by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC
The holidays are a time of joy and celebration, but they can also be a time of stress and anxiety. Between gift shopping, cooking, and party planning, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the holidays, take a break and relax with some art.
Studies have shown that art can have many benefits for mental health. It can help you to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, and can even improve your mood. Art can also help you to become more creative and productive.
Art-making is a form of self-care that allows us to focus on what we are needing in the moment to promote a sense of calm, relaxation, enjoyment, play and curiosity. Often we can get caught up in fulfilling high standards and expectations during this time of year that we can neglect our own needs for rejuvenation and slowing down. Below are different examples of art activities that might help you to focus on what is important to you about this time of year and what it is that you need to reflect on.
1. Draw, paint or sculpt your vision of the “Spirit of the Holidays”. Reflect on what makes the holiday season unique to you and how the spirit of the holidays shows up in different forms. Your image can be abstract or symbolic and is meant to capture your personal experience of this time of year.
2. Create a new tradition! Throughout our lives, we encounter various changes and transitions that can impact our experience of the holidays and traditions. Often we might feel disconnected from traditions we grew up with but no longer wish to repeat. Allow yourself to explore new options and engage in new activities that you might want to make an annual tradition.
3. Create a personalized ornament using various materials for a special addition to your holiday tree or home decor. Consider what you might want your ornament to represent. You might want to focus on creating a unique design with paint pens or markers, or you might want to create an ornament that reflects a special memory from the year. Consider making this an annual tradition to create an ornament for each year to hold a special memory.
4. Make your own wrapping paper using stamps and printing techniques. It can be fun to create your own wrapping paper and adds a personal element to the gift giving experience. It is recommended that you purchase brown or white kraft paper as well as stamps of different sizes and designs of your choice.
5. Consider hand crafting your holiday cards for a sentimental element to your gift giving. Often we are looking for the perfect gift and overlook the value of giving something created from the heart. A handmade card often shows how much you care about the person you are giving it to, as it takes time and effort to create this one of a kind offering. The process of creating a unique holiday card can also be a fun and relaxing experience as you get to play with different embellishments and design your own elements for the card. Consider buying 12 x12” cardstock paper of various colors and holiday patterns, stickers, scissors and glue (glue dots and double sided tape are great options).
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