How to use creativity as a self-care tool

Having a hobby of any kind is good for you. Sports, too, are good because exercise releases those feel-good hormones and meets the need for fight/flight that helps manage stress.


Something creative like ‘art’ – be that drawing, painting, music, design, crafting, acting, writing or more – offers you a ‘product’ at the end that you can enjoy achieving, enjoy the beauty and the fun you had creating it.

I have seen people shine from their first ‘make’ that initially, they didn’t actually think they ‘could do’, believing it’s something you have to learn. And you do, but we all start somewhere!

And it can become more than a hobby or interest, it can be a focus, an escape, healing, relaxation, distraction that clears your mind or even a business, on the side or your main income over time if that’s what you want.

The benefits of art therapy and creative arts

I have done ‘art therapy’ in counselling training, with clients and my own hobby, joining craft groups, learning new skills, sharing ideas and getting ideas, and helping others discover this interest too. And you can do it with a cup of tea and cake too!

Creative arts are well known for being good for you.

We are, as people, generally creative given the chance and maybe the confidence. We can develop skills and confidence to think outside the box for solutions to our problems, designing processes or procedures, forms and meeting plans. The list is endless on what people can do – if only they believe they can. If you think about it there will have been times you had to try something new or find your way around a problem you couldn’t or didn’t want to share. And you did it.

If you haven’t had the chance to do this, then now is that time! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. In work, at home, family relations, sports, planning, organisation etc.

Again, this is where creativity helps people build confidence, build self-esteem, realise their potential and explore their potential!

You don’t know what you can do until you try. Maybe you learned creativity years ago, making things as a child or for and with your own children, colouring and drawing as a child, drawing, art at school, sticking things together – each a step further, a new skill, a new exciting interest, products of your imagination and others imaginations too. Equipment to try, products to use on my ideas – we are made to keep learning, striving to improve and enhance ourselves and our lives, our fun!

Life isn't all about serious responsibilities, even as an adult, it’s about fun and rest and relaxation, opening your mind to new things and letting it wander. “If you can think it, you can create it”. What can you create? What can you try?

Maybe you can meet new friends, learn from like-minded people, expand your options and your mind – even, like me, find so much more than you ever expected from sticking ribbon and buttons to make pictures, piecing together parts to make something whole or fantasy ideas to admire and enjoy or real items that you and others can use.

Some people learn such skills or take up interests through boredom or distraction, when the children leave home, when divorce happens or you move to a new place without friends and family for a time - when they have time again and some to purposefully manage stress and depression, anxiety and upset.   At those times these can be unexpected benefits in developing a whole new aspect to your life to take forward and keep moving with and can become the saving grace for your well-being, a whole new direction.

Pick it up and put in down for 10 minutes or 10 hours. Between jobs, between responsibilities. Escape to another world, rest and relax, enjoy, reduce your stress and let go of worries, even just for a while. That alone reduces your stress for time and gives mind and body a rest, to recuperate and be read for the next round!

Who will you discover you really are?

You can also look out for local crafting groups and join in, find a course to complete that fits the bill and it doesn't always have to focus on 'mental health' or well-being, that comes with it usually! Then you can take this home and try it out and develop it yourself as well, or try something new just for fun.

Counsellors can use art therapy in their practices too where they feel it's appropriate and some specifically work this way as trained art therapists.

It works as another tool for those counsellors using it without formal training - with little guidance or direction give tasks in session and see what happens, what comes up for the client to discuss further then or later. Some surprising insights can appear because we aren't 'thinking' about it, just doing it like children at play. Enjoy yourself and open yourself up to explore your journey alongside other therapy perhaps too.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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