrate feelings.

Now that you have a clue what art therapy is, you can probably infer that those little adult coloring books you see in the Target book section fall into this category of art therapy! You can pick one of those up for the next time you want to color and wind down, but there are tons of other easy activities you can do in your dorm or apartment too. Below are a few of my personal favorites.

Painting

Painting is my absolute favorite art therapy activity, because you do not actually need to know how to paint to enjoy the experience. You can paint a landscape, flowers, your friends, literally anything that comes to mind, because you have all the creative and emotional control when it comes to this artwork—and feelings do not always have to be pretty or perfect. 

Sculpting

If you like to work with your hands and you don’t mind getting dirty, try sculpting to provide some relief and calm. While sculpting you can create a sculpture of yourself, abstract shapes, or even use clay to design a mug or bowl for your kitchen. Sculpting can help you work out your emotions by using your hands. You can shape the mold angrily, gently, or even in a fast-paced manner. No matter how you decide to make your sculpture, the end result will be just what you needed in that moment.

Color wheel

A color wheel makes it sounds like we’re going back to elementary school, but this activity is actually something you can put to use your adult life. Make your own emotional color wheel by creating a pie chart, and then coloring in the various sections to align with different emotions you most commonly feel. When you need to do a check-in with yourself, use the color wheel to help express what you’re feeling in that moment. This creates a helpful inner dialogue, while also being a fun craft to work on.

Homemade journal

Art therapy is way more than painting and drawing, and writing can even be a form of it as well. If you would like to make your writing more personal to you, you can create your own homemade journal to decorate. Basically, buy a blank journal and decorate the inner sleeves and journal pages as you see fit. When you fill out your journal with tasks or reflections, you can doodle or use stickers to accompany your thoughts as a way to introduce more therapeutic art in your daily routine. You can write and draw exactly how you feel in an unfiltered manner, because this is your personal journal, and no one is going to judge you. 

As a person who has struggled with anxiety most of my life, art therapy has helped me tremendously. If you just want to relax or if you're finding ways to cope with mental illness, I strongly suggest that you try get crafty as an outlet. It saved my life and I hope it could potentially do the same for you. 

Follow Zakiya on Instagram @swankyzeee.