Do you enjoy trying new art therapy activities?
Designed to encourage creativity and innovation, arts and crafts provide a means to express your thoughts and feelings in an imaginative way. The therapeutic act of putting pen to paper or brush to canvas can help to improve mental health – from reducing anxiety to boosting happiness.
In this week’s blog, we’re taking a look at a few activities you can try at home to bring your inner creative to the surface and reduce stress:
Art Therapy Activities: Make a Mandala
Originating in Asia, mandalas are an amalgamation of symbols commonly used in relaxation practice. Typically used as a focal point, many like to use mandalas as meditation guides as part of their spiritual endeavours.
Mandalas can be as beautiful as you would like them to be; there are so many variations when it comes to colour, patterns and shapes.
They can be incorporated into art therapy in a variety of ways – and whilst they help to open your mind in a creative way, they’re great for encouraging mindfulness and conscious breathing as you appreciate the simple beauty of combined colours and shapes.
From colouring to drawing, painting and crocheting, you can enjoy creating your own mandala in a variety of ways. If you like colouring and/or painting, try searching the internet or your local bookshop for a colouring-by-numbers mandala pattern.
Alternatively, if you enjoy crocheting, there are plenty of patterns available online where you can make your own colourful mandalas to display around your home.
Freehand Painting and/or Scribbling
Here, we encourage you to take ‘freehand’ as literally as you so please.
Whether you’d like to paint a recreation of your favourite landscape, or simply splatter paint onto a canvas for a colour explosion, painting is an incredibly therapeutic activity – so it’s always open to interpretation.
Scribbling is great, too – particularly for those who are looking to relieve any stress they may be feeling. Try choosing a handful of colouring pencils and simply creating a rainbow of colour on a piece of paper, with no real direction or intention. Following this, try turning your creation into something recognisable; draw over the top of it with a pencil, for example, to create a scene/person/memory that springs to mind.
Art Therapy Activities: Create a Nature-Inspired Piece
Taking any opportunity to connect with the nature around you can help to relieve stress and anxiety on a daily basis.
Try heading out to your nearest countryside spot – whether that’s your garden or a local park. Take a mindful approach whilst walking around, and collect any items that grab your attention – whether that’s a leaf shaped in a particularly interesting way, or a beautifully autumnal pine cone. On your return, think about the ways that you can get creative with your items – perhaps you can create a seasonal piece of artwork, or you could create some festive decorations to display around your home.
Make Your Own Terrarium
Do you enjoy growing your own plants?
If so, why not have a go at creating your very own terrarium? Think of it as a miniature garden; encased in glass, terrariums commonly feature a mixture of plants, ornaments and accessories, all compact inside a jar.
Gardening – no matter how you choose to do it – is known to have a variety of positive mental and health benefits, from stress relief to improving fine motor skills.
Starting with a glass vessel of your choice, layer the bottom with stones and gravel to create drainage holes. You can then top this with a thick layer of soil, before adding in your plants and accessories of choice. These should be small enough so that you can fit in a healthy variety.
Don’t forget to water your terrarium each week to keep it healthy!
Take a look at this article for an in-depth tutorial. Alternatively, take a look at our previous blog for some gardening tips and tricks.
Art Therapy Activities: Make a Personalised Collage
Expressive art is a great activity for channeling your emotions and learning more about yourself.
Why not try creating your very own collage? You can personalise it as much as you wish, and get as creative as you please.
Take some time to gather together your favourite items – whether that’s magazine cut-outs, items you’ve saved from your childhood, photographs, textures/colours you like and meaningful quotes – and arrange them onto a canvas, before sticking them down. You can arrange them in a particular order if you wish, or overlap them in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing. You have free reign to do whatever you wish; it’s important to take this opportunity to channel your thoughts and feelings in a creative way!
At Huntington and Langham Estate, we love encouraging our residents to engage in fun, interactive art therapy activities that allow them to express themselves in imaginative ways.
Keen to share some of your own art therapy activities with us? We’d love to hear from you!
Alternatively, if you’d like to find out more about our care or book a tour, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team.
Whilst you’re here, why not take a look at our previous blog which focuses on eye yoga exercises?