Self-care consists of many different components: It is about nourishing and honoring ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It is about gaining a deeper, richer understanding of ourselves, which, of course, helps us to identify our needs and then meet them. It is about surrounding ourselves with respectful relationships. It is about being honest with ourselves. It is about saying no (to what doesn’t feed us) and saying yes (to what does).
I love using art and play to practice self-care, because they can help us connect to ourselves in unique ways. Collage is one powerful technique to try. You can use collage to explore different topics that make up self-care for you. And the act of creating a collage is self-care in and of itself, because you’re carving out time to connect to yourself. You’re providing the space to reflect on and to explore what’s on your mind, what matters to you. While creating your collage, you can add other elements that soothe or inspire you: music, guided meditation, candles, essential oils, a soft blanket, a cup of tea or coffee.
To assemble your collage, you can use magazine images, newspaper clippings, maps, postcards or greeting cards, photos, scrapbook paper, ribbon, and any other materials that speak to you. You might want to dedicate a separate notebook to your collages, which you can take with you on the go. In fact, create a mini collage kit. Cut out different images and materials that draw your attention, and put them in a pencil pouch or case. Add a glue stick, and you’re good to go. You can work on your collage while waiting for an appointment, while on the train for your commute, while your child has gymnastics, dance or soccer practice, while sitting at a coffee shop or at the park during your lunch break.
Here’s a list of different ways you can use collage to practice self-care:
- Create a collage with images that reflect your dreams and goals.
- Create a collage that reflects what you want your home to look and feel like.
- Create a collage that expresses whatever emotion you’re currently experiencing and maybe struggling with. Let images speak the words you can’t.
- Create a collage with images that reflect your heart and soul.
- Make a collage about what you’d like next month to look like.
- Make a collage as a response to a prompt, such as: Lately, I’ve been struggling with …. I’m not sure what to do about…. My favorite things are …. What I love about myself is …. This is what I need right now …. What am I missing right now? This is why I appreciate my body…
- Make a collage about what play means to you and how you’d like to add play to your days.
- Make a collage about everything you’d like to say no to—and everything you’d like to say yes to.
- Make a collage about what’s important to you. Reflect on how you can prioritize these things.
- Make a collage about what you need mentally or emotionally or spiritually or physically.
- Make a collage about the delicious things that feed your senses. And start filling your life with these things.
- Make a collage titled: Who am I?
Think of other ways you can use collage to take tender care of yourself, to better understand yourself, to explore and meet your needs. Think of other ways collage (and other art-inspired techniques) can serve and support you. After all, trying new things can connect us to parts of ourselves we haven’t connected to in a long time—or ever before.