10 Activities to help increase creativity and reduce stress!

“Have you been redesigning your island on Animal Crossing or fabricating a world within The Sims? It all requires creativity and, baby, you got it!”

[AD] Elements of this post have been gifted or sponsered, however, all opinions are my own. For more information see the disclaimer.

As we grow older it becomes harder and harder to increase creativity. Our artistic side is cultivated less and less, and we have to start thinking about working as a means to pay our way. But as children, we’re taught to use our imaginations in order to play with toys or create artwork in pre-school. There was endless time to spend colouring our favourite books or creating worlds out of nothing. Now, there’s barely enough to make our evening dinner. That feeling of having lost your creativity isn’t unusual and you’re not alone. But the good news is that everyone has the ability to be creative in some way whether it be in the kitchen, the office or even playing video games.

Creativity promotes new ideas, helps our ability to solve problems, reduces stress and anxiety, and also acts as a way of self-expression. There are so many mind-altering benefits to being creative that not only encourage development in children but can also be very useful as a fully-fledged adult.


Why be creative?

I’ve talked about the many benefits of art on our mental health before, and honestly, the effects of creativity are very similar.

  • Being creative, no matter how you choose to do it, is an excellent way of promoting self-expression. Children are encouraged to paint, draw, and colour as a way of expressing how they feel. At a young age, we’re not adequately able to say what we mean, however as we get older we better learn how to communicate our wants, needs, and feelings to others in different ways. Therefore many of us feel like we no longer need art or creativity to convey these things. We fall out of the way of tapping into our creativity and, eventually, many forgot they even had any, to begin with.
  • Stress relief is honestly my main reason for tapping into my creativity. I thought I’d left it behind me when I entered my ‘dream‘ career. Before I would have spent hours writing fiction, sketching, painting, and even designing Sims on the PC. But as soon as I clocked in, my creative side clocked out. I had no way of relieving my stress and so it just continued to build until my cup was completely empty.
  • By tapping into our creative side we’re better equipped to come up with out-of-the-box, problem-solving ideas! Not everything requires a straightforward answer, and often when at work or leisure, we’re faced with unusual circumstances. Having the ability to see beyond the usual solutions, and to come up with something completely different is a very useful skill to have and one that employers will often praise.
  • Oh, and let’s not forget creative freedom! The freedom to create what you want, in whatever way you want. When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings he not only created an entire universe, but he also created various languages, and creatures to go with it!

10 Small & simple ways to increase creativity.

1. Keep a journal.

Journals give us the opportunity to express ourselves in private. Although you can choose to keep a public journal, I find keeping a physical, private one to be much more freeing. Whether it’s physical or digital, you should use your normal as a way of being creatively free. You can draw, colour, write, and scrapbook; The possibilities of a journal are endless.

2. Paint ceramics.

Sometimes trying to create your own clay models can be stressful, especially if you aren’t skilled with the medium. But you can buy already shaped and fired ceramics that are just waiting to be painted. This is a great way to destress and increase creativity without the added step of clay work.

3. Create decorative stones for your garden.

Next time you’re out in nature be sure to keep an eye out for smooth stones. These are perfect for cleaning and painting! And you can create whatever designs you want! During COVID-19 the local kids were creating rainbow designs in support of essential workers. Some of our neighbours have even painted their house numbers on stones instead of getting a plague!

4. Upcycle old furniture.

Since moving into my own home over two years ago, I’ve acquired my fair share of vintage furniture. Many items came from family and friends, while others came from thrift stores. I love sanding, stripping down, and re-cycling various pieces of furniture and decorations. It’s fairly simple too! Head onto Pinterest or Youtube and follow a simple tutorial to get started. But be warned, once you start you’ll never want to stop!

5. Try crocheting or knitting!

You can increase creativity even when following a Youtube tutorial and a traditional pattern! It’s all about letting your mind wander and learning how to move your fingers. My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was a kid. But it wasn’t until I began recovering that I had time to pick up the hook and needle again. I’m not a master knitter but I find it helps keep my hands busy when I’m anxious.

6. Create graphics.

Whether you’re a blogger, Instagram influencer, or just like to update your Facebook timeline with personal quotes, there’s nothing like messing around on photoshop to get the creative juices flowing. If you’re a bit like me and useless with Adobe, you can always opt to use browser-based apps like Canva!

7. Create art using old, outdated canvases.

Have you bought a few canvases, and put them up but now you’re sick of them? I do this all the time, especially when they’re cheap or on sale. But I don’t buy them to put up immediately. I buy them to paint over or modify to suit the vibe of a certain room. I’ve recycled so many canvases using acrylics, wall stickers, leftover wall paint, etc to create images more suited to what I need.

Chalk markers and acrylics from Funcils!

There are always cheap canvases available in thrift stores or bargain shops. Even if you don’t like the design, buy it anyway and jazz it up in any way you want. It’s one of the best ways to leave your own mark on your home or the home of a friend.

