Life Journal Workshop: Creative Play Can Relieve Stress
On my website ByDesignforWomen.com, I did a post about a mandala I created while relaxing on the beach. This week I made time to color the mandala in the image below. Coloring mandalas and creating Zentangles have been two important ways for me to relieve stress over the years. I would like to share with you a few of the creative ways I have learned to manage stress. You might be surprised by the suggestions.
The quote in the corner that I jotted down while creating the mandala was “Don’t wait for your life to show up. Show up for your life.” Stress can cause us to want to hide from our lives. The key to relieving stress is discovering what works best for you. The life journal workshop is about using creative journaling to relieve stress. Today I want to share a few different ideas that are creative but you don’t start with your life journal!
Why we need to manage stress
There are many areas of life that might cause us stress: marriage, kids, finances, health, family, work ¦ We need to manage stress because stress makes us grumpy, it can make us physically ill, it takes all the fun out of life. We find ourselves snapping at co-workers, griping to our spouses or lying in bed crying and unable to move. If we want to serve the world and be present for our families, we must learn to relieve stress. Learning to manage stress is the most important key to creating a joyful and fulfilling life.
In fact, I would say that more important than managing stress is learning to completely eradicate stress from our lives. Is this possible? I believe it is.
Here are 3 suggestions for creative and fun ways to relieve stress:
1. Color with crayons! Remember how it felt when you were a child with a new box of crayons?
All those brilliant colors, sharp tips and funny names! Oh, and the delightful wax smell. Opening a box of crayons will remind you how to be creative again. Whether you go buy a new box or raid your kids ™ stash, get a blank piece of printer paper and a few crayons and just color. You don't have to create a picture of anything. There is no judgement about quality. This is not about making fine art, it's about relaxing into joy for a few minutes.
Focusing on what you are coloring will help relieve stress in two ways:
- It is a distraction from whatever negative thoughts you were focusing on.
- Coloring keeps your hands busy, allowing your mind to wander. I solve a lot of problems and come up with some creative ideas when I am doodling.
In your life journal: take 5 or 10 minutes to write about your play with crayons. Did it bring back memories? Do you feel differently? Describe your experience.
2. Play with Playdough!
No kids with Playdough at home? No problem, here is a simple recipe to make some play-dough or go buy some at the local dollar store. It's time to get physical!
Allow yourself to really play with the playdough like you did when you were a child.
- Feeling sad or anxious? Pound the playdough flat with your fist or palm.
- Shape the playdough into a ball and throw it at the floor to see what happens.
- Make snakes, towers, rocks, flowers, whatever inspires you! Allow yourself to play for 15 to 30 minutes.
This type of tactile experience is a great way to relieve stress, anger, frustration or disappointment. When we allow ourselves time for self-care, we are better able to manage stress. The more time we give ourselves to play freely, the closer we can come to eradicating stress from our lives.
In your life journal: take 5 or 10 minutes to write about your play with playdough. Did it bring back memories? Do you feel differently? Describe your experience.
3. Play in the mud!
Did you make mudpies as a child? I did, and I made my brother taste them. My cousin Lainy and I loved to play in the mud and my aunt would give us left over aluminum pie plates to fill with mud and doodle bugs.
I still love to dip my toes in the mud, squish them around, cover my hands and let the mud ooze out through my fingers. Don't say, Oh, gross. Don't worry about getting dirty, we are washable and so are our clothes, just wear grubby clothes.
Playing in the mud will help you relieve stress by:
- Getting outside in nature
- Getting some fresh air
- Remembering what it feels like not to care about getting dirty
- Reconnecting to earth in a playful, child like manner.
- Allowing you to be silly!
In your life journal: take 5 or 10 minutes to write about your play with mud, sand or dirt. Did it bring back memories? Do you feel differently? Describe your experience.
As you can see, there is a theme to my little known ways to relieve stress. PLAY is a powerful tool for managing stress and reconnecting to what makes us happy. We have to be intentional about how me manage stress if we truly want to eradicate from our lives.
How do you relieve stress by playing? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Need help relieving stress in your life? Consider joining one of my HeartWise Sister Circles, a program designed just for women who are trying to relieve stress and need a safe place to share their story, get tips on finding balance in their life and discover creative ideas for managing stress on a daily basis, at home or at the office.