Art therapy is something entirely different than craft time with the kids.
If you’re like me, then supervising a craft with the kids normally consists of a lot of mess and frustration. But ultimately, they LOVE doing it, and that’s why we put up with it. Kids are happiest when they have a chance to be creative, get messy and use their imaginations. And it’s time that moms take a lesson from the kids.
Art therapy is a form of therapy which incorporates the visual arts such as painting, drawing, sculpting and so much more. Formal art therapy is done with a licensed therapist who would guide you through the process and help you to open up suppressed feelings and emotions.
But you don’t need a professional to reap the benefits of art therapy. Simply picking up a paintbrush and letting your imagination go wild can be one of the best forms of self care.
Here are some of the benefits of art therapy.
Putting a paintbrush to canvas is a great way to relieve stress and tension. Create something abstract by using big, bold strokes and don’t worry about making a mess or staying in the lines. You can even go so far as to use your fingers, hands or even your feet to create art. Involve your entire body in your movements and let the stress melt away.
Meticulous movements also have a way of releasing stress and tension. When life feels hectic and out of control, keeping within the fine lines of a paint by numbers canvas or detailed coloring book can give us a sense of empowerment and control.
The ability to create something beautiful gives us a confidence boost like no other. Plus, successfully completing a project does wonders for our mental health. It makes us feel capable and proud and as though we can tackle anything.
While some art forms take years of practice to master, beginners can still create masterpieces. A paint by numbers canvas is a great option for the beginner artist who wants to create something that looks professional but lacks the skills. The fine details are a great way to relieve stress and taking some time each day to work on it can easily be fit into your self care routine.
Distracts the Mind
Activities that distract the mind are great for those who are suffering from anxiety or depression. Similar to watching television, playing a video game or listening to music, art therapy focuses our minds on something other than negative or intrusive thoughts. This is a welcome distraction before bedtime if you’re battling insomnia or on especially bad mental health days.
Opens up Emotions
Formal art therapy is used to help patients open up suppressed emotions or memories that they need to deal with. So it’s no surprise that allowing ourselves to open up our creative side also lets out a flood of emotions. When you feel sad or angry, worried or stressed, try expressing those emotions using an art form such as painting or drawing. Doing something creative can actually increase our dopamine levels, which makes us feel happier.
Express Yourself Without Words
Unless you’re an accomplished writer, words are often a difficult medium for expressing yourself. When we feel something, we picture it in our heads and then try to describe that picture to someone else. Instead of simply describing it, draw or paint it out. Close your eyes and imagine it. If it was in a dream, then do it as soon as you wake up so you don’t forget.
This is a great art therapy practice for those suffering from scary and intrusive thoughts who might be too afraid to explain them out loud. It’s up to you whether or not you want to show it to someone, but getting it out of your head and onto paper or canvas can help you release them and feel better.
Taps into the Subconscious
The thoughts and images in our subconscious have a strong effect on our conscious minds. Most people seek therapy in order to tap into that subconscious mind to find out what is hidden in there. Art therapy can work in the same way.
Try splattering some paint on canvas or scribbling something with a pencil and then imagining what you see in it. Create something without thinking too hard about what it is and watch what happens. Our subconscious minds can leave us clues through another medium such as art.
Art therapy is not for everyone, but those looking for an outlet for stress or anger should definitely give it a try. Find a peaceful location and allow yourself enough time to access your creative side. You can even try a group art therapy class which will encourage you to socialize with others. A family or friends paint night can have a similar effect. And most importantly, whatever you create, show it off. Hang it up in your home, sell it on Etsy or share pictures online. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and who knows, it might be worth something one day…
Creating a self care sanctuary in your own home is easier than you might think.
While the term “self care sanctuary” might sound fancy, it’s really just a place filled with things that make you feel comfortable and at ease. Having a dedicated space to practice regular self care can make doing it seem like less of a chore. For women battling postpartum depression and anxiety, it can be a place to get away from the everyday mess and chaos that’s associated with motherhood.
Your self care sanctuary can be anywhere you choose. It doesn’t need to be a separate room in your house – it can be your bedroom, bathroom, or even an outdoor space in your backyard. You should be able to access it easily and on a regular basis. Most importantly, it should be a place that you enjoy being and where you feel like you can focus on yourself, regardless of how much time you have.
Here are some tips on how to turn your space into a self care sanctuary.
Detoxify the Environment
The first thing you need to do to create your self care sanctuary is detoxify the space. Clean the area thoroughly using non-toxic cleaning products and get rid of any clutter or unnecessary items. A minimally styled space opens the door to peace and healing and will allow you to focus on yourself without being distracted (and let’s face it, who can relax in a dirty room?).
Once you have a clean, clutter-free space, you can start to incorporate different things to purify the air.
Burn some dried sage. The ritual of sage burning can remove the negative energy from within the room (also called smudging).
Your self care sanctuary is a place where you can go to detoxify from the inside out.
This is why it’s so important for it to be free of toxins and negative energy. The environment should never feel sterile, but it should feel fresh, clean and pure. Every mom should have a place where they can avoid dishes, dirty diapers and scattered toys – even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
Select Comfort Items
When it comes to self care, comfort is essential. It’s almost impossible to relax when you feel too hot or too cold or if your clothes are restricting and uncomfortable. Escaping to your self care sanctuary means you get some time away from being climbed on like a jungle gym, or constantly being needed and pulled in different directions.