My husband is notorious for painting over cheap, unused canvases. We recently got the opportunity to work with Funcil’s acrylic paints and chalk markers. While I used the markers to work on ceramics, Ryan created this colourful masterpiece with acrylics!

Image created by Catdadpaints!

8. Send decorative letters.

COVID-19 has left a lot of people communicating via messenger and even snail mail. My late grandmother and I always used to send letters to each other and these would often be beautifully decorated with a variety of stickers and coloured paper. Just sitting down to write and decorate a letter for a loved one can be a cathartic experience. Not only are you being creative in the way you write and design your letter, but you’re also putting thought into a personal letter for someone you love.

9. Create your own ‘worry’ jar.

Grab an old mason jar and write your worries on coloured paper. You can crumble them up, shape them into stars or fold them; it doesn’t matter! As long as they go into the jar and stay there. It’s a great way to get our worries out onto paper and the act of putting them into a jar seals them from sight. While it won’t take the worry away, it symbolically removes it from your mind and contains it somewhere safe.

10. Try your hand at scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking is one of my grandmother’s favourite past-times. She loved creating books of old family photos, things she liked, people she admired and even quotes she loved. It’s not a tradition I’ve carried on, but I know of many people who use collages and scrapbooking as a way to relax.


How do you tap into your creative side? Do you have any go-to tools?

88 comments

  1. Above all, stay away from pharmaceuticals that cause an unnatural chemical imbalance and physical stress. Psychiatric consultation and only generates stress, divisive family angst, feelings of hatred and inadequacy just to lead to more prescriptions and more payments to therapists. That is what you should be discouraging.

  2. Well, these are great things, especially, the knitting, which is something I wanted to do but need to practice them haha. Thank you for sharing these great ideas!

  3. These are great suggestions for creative activities! I really want to get into journaling again, and I love scrapbooking as a kid, and it would be fun to start again.

  4. I love being creative! I’m a writer, but I also make pottery and resell vintage things. It’s essential for my mental health for sure.

  5. I agree with you that painting ceramics is a great way to increase creativity and reduce stress. This is way I am happy to see painting kits available on stores with all the materials complete.

  6. I joined a penpal group earlier this year and it has been so much fun. Not only have I made some new friends, but the combination of seeing their creativity decorating letters and decorating my own has really encouraged me to just have fun and embrace it. I definitely see myself continuing that for the years to come! It’s also fun getting creative with different little gifts and surprises that I can send to spoil the people that I’m writing to.

  7. I love creating graphics on Canva! I love being able to create different things for different people, and I have made two things that my online friends who stream consistently use. Great post. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. These are some good suggestions. I like the ideas of sending decorative letters and creating a worry jar! Thank you for sharing your suggestions.

    Lauren

  9. Great ideas here. Keeping a journal is classic and it never gets old. I always keep one. As a writer, I always keep a journal with me.

  10. You just made me think about my extremely neglected (and never really finished!) island on Animal Crossing – but I don’t have the time to jump on it and I miss it so much! Usually my creativity comes out in the kitchen, but I am sure that is no secret xx

  11. One thing I have heard from others is that painting can be very beneficial. Not just painting ceramics, but any type of painting. I haven’t given it a try just yet, but it sounds like a good idea for stress relief.

  12. All of these are fantastic ideas. I need to get back into scrapbooking, but can never seem to find time for it. I have a ton of scrapbooking supplies that I keep stored in my closet, I need to finally use them!

  13. Scrapbooking is my go-to creative outlet! I’ve been scrapbooking for over 20 years now and am almost caught up again with all my books. Other than that, cooking and baking is my outlet.

  14. Needed to draft you a little bit of observation so as to thank you very much the moment again just for the superb solutions you have contributed in this article. It has been simply particularly generous with people like you to allow without restraint all a lot of folks could have made available for an electronic book to help with making some profit on their own, chiefly seeing that you might well have done it in case you decided. These ideas also served as the good way to be aware that the rest have similar interest similar to my very own to know a whole lot more on the topic of this issue. I know there are some more enjoyable moments ahead for many who look into your blog.

  15. I agree, creativity relieves stress and I need more of this. Thank you so much for sharing the tips.

  16. Such an eye-opening post! I need to be more creative now as I don’t spend time doing fun stuff. I do have a journal and need to look at the other options you have suggested here.

  17. Same! Even as a writer I struggle to get the beginning of a post onto paper sometimes. And that’s sometimes purely down to the time of day or how I’m feeling internally. Often when I step back or just get started it goes away and I can get started.

  18. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it and I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed being creative through writing.

  19. I love this post. Growing up, I used to admire creative people and think that I wasn’t creative. That is until I picked up a camera. I’ve been a professional photographer for 17 years now and do other creative stuff. You never know unless you try. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. My creativity is writing and it helps me when I am anxious. Creativity also matters in therapy because of the nature of the therapeutic relationship. A willingness from both client and therapist to test ideas and to explore themes, is what will often lead to discoveries and eventually positive therapeutic change.

