A lot of women are at a breaking point due to work-related stress. Talk about the early morning rush to your workplace, the never-ending emails, meetings, projects, travel schedules, and your grumpy boss who keeps reminding you about deadlines. Name it, all that may be stressing you out is probably located in this one place you call your office. It does not help that most working women have other concerns to worry about like childcare and other interpersonal relationships. It is worst if you are a working mother who has to juggle work and home duties. There may be several self-care activities out there to do but there is one exciting activity that women might want to try –Art Therapy.
Art therapists suggest that working women may benefit greatly from making art. Many therapists now use art as therapy for adults and children alike. I am a school counselor and an artist myself, I utilize art therapy with my students, and I see remarkable improvements with my students after every art session.
What is Art Therapy
Art therapy, as suggested by its name is basically art and therapy– this means using artistic methods as a form of therapy to enhance a person’s mental health.
In 1942, Art therapy was founded by Adrian Hill. Hill discovered the healthful benefits of art, painting, and drawing, while he was recovering from tuberculosis.
A lot of art therapy techniques and activities have been known to relieve stress in adults and children, that is why therapists now employ art-related activities and materials as part of therapy sessions.
Benefits of Art Therapy and Why Working Women Should Try it
Art therapy has lots of benefits. As a form of expressive therapy, art therapy may help women who may be stressed at work to express themselves and use art as a cathartic release.
Here are a few benefits of art therapy for working women:
1. Art Therapy for Focus Keeps Your Mind Off Things
When you are focused on creating, it is difficult to think of what’s stressing you. This is why art therapy can alleviate work stress, for a few minutes or even hours, the person making art may feel relief and may even feel utterly unaware of time while art-making.
Drawing, for example, even if you are not good at it forces you to focus, and you may greatly benefit from the patience and discipline that you develop from practicing your drawings. While drawing, you do not only get your mind off your stresses, but it can help you think and focus better on other important things needed to be done.
2. Art as a Hobby Quiets the Soul
If there’s one thing a lot of people can benefit from art is it’s relaxing effect, If you find your other hobbies entertaining but may still feel physically tired doing them, then you may want to try art as a hobby. Art won’t need a lot of physical effort, instead, art quiets the soul and the mind. It almost has the same benefits as meditation for women. With art, you can find your core, and you might just carry on the day energized right after finishing an artwork
3. Art for Self-Care Energizes the Body
Often, women forget that they deserve some downtime too. Having a hobby is a good way to keep your stresses at bay. Doing art as a hobby is enough to make you feel more balanced in your lifestyle. Being productive outside the office can also be a breath of fresh air for you. Imagine how much of your creative juices are released if you dedicate a few minutes of your time every day to making art.
Ma. Crizelle Ramos, the YouTube content creator of ColorsbyCC, talks about how she uses art as a medium for self-care.
Recommended Art Therapy Activities for Working Women
If you are interested to start getting your hands on some art materials but is still a bit daunted to start, you might want to check out this list of art Ideas for working women that I have put together just for you. I have been doing this for myself too, and they all alleviate my work stress anytime, so why not have a go with any or all of these:
If you are not really “the artist” but would like to try art as therapy, then you can opt to have a sketch diary where you can draw sketches that you are comfortable with and as you feel necessary. It can be symbols that represent your mood, experiences, or it may also include simple paintings. There are studies that back up the relationship between drawing, stress relief, and art therapy.
Art does not only involve painting or drawing; crafting, DIY-ing may be an excellent way to help relieve stress. Working women, especially mothers, may want to do simple D-I-Y projects with their kids on weekends. Women can do a variety of D-I-Y projects for art therapy, this may include recycled art projects to creating home decors. Also, having your work displayed gives you a feeling of being productive and pride for a job well done.
Creative Art Journal/ Planner
Journals and planners do not have to be just based on written words alone, you can make a journal or journal that is visually attractive, and that can express your emotions as well. Fill your journal with colorful stickers and colorful letterings or calligraphy. Go crazy with your planner, a few washi tapes and stamps won’t hurt.
There are many resources online where you can get tons of ideas about creative planning and journaling.
Line Art and Zentangles
This art form will give you those zen vibes that you might need to forget all that work stress draining you out.
Zentangles and line art are both fundamental types of art but can also contain a lot of emotions. Your lines and markings may reflect your “flow” or your mental state while performing your art activity.
Cathy Malchiodi, an art therapist and a visual artist who authored 13 books on arts therapies said that the repetitive creative work process of doing Zentangles could be calming and self-soothing. She also noted that some of the preliminary research on the Zentangle process shows that engagement in the art process has great relaxation benefits.
Drawing those lines and letting your inner flow guide you will leave you energized and focused. So use those lines to express how you feel, you will realize you have full involvement, and enjoyment as you do your art piece.
Mandalas are symbols of enlightenment or even a state of mind that you would like to achieve. Many cultures create mandalas for spiritual practices, meditation, and self-awareness.
A Word about Art
The renowned Goethe once penned, “for the nature of women is closely allied to art.” This goes to show that art is second, if not the very nature of women. Art therapy can truly help working women from the stresses of their jobs both from the workplace and at home. It might be good to try out being artsy-fartsy to keep yourself sane. After all, Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical Medical School believes that art is good prevention and also good medicine.
Art is for everyone, Just give it a go. You might be surprised to find out that you are a Van Gogh in the making.