[Self-expression art is such a powerful tool when it comes to self care. Discover 5 creative art projects to help you reduce anxiety and stress in mom life!]
I felt like I was in another world.
The colors swirled around on the page in front of me. With each stroke I could feel my thoughts settle and my stress melt away.
And all it took was a few minutes with some markers and a coloring book.
Creativity is a beautiful way to express yourself, unwind, and nourish your soul.
And you don’t have to have hours, fancy supplies, or be a famous artist.
If you’re curious about how tapping into your creativity can help you reduce anxiety and stress, you are going to love this guest article from Jen Della Valle, a Licensed Creative Arts Specialist.
Keep reading to discover:
- 5 simple self care art projects to help you de-stress
- How to create space in your day for more creativity
- Ideas to practice self care art with your kids
[Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that Soul Care Mom may receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Please see disclaimers for more information.]
[Note from Jen: I need to make a small disclaimer, Art therapy is a unique therapeutic approach that is utilized by clinicians that have received a master’s degree in art therapy, are board-certified and are licensed by the department of education (this part only applies to New York Art Therapists. As I write this article, NY is the only state with a licensure!) The art activities mentioned in this article are meant for relaxation purposes and are not to replace or qualify as mental health services. All mental health-related issues should be discussed and treated with a mental health practitioner such as a licensed creative arts psychotherapist. ]
Are you taking care of yourself? I mean really taking care of your emotional, physical and spiritual self?
If the answer is “Well yeah! I mean, kinda… sorta” (or any variation) then I am here to help you!
Because, well, Girl I’ve been there!
We as momma’s are always putting ourselves last, for good reason of course, but we have to put ourselves at the top (at least sometimes!)
Why is self care important?
Well, it’s important for many reasons including our emotional, physical and spiritual self! Self Care Mom and I literally use the same analogy to explain the importance of self care! (That’s how I knew it was love at first sight!)
OH MY, Where are my manners?!
Hi! I’m Jen! Fellow momma bird of two little hatchlings! Soul Care Mom has graciously allowed me to introduce myself to you and help you identify your worthiness in the soul care/self care department! Because we are all in this together, it takes a village they say … SO, welcome to the village my darling bird, I am here to help!
Ok, back to the article …
Creative Self Care for Moms
Self care and YOU!, but where do I start, you ask?!
That’s where I come in, so don’t you worry momma. I GOT YOU!
I am going to focus on a creative, yet different idea of self care that you may not have tried or thought of.
That, momma bird is (drum roll please…)
Self Care Art
Art is such a powerful tool when talking about self care. Art benefits the soul in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, reducing anxiety, stress management, “finding your zen”, problem-solving and even as a self-esteem boost!
It may seem daunting at first to implement but please hang with me for a sec!
Okay Jen … Cool, BUT how do you know this actually works?
Welp, I’ll explain!
How Creativity Can Serve As Self Care
I am a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist! That’s right, I use ART in my psychotherapy sessions with clients to help them work through trauma, anxiety, and depression (to name a few). I also help them identify their feelings and emotions so they are better able to communicate their needs.
I also know this works first hand, because like I mentioned, I am a momma bird of two hatchlings.
And, let’s be real here, IT’S HARD!
Creating art …
Has helped me better manage my feelings of stress, being overwhelmed and (the all famous) “I don’t know what the heck I am doing”, ya know, all of the tough stuff we momma’s face.
Let me explain a bit.
When I became a momma of TWO birds …
It really threw me off course, if I’m being honest.
Going from one bird to two birds was a big change for me.
The time that I had all to myself while my son napped, or while my husband played with him, now slipped away from me in order to tend to my (then) infant daughter (which now, I am lucky if one of them takes a nap at all).
It truly feels as if I have no time for myself in any way possible. Especially with my husband working nights, I am left home alone with two babies (only 2 years apart!) all week long. They rise early, go go go all day, and by the time bedtime rolls around, I’m too exhausted to do anything.
Who’s with me here?!
So, I had to do something, because with my background, I knew things needed to change. For me, it was to create art to work through this life transition. I would try to work in small “art times” for myself whenever I could. Even if that meant quick doodles. There is seriously something to be said about “taking pen (marker, crayon, pastel or paintbrush) to paper”!
Now, simply thinking of creating art relaxes me!
I know it sounds kinda silly, but, it’s a “glimmer” (opposite of triggers! …I said I was a therapist). When I get a chance to do some art for myself, it truly does bring me back to a state of homeostasis ( that “Ahhhhh” feeling!).
I have always loved to paint, the glide of the paintbrush across the canvas making effortless marks, really deepens my sense of self. I lose track of time, and float around in a blissful mood…which is actually referred to as the “flow state”.
What is it like for you?
What are your glimmers?
The good triggers that activate your state of homeostasis?
That feeling of contentment, the “all is well with the world” feeling.
Well if the answer might include ART, then you, my dear, are in the right place!
*NO ART EXPERIENCE REQUIRED!*
Are your ready to find your spark again, Mama?
Spark Your Creativity is a course created to help you reconnect with your creative side.