  21. I’m right there with you on that realization. Now I’m more creative than ever because I understand my need for a creative outlet of some description. But for years I buried it where no one could see it.

  22. Thank you so much for stopping in and reading! I hope I’ve helped you unlock some ideas! Now go out there and create!

  23. Yeah, it can take a lot of time but I have really been enjoying it as of late. I have a full dresser to makeover once I have the ‘get up and go’ to do so.

  24. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Getting creative and having this blog really helped me when my Gran passed. It gave me something else to think about and act on rather than swimming in grief.

  25. I keep saying I’m going to start a journal, I started a few weeks ago and stopped. It’s funny how I keep reading about the great benefits but canโ€™t commit. I really need to get out my own way. This is an amazing post!

  26. These are great ideas! We can all get creative using the differing gifts that we have. And yes, it is a stress-reliever indeed.

  27. I would love to do some creative projects! I did refinish a solid wood table a few months ago, and I loved it. It would be fun to do some more creative things.

  28. Ahh, thanks for the tips! I’ve always been creative but lately, lockdown has gotten me a bit devoid of inspiration. Definitely need to do some unlocking again!

  29. I never think of myself as a creative person, yet I always enjoy drawing and colouring with my kids. I find it very relaxing . Maybe I have still got a lit bit of creativity in me! Your post has given me great ideas to tap into my creativity. Thank you.

  30. I’ve been journaling again since lockdown and it has helped me in so many ways. I really do feel more at peace but also creative again in my writing and expression.

  31. Yeah do agree with you..everyone is creative but the only thing is that he or she are not aware of own values…well this blog post is truly very motivating and helpful for every of reader..glad to know that you shared this with us…Thanks indeed for sharing..great work though…

  32. As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, I do find that expressing myself creatively does wonders! Whether it’s art, writing or photography.

  33. Great tips. I used to be creative when I did art in school but then it just fizzled out. Tbh I don’t tend to have the patience for creative things now! I wish I did though.

  34. I used to write poems a lot when I was a teenager, but I have not done so when I started raising a family. I should try writing again. It helps me express thoughts and feelings that others might not understand if I verbalize it.

  35. Great ideas! It took me longer than I would like to admit to realize that creativity is actually an essential part of being a successful adult, at least for me. I’ve always struggled to acknowledge my creativity – like, if I wasn’t adept at Adobe or a specific art skill, then I wasn’t “creative.” Now, I use social media and my blog to tap into a creative side. Love these ideas to take it to the next level, thank you! ????

  36. Thank you so much for sharing this! Itโ€™s definitely a lot harder to stay creative as an adult!

  37. Ohhh, this post is right up my alley. I do it all hun! Expressing myself creatively keeps me sharp, lifts my mood and helps me to organize my thoughts. This has done wonders in getting my anxiety in check!

  38. My creative outlet is definitely writing and I find it very helpful the older I get. Thank you for showing me other ways of being creative too. I love trying new things.

  39. My creative outlets, which for me is mostly writing, but I do attempt other stuff sometimes, is vital for my mental health. Everyone has that creative thing that will bring so much good to them, you just have to allow yourself to find it.

  40. These are such great suggestions, I feel like my art, graphics, and fanfictions keep me young and happy. I’m working on a little project like the old DA art meme was draw your OC in 6 art styles, so I am doing that with a twist, it’s with Harry and Hermione from Harry Potter, and I have a new idea for a fanart, and I am working on some fanfictions.

  41. For years I went with the philosophy that I was not creative because I was no good t art subjects at school! But since entering my 30s, I have found my creative flare! And you’r right, it is such a stress reliever! My canvases sounds really fun, this is something I’m going to try myself! xxx

  42. I feel like I’ve had a lot more time to be creative during this period but some of these I’ve yet to try. I used to upcycle furniture a lot and I really miss it but it does require quite a bit of time to do.

  43. These are fun suggestions. I’ve been meaning to upcycle some furniture for a while now – I picked it up, but haven’t taken the time to actually get the work done. I think I need to try to find some time to make that happen and give myself that chance to enjoy some ‘creative’ time. Thank you for the inspiration!

  44. Journaling is such a great creative outlet. Before my blog I regularly kept a bullet journal and really had fun with it!

  45. I love the letter writing idea. I get outside with my camera to help stay creative. I also journal but have been slacking on that in the last month. ????

  46. Creativity is an immense gift that in my opinion should never be missing in people, especially in adulthood. It is always to be cultivated!

  47. Thanks for sharing- I started blog writing as I realised I did nothing creative and needed an outlet to express myself.

    Being able to craft out posts and design graphics is very satisfying!

  48. I love this post. Those designs are gorgeous as well.

    I found making cards after Mum passed away really really helped me. I could lose myself for hours and it was exactly what I needed at that time x x

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