For artist and art mentor Amy Maricle and her students, making art is a powerful form of self-care. It is how they connect to nature. It is how they slow down. It is how they make meaning. It is how they say, Yes. I am here.

Making art can help us to reconnect to ourselves. And this reconnection, this returning to ourselves, is a pivotal part of self-care.

Below are some ideas on incorporating creative self-care into your days.

  • Make a beautiful, elaborate meal once a week—without any recipes. Think of yourself as a highly creative chef with your own quirky restaurant. (As Cynthia Morris told me, food is “the highest art.”) What interesting combinations do you create? How do you play in the kitchen?
  • Every morning spend 10 minutes drawing one thing from your dreams.
  • Use nature as inspiration by mimicking a pattern from a leaf, a color of a flower, the shapes in the sky in your notebook.
  • At lunch journal your response to the question: What do I need today?
  • Carve out 5 minutes to dance to a favorite song. Afterward, jot down any thoughts that arise.
  • Read poetry before bed. Poetry helps us to pause and realize the wonder in the smallest things and beings. Children’s books do the same. So you might devour a children’s book, too, or instead.
  • If you take the train or bus to work (or anywhere), make up paragraph-long stories for the passengers. Using our imagination is a great way to practice self-care. After all, self-care includes feeding our minds and having fun.
  • Create inchies—a 1 inch by 1 inch square of cardstock—based on how you’re feeling each day.
  • Capture your day in your visual journal. As Kelly said, “I put together a new image (abstract or realistic) on a small 4 x 6 inch card that represents the day. On the flip side of the card, I write the date and usually write a response reflecting on the day or the image I just created.” Check out this video of Kelly creating an entry.
  • Explore these five prompts every day: I wish… Today I feel… The number one thing on my mind right now is… The most important thing you need to know about me is…. If I were a flower, I’d be a _____ because…
  • Put Post-It notes in all sorts of places—inside desk drawers, on your dashboard, on your laptop, on the bathroom mirror, inside your lunchbox. Let them serve as reminders to close your eyes, take an extra deep breath, and ask yourself: How am I really doing? 

What does creative self-care look like to you? How can you incorporate art-making into your days? 

Photo by Thought Catalog.