You’ve just put your baby to bed. Now, it’s time to take a deep breath and relax. However, sometimes it can be difficult to unwind. Your body might be tired, but your brain is still buzzing with plans for tomorrow. If you’re experiencing this frenzy, it might be a perfect opportunity for you to embrace an art-related hobby. Art and craft projects are perfect for helping new parents relax because crafting can:
The repetitive motion of many arts and crafts invokes a calming rhythm, similar to meditation.
Decrease depression and anxiety
The repeated motion and relaxed breathing used in many art projects can release serotonin — the body’s natural anti-depressant — in the brain.
Being a new parent can be difficult. Just when you think you have the hang of something, your baby decides to switch up the routine. Take a few minutes to tackle an easy win, such as a quick, de-stressing art project.
The repetitive motion of creating art can calm the mind, especially when combined with non-stimulating background sounds, such as those from a sound machine or white noise app on your phone. Crafting before bed can help you sleep better.
Occupy your hands
If you are prone to stress-eating, pick up an art-related hobby instead of a bag of chips. Holding and engaging with craft supplies can help keep you from eating mindlessly while watching TV.
Help prevent memory loss
Learning a new skill — even a skill that is not physically or mentally demanding — can help keep your mind sharp by strengthening the neural connections in the brain.
Be done while seated or standing
If you’ve been on your feet all day, it feels wonderful to sink into your favorite couch and put your feet up. By the same token, if you’ve been at a desk for several hours, it feels just as good to stretch your legs, back and shoulders. If you need to do more standing than sitting during your art projects, try crafting at a counter-height dining table or at a standing desk. Stand-up desks can also help keep little ones from getting into your art supplies.
Give It a Try!
Art doesn’t have to be intimidating or overly complicated. You can find easy art options — such as paint-by-number sets — at your local crafts store or supermarket. If you’re on a tight budget, you could create some simple works of art from the everyday objects around your home!
Here are some art and craft ideas to help any parents relax, new or tenured. Remember, don’t leave your projects unattended and always stow supplies before you retire for the evening.
Paint-by-number kits have improved tremendously since they debuted in the 1950s. During those days, the enclosed “canvasses” were pieces of cardboard that would sometimes bend and warp. Usually, there was only one type of brush included and the thick colors of pigment arrived in plastic containers that refused to stay closed, so the paints would often dry into cracked fossils before you could finish painting.
Today’s paint-by-number kits are much better. Many canvasses are made of woven linen and are available in various sizes. You can find kits with acrylic-based paints that are non-toxic, making them safe for kids, pregnant moms, pets and the environment. Many kits even include multiple brushes and hanging hooks. Best of all, in addition to contemporary abstracts and classic images by Klimt and Van Gogh, your personal photos can be uploaded to create custom canvas templates.
Grown-up coloring books can be purchased online or found in the magazine section of supermarkets and drug stores. Their images feature a range of patterns and topics, from Zen-inspired mandalas to realistic images of the human musculoskeletal system. Shade them with colored pencils, markers, highlighters from your home office or your kids’ crayons.
Crocheting and knitting
One current trend is arm knitting, which incorporates your arms, wrists and hands instead of knitting needles or crochet hooks. The result is a chunky blanket made of giant stitches. It’s easy to learn, and fun to complete!
Jigsaw puzzles often incorporate famous artwork. Assembling the pieces lets you engage with works of art even if you’re unable to visit the museums in which they are housed.
There are hundreds of paper-folding patterns available online. Their difficulty levels range from easy to mystifyingly complex. Like any art project, start simple and work your way up.
Creating art is a perfect activity to help new parents relax. Crafting is great for your self-care time, while you make masterpieces to use throughout your house. Plus, artistic activities can be accomplished quietly, enabling you to listen for the kiddos. Alternatively, many art projects — such as coloring — can be done as joint projects, with little ones working on their creations by your side. The next time you need some quiet time to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul, choose an art project.
Anna Baker is Social Media Manager for Crafts by Numbers, a provider of premium paint by number products. Baker has more than a year experience within the industry and focuses on managing various social networks.