At the end of the day, you’re tired, you’re stressed, and it’s too easy to reach for a glass of wine, watch tv, or get caught up for hours on social media. While brainless activity is sometimes important for letting go, when it’s your only go-to for winding down, it can make you feel more empty and bored than when you started. This is where creative self-care comes in.
Whether you consider yourself creative or not, humans are creative by nature. Because we are all creative, when we feel out of balance, creative acts can help. Even if you don’t see yourself as “artsy,” art has been shown to have a calming effect on the brain. If you just can’t believe that you are creative, check out this amazing talk with neuroscientist Rex Jung, a specialist in creativity, for the scientific low-down.
Careful, repetitive drawing is one of the main ways I use art to slow down my mind and body when I feel anxious or upset. Of course I also do it when I’m feeling calm, simply for the enjoyment of making something.
Doodle and Destress
Try this: Put on some relaxing music, grab some paper or your art journal, a gel pen, Sharpie, or ball point pen, and try one of the doodle ideas below.
Trace a cup or a bowl to create a large circle in the middle of your page – this will be your drawing space. Experiment with keeping your lines and shapes small and close together so that you have to work carefully. As I often tell my art mentoring clients, part of the key is to give yourself the gift of time and permission to create. You deserve to enjoy both the process and the product.
Remember that anything repeated in a regularized way immediately looks much more interesting, even if the lines aren’t “perfect.” Look closely, you’ll find imperfections in my art here. I find that stepping back or holding my work at a distance gives me a better perspective on what it really looks like and helps me stop perseverating on small imperfections. I do this often as I work. (Funny how that’s like life, huh?)
Here’s some shapes you might try doodling with:
3. Waves (drawn really close together – this looks cool)
4. Tiny leaf shapes – you can turn these into leaves, or make a small dot for a fish eye
5. Horizontal lines, overlapped with vertical lines
6. Simple flowers with 3 – 5 petals
9. Short lines, long lines, curvy lines, wavy lines
10. Dots – SO MANY DOTS!
11. Overlapping ovals to create a “chain”
12. Repeated “V” shapes, “C” shapes, “L” shapes, “U” shapes
13. Skinny ovals or fat ovals
14. “Checkerboard” patterns – make a grid and color in every other square
15. Fish scales: Draw a series of “U” shapes right next to each other and in overlapping rowsDoodle slow, chill out fast. #selfcare Click To Tweet
For this page, I drew half circles that overlapped. Then I drew lines from the midpoint of the half-circle, radiating out to the edge. It took me a long time to do this accurately, but again, that’s the point!Use art as medicine: Doodle to destress #artheals #happycreativelife Click To Tweet
This mini journal is just 3 x 6 inches. I like doodling over painted pages with my gel pens to give a fun pop of color. It’s very satisfying to watch the patterns appear. This pattern is made from a little “C” shape that I repeated and sometimes made smaller and bigger.
Art washes from the soul, the dust of everyday life - Picasso #artheals Click To Tweet
So, what do you think? Drop into the comments and let us know. How about posting your doodle in our private Facebook community, Creative Self-Care?
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