Inside the course you’ll find everything you need to unleash your creativity and bring more of you into your day, including:
- Step by step guide to help you find your creative flow
- Guided meditation that will help you let your creativity flow.
- Journal with prompts and activities that will help you create space in your day and spark your creative genius!
- Coloring Book that will allow you to relax and unwind while creating something beautiful!
So How Do You Use Art As Self Care?
Let’s get into it shall we?!
First of all, ART takes MANY forms.
I want you to think about it for a moment.
Take a second to identify what you love to do!
It is not the same for everyone, which is important to note!
Is it Painting, Drawing, Coloring, Collaging, Art Journaling, Creative Writing, all the above?
Whichever art form you identify with, try to utilize the following suggestions with your interests in mind!
It’s never easy to implement new habits into our already busy lifestyles, side note there’s an amazing book called Atomic Habits By, James Clear. This is an EXCELLENT book to help you incorporate new healthy habits and how to kick the old ones!
How to Make Time for Creative Self Care
There has to be a moment(s) (even 10-15mins!). Time in each day for self care that you can dedicate to YOU.
Try to identify some of these moments, is it when baby birds are napping?
Or are you able to set them up with an activity that does not require your FULL supervision (but you can still be nearby).
For me, I might actually pass the ipad over (I know, I’m cringing too…but moderation is key here, so are time constraints and parental controls!).
Or, can the time spent mindlessly scrolling through social media be swapped out for some much deserved self care?
Social media can suck the life out of us and can negatively affect us!
If you are interested in kicking that habit check out my article all about why you should spend less time on social media. It even includes a mini-challenge!
Grab your art gear momma!
How to Create Your Own Self Expression Art
I suggest you prepare a bit here!
Having a plan is key, so you’re not flopping around looking for everything and figuring out where you can sit when you do actually get those 5 minutes to do something!
Whatever medium you like to use, (markers, paints etc.) have a bag of your tools and sketchbook handy so you can just grab it and start!
Settle in, open that sketchbook up and create! Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing!!
> Choose a color, then close your eyes, using one line, not lifting your tool, create a scribble utilizing the whole page. Go crazy!
> Open your eyes momma! Check out your creation, do you see any shape or form? Turn your page all different directions until you find a “view” you like.
> Now, using any or all mediums, create inside those shapes you made! This can take any form. Color in each section, create a pattern, mix it up! The choice is yours!
- Write! pour your soul out, write whatever comes to mind, the good the bad the ugly… stay with me…
- Create, now I invite you to collage, paint, color (or combine them! I love mixed media!) OVER your journal page! Completely create on top of your writing!
- Variation rip up your journal writing after creating on top of it and create a “collage” using your work! This is a very freeing activity!
- Make Tiny Art!
- Cut your paper into smaller pieces (maybe even various shapes)! Create each piece freestyle, maybe one a day! Then after you’ve created a few, put them all together for a cool collage!
- Affirmation Art
- Choose an affirmation that resonates with you and represents the reason why you “self care” in the first place! Or, do you resonate better with a powerful word? Peace, Happiness, Worthiness? Whichever route you choose, print, cut and paste or create this word/affirmation in the center of your page. Now doodle, color, or paint around it! (or reverse, create first then paste/create your word on top!)
- Showcase the final product to remind you of it everyday! Not necessary though, as self care art is NOT about the final product!
- Tip: You can even purchase pre-cut paper mats and grab a pretty frame to show it off to yourself! (I find THE best frames at thrift stores, they are cheap and can be a fun DIY project!) to make it stand out more!
- Create With The Birds!
- Create with your baby birds! If you find there is just ZERO time away, try to pull out art materials for your little hatchlings too! Kids love doing art projects and this will allow you to knock out your self care AND spend quality time with the babes, win-win!
Each art activity listed can be done with little time, or could be extended into longer periods of art making if your baby birds allow! However long you’re able to spend here, it truly doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that you are able to DO it! It is more important that you recognize the NEED for self care as a momma (as a person in general, but especially as a momma bird!) and make the attempt to care for yourself.
Motherhood is Hard,
There are no days off, no paid vacations, no sick time and certainly no overtime compensation. But, the baby birds are why we’re all here right?! I would bet we can all agree that they are our WORLD, and we wouldn’t change one grueling day for one without them. (I know I certainly wouldn’t!)
We must recognize and acknowledge the hardships that momma birds experience. But, most importantly though, we must identify the NEED to tend to ourselves so we CAN be the best, most present momma bird in the nest. You are worth it momma, please don’t forget that, and if you’re reading this article, I know that YOU are a GREAT MOMMA. Seeking out resources for self care shows me, and I bet Soul Care Mom agrees, that you desire to be the best mom you can be.
But guess what?
You already are ….
From my nest to yours,
Momma Bird Jen
Jen Della Valle is a momma bird of two, who knows the struggle is REAL. She is also a board certified licensed creative arts therapist, certified yoga instructor, wife and more simply, another human being. She wants to help you find some much needed self care and help you navigate this journey we call motherhood! Come join her nest to help you mommy like a BOSS babe!!
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