Many of us are looking for ways to spark creativity in our lives and feel renewed. It helps to remember that creative expression isn’t just about the finished products—paintings, sculptures, books, and photographs—even though those things are incredibly meaningful. One of the greatest benefits of doing creative work is a sense of well-being.
You may know from experience how creativity and wellness work together. Creative activities give us a healthy way to process our experiences and express ourselves. Adding small acts of self-care and creativity to our daily lives can actually reduce stress, energize the body and mind, and help us prepare for new challenges. So, the more creative exploration we do, the better we feel (emotionally and physically). The better we feel, the more attention we can give to creative endeavors. It’s a beautiful cycle!
Here are some great, creative ways to support your health and well-being.
01 Create a calendar of positivity
Instead of filling your calendar with obligations, tasks, and deadlines, focus on small rewards to relieve stress. Use the advent calendar as inspiration, and create your own version (with or without “window” flaps”). Fill in each day of the month with a compliment for yourself, a motivational quote, a doodle to make, or an activity that feels nourishing (Take a bubble bath. Have breakfast in bed. Photograph the sky.)
02 Move to music
Music is a great way to support your well-being. You don’t have to think of it as dancing to enjoy a physical and emotional release. You can crank up the volume and throw a dance party for yourself or put on mellow tunes and do some yoga or full body stretches. Try a jumping jacks or just shake out your limbs. There’s no magic formula, as long as you feel the beat and move your body. Good vibes will follow.
03 Recognize sources of joy
Did you know there is scientific evidence that practicing gratitude can boost your mood? It’s true: People who take the time to notice and reflect on things they are thankful for report more positive emotions, better sleep, more alertness, and even more compassion. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to jot down things that bring you happiness (people, pets, books, hobbies, food, etc.). Turn this into a daily or weekly practice to help support your health and well-being.
04 Make a mood collage
Support your well-being by acknowledging your personal highs and lows. Afterall, it’s a part of being human. Instead of labeling a feeling as “good” or “bad,” try expressing it with a mood collage. Think about the colors, shapes, images, and words that represent your state of mind, and use any combination of art supplies to create your picture. It’s all about the process. So you may choose to keep it, share it, hide it, display it, or discard it when you’re done.
05 Start an herb garden or flower arrangement
Working your hands into soil and focusing on the natural wonders of plant life can be therapeutic, especially if your typical workday involves a lot of indoor screen time or desk work. Spend a few minutes planting seeds in a window herb garden or arranging cut flowers to stimulate the senses, calm the mind, and shift your attention to the beauty of nature.
06 Make a deck of inspiration cards
This exercise is like journaling with a tactile twist. Create your own portable deck of ideas and inspiration, using index cards, card stock, or cardboard as the base. Then add words, quotes, photos, drawings, paint, or collage to each card. The rest is up to you! Carry them in your bag. Draw one for random inspiration.
07 Journal your own way
If you have tried journaling and are not a fan, that’s ok. If you’re still kind of curious and willing to give it a shot, remember a journal can be whatever you want it to be. And it can look different from day to day, page to page. Inspirational quotes. Geometric shapes. Magazine cutouts. Photos. Poems. Drawings. A list of dreams and goals. It’s your creative tool to use as you wish.
08 Try simple forms of meditating
The idea of meditation can be intimidating, especially when tasked with achieving perfect stillness or transcendence. While traditional forms of meditation can provide great mental and physical benefits, your way of calming the mind and increasing awareness might look different. Try focusing on a color, pattern, sound, or object (nothing sentimental) in front of you, and give it all your attention for 5 minutes. A leaf, a blanket, a piece of fruit, a tabletop, a button, the wind, or a candle. Notice its shape, smell, texture, variations, or repetitions without judgment, as you simply breathe.
09 Make a memory box or jar
Combine the best elements of scrapbooking (celebrating memories, storytelling, and crafting) in a 3-D format that gives back in a unique way. Start with a large jar or shoebox (with an opening cut in the lid), and decorate the outside with paper, paint, gems, or materials you love. Then place photos, written memories, quotes, drawings, or personal mementos inside (fill it in one sitting or over several days). Start each day by reaching inside and retrieving a memento to lift your mood.
10 Practice breathing exercises
Clearing the mind and relaxing the body means you can make room for new ideas to flow in. One of the simplest ways to do that is with controlled breathing. Doing breathwork exercises can actually reduce stress, calm nerves, improve concentration, and boost the immune system. Start by sitting or lying in a comfortable position. Then take a deep breath, expanding your belly, and pause. Exhale slowly as you count to five. Repeat 5 to 10 times, and do this exercise throughout the day, as needed.
11 Color a mandala pattern
Add a bit of movement to your meditation practice by drawing or coloring in a mandala, or another abstract pattern. Mandalas are typically circular, geometric designs that contain repeating shapes and symbols, and are used to help focus one’s attention. You can find printable mandala patterns online, sketch your own freehand, or use drawing tools like the classic Spirograph kit to create your own spirals of self-expression.
12 Use a quote as a writing prompt
When you can’t quite find the words to express a feeling or idea, sometimes a quote from someone else can get you started. Maybe it’s a line from a favorite novel or poem, a family saying, a lyric in a song, or a quote by someone you admire. Even a single word or image could get your ideas flowing.
Find even more original ways to stay inspired on the blog. You can start with these 10 creative activities to do at home.