7 Art Therapy activities to do at home

Online event: Art Therapy for Well-Being | Art Therapy with Kimberly

If you’re reading this you’re probably well aware of the benefits of art therapy.

Art making in and of itself is a form of communication. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the moment you create a piece of art you are communicating a message, consciously and subconsciously. This is why engaging in art therapy can such an illuminating process. The visual language used during art-making is often symbolic and rich with metaphors. When you are in session with an art therapist you will begin to make meaning from your creations by exploring the symbols and metaphors that come up in the art.

However, if you are wanting to dip your feet in art therapy and aren’t ready to try an art therapy session, here are some things you can try at home right now. I’ve deliberately chosen activities that don’t require fancy materials, most of the supplies you would probably already have at home.

Create a nice space for yourself, play your favorite music, light a candle, and let’s get started!

1. Create an empowerment poster

On a blank piece of paper or a large poster cut up images, words and quotes from magazines that inspires you to live your best life. Once you’re done, put your poster in a place you can see every day.

2. Design your own mandala

The art therapy mandala circle is a representation of “wholeness” and can used as a mirror of the self. Creating mandalas can help bring our entire sense of self into awareness. It allows us to acknowledge and begin to work with all parts of ourselves, not only the parts we like and want to show the world, but also the parts we hide. All you have to do is draw a circle. Then take a moment and close your eyes, thinking about your inner world right now. When you’re ready, doodle spontaneously. Let the image take on a life of it’s own. Fill in the entire circle with images, symbols, colors. You could also create a nature mandala using leaves, rocks, petals and flowers – this can be particularly grounding and a nice activity to do with kids.

Yorkshire-based artist James Brunt
Yorkshire based artist James Brunt

3. Paint a response

Paint in response to your current favorite song. Try moving your paint brush at the beat of the song, and then tracing it later. The choice is yours!

4. Create an animated self portrait

Take a picture of yourself with a neutral face. Don’t try to make your face to look nice, this isn’t a selfie to put on social media. This is just a neutral picture of your face. Look at the picture beyond your criticisms and judgements. Look at your face as if you’ve seen it for the very first time, as if it’s not yours. What calls to you the most? Now draw yourself as if seeing yourself for the first time.

5. Black out Poetry

Sometimes we need an outlet to describe our thoughts and feelings, and poetry can be a powerful form of expression. Using a page from a magazine, newspaper or any other pieces of pre-written text, and then isolate single words or short phrases to create something new. Black out or color the rest of the page, creating a design that surrounds your new poem.

Black out poetry by Patricia Tiffany Morris
Black out poetry by Patricia Tiffany Morris

6. Doodle your breath

With a large piece of paper draw, or doodle your breath. First try short breaths that only fill the top of your lungs. Then try drawing a long, relaxed breath with a deep exhale, the kind you take when you become very aware that you are breathing. After you’re done you can fill in the lines using colors that match the energy of each breath.

7. Create a note to self

If you are in good spirits, create a letter to yourself for when things aren’t going well in your life. If you aren’t going through a good time, imagine your best friend is in your current situation, what would you tell him or her? Often the best advice to take is the kind we give to others.

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