There are many ways to take care of your mental health. We’ve all heard about breathing exercises, getting regular physical exercise, getting enough sleep, having a balanced diet, and having a strong support network.
Another popular coping and self-care tool is mindfulness. Mindfulness is very similar to meditation, but is more versatile, in my opinion. With mindfulness, your goal is to simply be aware of your present experience and focus only on one thing at a time, and it doesn’t have to be your breath.
Mindfulness can be practiced in all sorts of ways, and it can be practiced all the time. One of my favorite ways to practice mindfulness is through arts and crafts, though.
Making art helps us practice problem solving skills, process emotions, and feel more fulfilled. By being totally present (mindful) with the art/craft making experience, you allow your body and mind to learn and grow in a fun and safe environment. The combination of crafting and mindfulness makes for a pretty incredible therapy.
“With mindfulness, your goal is to simply be aware of your present experience and focus only on one thing at a time, and it doesn’t have to be your breath.”
I’m a firm believer that everyone should have some sort of creative hobby in their life. Not everyone is craft crazy like I am, though, so here are 5 ways you can get inspired, and discover a craft/art that speaks to you.
5 Easy Ways to Find Your Crafty Side
1. Use Pinterest
If you don’t already, give it a try. Pinterest is full of inspiration and great tutorials. Create a board for craft and art projects you want to try. Listen to what gives you a fun feeling when you see it, and pin it. Every weekend, pick a project from your board to try out.
2. Make gifts for loved ones
Not only do you get the feel good of crafting, but you also get the feel good of giving. Handmade gifts promote feelings of self-worth, confidence, and self-esteem. Not sure what to make? Ask Pinterest!
3. Take a class
Taking an art class can a lot of fun. Being in a room with others who are learning and creating with you is a magical feeling. You get to make friends, share triumphs and defeats, plus you can pick brains of other creatives for more inspiration. Taking a class also lets you try stuff that you don’t have easy access to on your own, like printing presses, kilns, or giant drying racks.
Check out your local art center or community college. If an in person class is out of the question, though, you can still get many of the same benefits from online courses.
4. Visit an arts and crafts supply store
If the visuals of the supplies don’t strike inspiration, grab a store employee to ask for suggestions or recommendations. There are tons of starter kits available for different crafts and art mediums. If one kit doesn’t work out, you can gift to someone and try a different one.
5. Start with coloring books
Coloring has become quite the stress reduction trend in the last several years, and for good reason- it’s a great way to get the relaxation benefits of art and crafting without having to be creative. (Click here for a free coloring sheet)
So, you don’t consider yourself to be the creative type. That’s okay, even though I strongly believe creativity can be developed by anyone. It isn’t always easy, even when you are a “creative type.” Coloring is something we all were taught how to do, and all you need is something to color and coloring materials.
Now, go on and give it a try! You can start right now. I bet you even already have Pinterest open in your browser.
I'm a psychology student, wife, and mom to 2 fur babies. I use my creativity and personal experience with mental illness to bring others craft tutorials, mental health support, and inspiration through my website, theactivekoala.com.