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Creative Ways to Support your Mental Health
Wanting to try something different to support and invest in your mental health? These tips share some creative ways you can take steps toward wellness.
Dance it out! Whether you take lessons or do it just for fun, dancing is proven to improve your mood and overall mental health. Check out our dance curriculum on mytoolkit.ca for some inspiration.
Verbalizing how you feel is not always easy. When you're having trouble communicating your emotions, try drawing or painting what you are experiencing. Play with different colours, shapes and textures to represent the emotion(s) you are feeling.
Scribble it out! Did you know that scribbling can help to reduce anxiety or anger? Practice applying different levels of pressure while you scribble and then reflect on how you feel afterwards.
Feeling stuck? Take 5 minutes out of your day to write in a journal. Write like no one is reading your entry except for you!
Do you struggle to name the emotions that you are experiencing? Create your own feelings wheel! It's a simple, yet creative way to help you identify your different emotions.
Have you been bottling up your emotions? Do you feel like you might burst? On a piece of paper, write down what's been on your mind and then rip the paper up! This can be a great release.
Drawing and painting aren't for everyone. So, try something different, like collaging! Start by cutting out magazine pictures to create a vision board of your goals and hopes for the future.
Feeling alone? Reach out to a close friend to do something creative together, like baking.
Knitting or quilting is a great coping mechanism and self-care technique. It can help you to feel relaxed, and the sense of accomplishment can boost your mood!
Take time to express gratitude by making a gratitude tree. On each leaf, write something you are appreciative of. Practicing gratitude can have a surprising impact on your wellbeing.
Looking for a creative grounding strategy? Use rocks as your canvas! Write positive or motivational messages on rocks to serve as reminders for when you're feeling low. You can also carry smaller ones with you to use as worry stones.
Giving to others often makes us feel good! So, how about making something crafty for someone you love? These little acts of kindness can greatly benefit others and ourselves.
Playing with modelling clay can be very calming. Whether you create something with the clay or not, this sensory activity can help you to be present and to relax.
Do you know what a zentangle is? It's a fun and artistic way to help your brain relax! It helps to reduce anxiety and promote feelings of peace, while allowing you to focus on the present moment.
Some days, creating a masterpiece may feel too overwhelming. Take a step back and simply colour a mandala using colours that calm you. Check out the Anchor book we co-created with youth from Halifax for mandalas to print off.
Being outside in the sun and fresh air can help to elevate your mood and clear your mind. Whether you are on a walk or are just sitting out in nature, take the time to tune into your emotions by writing or drawing in a notebook.
Look through your life with a different lens by capturing moments of clarity and joy with a camera. Reflect on the photos you took by writing down what you saw, felt, heard and thought of when you snapped the pic.
Useful journal prompt idea: jot down different ways to ask for what you need when you’re feeling low or upset. What tends to be helpful when you feel that way? It can be hard to pinpoint these things in the moment, so having it already written out somewhere can really help.
Use a journal to capture what happened during your therapy sessions, track your triggers, or make a list of different coping strategies to try. Take a look at this page for more journalling inspiration on the topic of mental health!
How have you supported a friend recently? Consider journalling about how you can do the same for yourself.
Create a self-care box to hold items that provide you comfort (e.g. worry stones, headphones, essential oils, nail care items, fidget toys, play-doh, tea, tissues, lotion, positive notes, etc.). Decorate the outside with quotes and pictures that inspire you to keep going!
Poetry can help bring light to our darkest moments. Check out this article about the benefits of reciting poetry for your mental health.
Are you needing to take a break? Make time to do something creative while you rest, like listening to music and drawing lines and shapes based on the rhythms you hear!
Write a letter to your future self. Reflect on what you would like to hear 5 years from now. Leave space to offer words of encouragement.
Are you looking for a new project? How about upcycling your old furniture? By changing your surroundings, you can get a fresh start and a new perspective.
Curious about art therapy? Check out our interview with Arielle Bush from Hoto Art therapy to discover if this approach is right for you.
Venture outside your comfort zone and sign up for a class in something you've never done before, like a cooking, acting, or tai chi class! Trying something new can feel scary, but you might discover a new passion or way to practice self-care.
Some say laughter is the best medicine. Join an improv club or write down your own jokes and stories to tell your family and friends.
Woodworking is a great stress-relieving hobby. By making something out of wood, it can help to keep your mind and hands busy.
Participate in a 30-day affirmation challenge! Each day, write down a positive statement about yourself or your life. Positive affirmations help us to challenge and overcome our negative thoughts.
Doing jigsaw puzzles can be a great stress-reliever and coping tool! By helping you to focus on something other than your negative thoughts and feelings, puzzles are an effective calming strategy for many people.
These tips were originally posted on our Twitter account under the hashtag #mymTips with a different topic each month. Follow us on Twitter to see a new tip each day, or visit the wellness section on our website next month to see the set posted in full.