Art Therapy Exercises to Try While You’re Working or Sheltering at Home

TYS Live Canvas

You can embrace the healing power of art right in the comfort of your own home with art therapy. By tapping into your creative self, you can discover and express your feelings and physical state. Art therapy can give people the self-awareness they need to explore and resolve underlying issues or work through stress. For people in troubling situations, art therapy can help guide them to see a situation clearly and encourage them to seek help.

You don’t need a fancy art studio to participate in art therapy. A lot of projects can be done with materials found in the home or with a quick trip to the store. Check out these easy art therapy projects to try at home:

Magazine Collage
Similar to a vision board, a magazine collage is more reflective of how you’re feeling now than of future goals. Seek out images from magazines, newspapers or online and cut them out and place them on a large piece of paper or poster board. Include colors, patterns and words or sayings that reflect your current feelings. You can even include some images of how you want that feeling to change in the future.

Mantra Drawing
Take the words of wisdom from someone else and turn them into something visually inspiring. Pick a word or saying to highlight on a large piece of paper or poster board. You’ll want your saying to be inspiring and something that speaks to your heart. If you can’t find the exact saying, cut out letters or words or draw your saying directly onto the board. Then add colors, symbols and images that illustrate your mantra and the positive feelings it invokes. Hang this in a place of honor where you’ll be able to see it every day as a reminder.

Self-Care Box
Sometimes when we’re feeling overwhelmed or upset, we don’t really know how to help ourselves. A self-care box will allow you to have a go-to kit for these situations. Take an old cardboard box (like a shoebox) and decorate the outside with positive affirmations and images that make you happy. Line the inside of the box with a calming or joyful color. Inside the box, place things that provide comfort such as pictures of family and friends, a book of poetry or other small mementos. You can even leave yourself a coloring book and colored pencils, a small gift card to your favorite store, a soothing bath bomb a movie ticket or a list of activities you enjoy.

Watercolor Your Bodily State
Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing stress, anxiety or pain. Explore your physical state with a watercolor of your body. Start by exploring your feelings. Lie down, close your eyes and visualize your body as you breathe in and out. Imagine watercolors flowing through your state of being. What colors do you see? Create a drawing using only colors that you find calming. Now, draw an outline of your body and use watercolors to create your vision. What do these colors mean to you? Where are they densest and where are they most opaque? Or get your hands messy and really have fun spreading the paint around—Finger painting isn’t just fun for kids– adults can enjoy it as well.

Blackout Poetry
Sometimes we need an outlet to describe our thoughts and feelings, and poetry can be a powerful form of expression. However, we’re not all skilled poets. Use a page from a magazine, newspaper or other pieces of pre-written text, and then isolate single words or short phrases to create something new. Blackout or color the rest of the page, creating a design that surrounds your new poem.

Are you ready to get creative and find the healing power inside yourself? Try one of these art therapy projects at home to give yourself clarity while reducing stress. If you need to seek further help, visit waymakersoc.org to learn more about services and programs for youth, adults and families that can help empower you to guide positive and lasting change.

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