Don’t stress, just art

Remember crèche, where serious class activities meant doodling with any and every crayon you could find. Creating a masterpiece only you could understand, but still managing to leave completely validated because every adult around you looks at you like the next Vincent van Gogh. The days when you were the greatest play-dough sculptor and an unmatched finger painter. No one could dare challenge you!

Somehow as we get older that colour disappears out of our lives in dribs and drabs, except for that one year where colour blocking was a thing, life can sometimes seem to be in grey-scale. After realising that I sometimes draw when I am feeling a bit under the weather. Heck, I have even considered investing in a colouring book (do not judge me). I wondered if drawing is in fact considered a stress reliever, low and behold, I discovered that there is something called art therapy. Believe it or not cynical adults, it has nothing to do with whether you are ‘artistically inclined’ or not.

Verywellmind.com lists three ways in which creating art can help you alleviate stress:

  • Distraction

It’s difficult to keep ruminating on your problems when you’re focused on creating, and if your problems stay with you, you can incorporate them into your creations. When you’re finished being engrossed in your sketches, you should have a clearer head with which to tackle your problems again.

  • Flow

This refers to a state of being completely engaged in something to the point of being in a near-meditative state. It carries many of the benefits of meditation, leaving you much less stressed when you’re done.

  • Self-Care

Sometimes with all of life’s responsibilities, we forget that we need and deserve ‘down time’ and self-care. Taking even a few minutes on a regular basis to devote to a hobby can give you more of what you need in this area. And, with drawing, you have the additional benefit of being left with something beautiful (or at least interesting) to show for it.

In this crazy ‘adulting’ world, we may sometimes take ourselves too seriously – but often not seriously enough to do anything about it. I know many people whose work books in high school were full of more doodles than actual notes, okay maybe the timing there was not great, but come on – teachers can be stressful.

Jokes aside, be mindful of yourself. Reward yourself with a sketch diary if journaling in words is not your thing. Meditate on an ugly but hilarious dog drawing if sitting in silence with your legs crossed does not work for you. Let the five-year-old Pablo within win and never forget, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” no truer words were ever said by the great Pablo Picasso himself.