The pandemic has been mentally and emotionally draining for many of us. Making progress also seems twice as onerous. While we're all doing our best to manage to get by while keeping all our everyday day-to-day routines intact, we can only do so much - we need to look for different ways to do self-care.
What is something creative that you enjoy doing? For some, it's dancing, creating music, drawing, painting, trying out a new recipe, upcycling, and so on. How do you feel whenever you do it? It makes others feel good, relaxed, inspired, free and energized. These experiences show how art provides a unique zone to express ourselves, connect, and heal fully. Art is indeed a powerful tool for self-care and wellness.
Art creation as your self-care arsenal
Art comes in many different forms. It may refer to visual arts like drawing, sculpture, painting, etc., or performing arts like creative writing, motion picture, music, theater, and dancing—the sky's the limit.
Studies prove that art is a tool that helps improve our physical, mental, and emotional health, resulting in the birth of art therapy, one holistic approach to improving a person's well-being. Art undoubtedly aids those who experience stress, anxiety, or depression in coping. Mentally, it helps improve reasoning, memory, and resilience, especially in older adults.
Art-making is beautiful because it does not have to be complicated or perfected. Art is free, and for everyone, it does not matter if you're Picasso or a stick-figure expert. It simply takes an authentic expression of oneself.
Art forms for every age group today
For many millennials and Generation Z youngsters today, art comes in creative makeup, fashion and styling, and other forms of visual arts. Meanwhile, adults and the elderly enjoy dancing for wellness or decorating the household. If you're a parent-to-be, creative preparation of baby essentials sounds excellent! If you want to surprise your baby creatively while expressing your art, you can consider designing your baby's room or choosing a colorful and safe play gym your baby can use soon.
Remember, though, that any form of art can be experienced or done by anyone, regardless of age.
Why art as self-care is important
Now that you've understood how art meets self-care let's identify the benefits of self-care through art.
1. Art gives you space for self-expression
Art tells your story. It is a creative medium that can reflect your inner world and reveal unsaid thoughts. The texture you make, the colors you select, and even the pressure in your brushstrokes show how you think and feel. These are all your choices, and these choices reflect our core desires.
Art limitlessly expresses experiences–may they be victory or harrowing defeats. For some, art is also a way to find meaning or healing. One example is Edvard Munch, a renowned Norwegian artist who suffered from auditory hallucinations and anxiety. Portraying his dark experiences through his artwork, his famous painting, "The Scream," was inspired by "a gust of melancholy." For him, this craft was his sweet escape from a bitter world.
2. Art connects you to your core
We're so busy processing the things around us and even rush ourselves to pursue the bigger goals we want to achieve. These often make us forget to check up on our inner selves. How are we? Can we say that our external actions are still following our core?
Creating art is critical if you want to mute the external world to tune in to your core. If you notice, when you create art, regardless of its form, it's often easy to zone out to focus on what you're doing. This behavior implies that you're listening to your inner self to hear or discover more about yourself and process your emotions. As a result, you can better communicate and connect with yourself and others.
To revert to your right tempo, try making art.
3. Art teaches you to embrace flaws
Your art's beauty isn't determined by how straight your lines are, how blended your colors are, or how realistic your artwork looks. This concept parallels that other people's expectations and standards don't measure your worth. So, let your preferences and instincts lead your strokes and elements.
The things you see as imperfections can make your art unique and highly valuable. It's like Kintsugi, the Japanese art of putting broken pot pieces together with gold: sometimes, what you perceive as imperfections can even set your art apart and reflect realness.
4. Art activates your brain's reward center
According to studies, the art-creation process switches on our brain's reward pathway, which also prompts dopamine release. This chemical regulates our mood and helps increase our happiness levels.
Like any other creative activity, art creation can allow you to tap into a state of "flow" or an immersive state. This flow relaxes your mind, increases your motivation levels, enables better performance, and combats stress. It's an excellent go-to activity, especially if you're experiencing work stress, anxiety during your period, or other mental challenges.
5. Art reminds you to enjoy the process
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you want to see the results before you let yourself loose and enjoy yourself? That's normal and relatable. However, if you want to harness art as a form of self-care, embracing the long, grueling, and rough journey is necessary.
While it's tempting to skip to the good part where you can see the final output, there's joy in the process–in creating chores, making repetitive strokes, and mixing colors to achieve your desired hues. And when you make a mistake, it involves learning, too.
Make every moment of your art creation count. There's beauty in the process. You have to look for it.