6 Creative Ways to Relax

When do you feel most relaxed? There are real benefits to relaxing artistically- its relaxation effects have been compared to that of yoga and meditation. Art helps us tap into a state of flow where we are hyper-focused and enjoying our task which allows us to de-stress. While many of us have not completed an art project since we were children, there are easy ways to release your stress and your creative side no matter your skill level.

1. Relax with Black-Out Poetry

Black-out poetry is using an existing text- like a newspaper or a book- and redacting words from the pages to make a new poem. Creative writing is not something that most people practice in their daily lives, but it can be a great way to use a different part of your brain and relieve writers block. With all usable words laid out in front of you, the pressure of writing is eliminated and your piece becomes purely about creation instead of stress. 

Image of black-out poem with a dream theme.
Black-out poetry is a great way to relieve writer's block. Courtesy of TheWhitOnline.com

2. Clear Your Mind with Knitting

Knitting may seem complicated, but it is not too hard to start. After a little bit of practice, knitting becomes something you can do while watching TV, talking to your friends or on trips. It’s a great replacement for anyone addicted to their phones- it keeps your fingers moving and your mind clear. Plus, the items you create can make great gifts for your friends and family. 

Image of gray yarn ball.
Learning to knit makes giving gifts fun and personal.

3. Practice Calligraphy

Calligraphy is the art of decorative handwriting. For those of us who feel drawn to the artistic world but don’t feel we have the ability to actually draw a picture, calligraphy offers a way for us to draw with our words. Practicing calligraphy can take the stress out of writing and creating- you can start practicing with guides and use wording from any source to start testing your skills. And while you can use fancy brushes and pens, calligraphy can also be done with pencils. Here is a great guide to help you start practicing calligraphy.

Image of calligraphy pen and writing.
Calligraphy let’s you turn words into art.

4. Unleash Frustration with Splatter Painting

Splatter painting is such an easy and interactive way to express yourself. Just the throwing motion you use to fling the paint gets a lot of tension out of your body and lets you relax.  In its most basic form, all you have to do is add water to acrylic paint and fling it on to your canvas with a brush or even with your hands. But you don’t have to stick to canvas- you can splatter paint frames, mugs or even shoes.


Image of splatter painted keyboard.
Splatter painting can provide a much-needed emotional release. 

5. Use Your Makeup Creatively

Unlike with drawing or painting, makeup is something many of us are practiced in or feel less intimidated by since it is so widely used. Many of us use makeup in our daily lives, but usually we do so in ways that are acceptable to wear on a normal basis. But makeup can be used in so many more creative ways- you can essentially use your face like a canvas and create looks based around places, movies or feelings.. To start thinking creatively about makeup, I would use a challenge that started on TikTok where you randomly choose eyeshadow colors from your palette and have to use those shades to make a whole new look.

Image of pink-themed eyeshadow.
Let your face be your canvas as you relax creatively with your makeup.

6. Unwind with Origami

Origami is the Japanese art of paper-folding and it is known for being meditative. The materials are simple- all you need are paper and instructions and you can start creating anything from a paper crane to a boat or a hat. Much like knitting, what you create with origami can make for great gifts- you could make folded paper cranes into a mobile. An easy way to practice origami and make time to relax is to get an origami peel-a-day calendar that gives you a new design every day. With this sort of calendar being added into your routine, it is easier to establish time for creative thinking everyday.

Image of origami paper boat.
Practice origami and set aside time each day for creative thinking.

Whichever creative outlet you use, don’t focus on making your creations perfect. Perfectionism will only serve as a barrier to your learning and happiness in these activities. Art and creation are not about being perfect, but about self-expression and emotional release. Allow yourself to explore and create without being overly judgmental and give yourself time to simply enjoy your art.

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Caroline Hale
Caroline is a Pittsburgh-based writer and public speaking coach.
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