Consider all the different aspects that make you feel comfortable.
Choose furniture that you truly love to curl up in.It can be a bed, sofa, lounger, hammock, swing or something else. Try to think outside the conventional idea of comfort.
Dress comfortably, whatever that means to you. You can put on pajamas, a robe or even relax completely naked! Slip on some wooly socks, house shoes or try some toe spreaders.
Your self care sanctuary is the ultimate place of comfort and relaxation.
This means different things to different people. For example, I prefer to be warmer rather than cool and so I love my cozy blankets and fireplace. But someone living somewhere hot may need a fan or open window to feel comfortable instead. Try out different things until you find the right combination of comfort.
Surround Yourself in Beauty
Stimulate your brain visually and create a feast for the eyes. Even if you plan to keep your eyes closed the entire time, your self care sanctuary should still be filled with beautiful views. The things we look at each day, whether we focus on them or not, form part of our subconscious.
Use positive imagery to help retrain the subconscious mind.
Look out the window.If you have a naturally beautiful view through your window, then make it your focal point. If you don’t have a great view, install beautiful window coverings or hang plants or sun catchers instead.
Cover the walls.Cover the walls in artwork, favorite photos or motivational posters. Paint the walls a soothing color or make a chalkboard wall where you can write your own inspirational messages.
Decorate with intention.Lighting fixtures, decor, plants and furniture all contribute to the overall feel of your self care sanctuary. Try to choose pieces that you love or that have special meaning to you.
Your self care sanctuary is a visually stimulating place that inspires you.
If your self care sanctuary is normally a communal space, then you can still keep it in line with the design of the rest of the house. Print and frame quotes that inspire you and hang them up in the rest of the house too (Etsy is a great place to find some). Even if you don’t read them everyday, your mind will soak up the beauty, inspiration and positive vibes.
Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
Soothe the Skin
Our skin has a lot to put up with on a daily basis, and yet, it’s one of our most neglected organs. We can end up feeling really over touched at the end of a long day of caring for children. Treating the exterior of our bodies is a great way to feel refreshed and should be an essential part of any self care routine. As mothers, we tend to keep things low maintenance on a daily basis, sticking to the bare necessities of skin care.
Escaping to a self care sanctuary is the perfect time for a little bit of pampering.
Do a home spa treatment.Apply a face mask, cooling gel eye mask (or cucumbers), coat your hair in coconut oil and wrap it in a warm towel.
Soak in the tub.Add some epsom salts to soothe sore muscles and absorb magnesium to help fight anxiety and depression. If baths aren’t an option, then soaking your feet offers the same benefits.
Try dry brushing.This is one way to stimulate and exfoliate the skin while also improving blood circulation and reducing stress.
Your self care sanctuary is where you go to feel renewed and refreshed.
Keep a basket of your favorite skin care products in your self care sanctuary. This way, you’ll be able to pamper yourself any chance you get. You don’t need to go all out on skin care every day, but remember to take care of yourself on the outside as well as on the inside.
Cleanse the Body
As important as it is to take care of the outside of our bodies, we also need to remember to take care of what’s inside as well. Leave any thoughts of dieting or weight loss outside the self-care sanctuary. Eating healthy food is something we should be doing all day long and not just during our self care time.
There are still things we can do routinely while in our self care sanctuary that help to cleanse the entire body.
Drink lemon water.This simple combination has many health benefits, especially for those suffering from depression and anxiety.
Indulge in healthy drinks.Sip on smoothies, green tea or naturally flavored water.
Your self care sanctuary is where you can reset your mind and body.
Create a routine for yourself that includes daily trips to your self care sanctuary. Then incorporate all the things you should be doing on a daily basis, such as taking vitamins and checking in on your overall health and well being. Eventually, it will become second nature.
Make Room for Physical Movement
While your self-care sanctuary doesn’t need to be fully stocked with gym equipment, it should have enough space for some physical movement. You should never feel obligated to “work out” during your self care time, because that can cause added pressure and might make you avoid it altogether. But physical movement releases happiness-inducing endorphins, which are definitely a good thing.
There are several different ways to incorporate physical movement within your self care sanctuary.
Stretch.Simple stretching can loosen up a stiff neck or back, a common side effect of stress.
Run.Running on a treadmill can help to burn off extra pent up frustration or anxiety.
Yoga. This popular option has several benefits for treating depression and anxiety.
Dance.Turn on your favorite music and let it move you. You can literally dance like no one is watching.
Punch.If you find that you suffer from anger management problems or postpartum rage, install a punching bag.
Your self care sanctuary is an outlet for releasing emotions in a physical way.
The point is not to burn calories or build muscles. The point is to connect with your body, get your heart beating and find an outlet to express any negativity. And if you just don’t feel like doing anything physical that day, it’s perfectly fine. Don’t ever feel pressured to have to do anything at all during your self-care time.
Embrace Your Creative Side
A self care sanctuary should be a safe place for you to express yourself. Often, it’s hard to communicate what we feel using words alone. Art is a different outlet for expressing the stress and feelings that often get built up inside of us.
Artistic expression comes in a variety of different forms.
Your self care sanctuary is a place for self-discovery.
It might take some time to find the right creative outlet and it may change regularly. If there’s something new you wanted to learn how to do, then the serenity of your self care sanctuary could be the perfect place to start. You never know what you are capable of until you give it a try. Having some time and space to work on what’s important to you is a great way to practice self-care.