Four artistic ways to relieve stress at home or on the road.
Life can be hard. It’s only Tuesday and you’re already feeling or have felt stressed, sad, heartache, frustration or any other kind of bothersome feeling, so early on in your week. Well, don’t fret, because you’re not alone. Sometimes we can’t explain the feelings we have, and other times, life just hits us like a giant red rubber ball from early 2000. So what should you do during times like this? It’s always good to talk about it, but sometimes, you just don’t want to. When that’s you (and it’s been me many times), try these four stress relievers that cater to the artist in all of us.
1. Paint or sketch. You don’t have to be Banksy to get your feelings out through some drawings. Painting and sketching requires focus, concentration and thought. But there’s no rule book that says you have to be a professional to own a canvas or some charcoal pencils and shaders. The cool part about painting and sketching is that it can take you hours and you can lose track of time very easily. Got something stuck on your mind? Draw it out. Post it on something. It will be a great release.
[a messy sketch by a completely average and non-professional artist, me]
2. Poetry. Feeling emotional? Bust out some rhymes. Poetry is a wonderful and emotional way to get out your feelings without having to speak one word. Find a quiet place and start writing down not just your problems, but exactly how those problems are making you feel. Some people feel like poetry is hard, but a lot of the best pieces come from pure emotion. So if you’re feeling down or just emotional, sit somewhere beautiful and write down everything that comes to mind. Having trouble rhyming? Start with simple words and try going through every word in the alphabet to see if you can find another word that rhymes with it. Think of it like a game. Once you’ve found the words, it feels good to read your finished work. And don’t feel discouraged if it takes you a while. Some of the best poetry takes long hours, days, months and even years!
Cannot find the words to say?
Continue the search, they’ll return one day.
Certain minds can be complex,
It’s the reason I’m not like the rest.
3. Keep a journal. If poetry doesn’t work for you, buy a journal and start writing. Write how you’re feeling, what kinds of moods you’re in and how you got to where you’re at. Everyone can write. To write is to simply put your thoughts on paper. Don’t think about grammatical errors and don’t think about who’s going to read it. Just write. And keep writing. The cool part about this is going back to your old journal entries and re-reading how you felt and what you did to get over that. Because the truth is, although we feel sad today, a better tomorrow is on its way. And once you get out of this rut, it will be fascinating to follow your past, gloomy self. And you could use that the next time life throws a punch at you. I found an old journal entry during my times of grief when I lost my mom. It was interesting to read the words of myself 6 years ago, and it was mind-blowing to realize how far I had come from that point.
4. Play some music. Don’t know any instruments? Learn. Not only is learning how to play an instrument an extremely valuable quality, it’s also very therapeutic and another thing to keep your mind busy. You don’t have to be the best singer, piano player, guitarist or etc., you just have to have the desire to learn. Playing music is something that you can improve at, it’s something you can challenge yourself with, and ultimately something you’ll be proud of, no matter what level you reach. I’m not the best with rhythm, so I picked the easiest instrument I could find, the cajon! It’s literally just a wooden box you hit with your hands to make a beat. The best part about music is that it’s so encouraging and when other people see/hear you play, they want to either learn, or join in. Have friends who know how to play? Start a weekly jam session! Thirty minutes will go a long way. Don’t know anyone who can play music, or aren’t ready to play in front of people? Well, that’s why God made YouTube, right?
We all feel blue sometimes. It’s one of the downsides to this thing called life. But a lot of times people try to convince us that the only way to get through it is to sit on a couch and pay someone to listen to us, or open ourselves up completely to all our loved ones. Although talking through things can be very helpful, sometimes there are just no words to say. So when that happens, turn to art. Oftentimes we’re convinced that just because we aren’t “known” for our art, we are not artists. But anyone can be artistic. To practice art is to practice beauty, so instead of sharing your feelings, share your creations.