Spending time on creative art projects is good for your mind, body and spirit. Nancy Morales, MFA, ATR, a counseling intern at Cancer Wellness, shares how you can reap the benefits from an art class in your own home.
"We are all born to be creative," says Morales. "Practicing creativity is especially important in today's society because many of our jobs have become less creative and active."
She notes that before the industrial revolution, people created many things with their hands, whether they were building their own home, sewing clothing, cooking or quilting.
"These activities required creativity and are now rare in our society," she says. "Our stress levels are increasing and in my opinion, it is due in part to not having these creative outlets. Anything creative you can do at home is going to support you mentally, physically and emotionally."
Stress-reducing at-home art projects
"The most important thing is to not place judgment on yourself or what you are creating," says Morales. "Be open and playful with your materials."
Affordable forms of artwork that are easy to practice at home include:
Collage making. Grab a stack of magazines, a pair of scissors, a poster board and a glue stick. Pick a theme, such as this vision board idea, and get creative.
Doodling. Freely sketching with crayons, markers or colored pencils doesn't require any drawing experience and can be done anywhere. Plus, it's been shown to reduce stress.
Knitting or crocheting. Look for knitting needles or crochet hooks at a yard sale or secondhand shop and watch YouTube tutorials to learn the basics, suggests Morales.
Music. Pick up a drum or play the piano that's collecting dust in your living room.
Needle felting. Just like knitting or crocheting, needle felting only requires a few materials and serves as a calming distraction from stress. YouTube offers tutorials ranging from simple projects to intricate objects.
Reflective writing. All you need is a pen and paper or a computer. To get started, check out these tips.
Watercolor painting. Less pricey than oil painting, watercolor painting is a simple way to play with colors and only requires brushes, paint, water and paper.
"You don't need to spend a lot of money on expensive materials," says Morales. "Start with something small and try a lot of different things. When doing art projects at home, don't worry about the end result. It's all about fun and stress relief. The quickest way to squelch creativity is to be anxious and self-critical about your art project."
See additional creative ways to reduce stress.