June 23, 2024

DIY art therapy: How to paint for self-care and mental health

Published May 17, 2023, 12:20 a.m. by Violet Harris

Looking for a creative outlet that can help with your mental health? Consider diy art therapy! Painting is a great way to relax and de-stress, and it can be a therapeutic way to express yourself.

diy art therapy can be a great way to practice self-care and boost your mental health. Painting is a relaxing and therapeutic activity that can help to reduce stress and anxiety. It can also be a great way to express yourself and your emotions.

If you’re new to painting, start with simple projects that you can complete in a short amount of time. Experiment with different colors and techniques until you find a style that you enjoy. There are no rules in art, so let your creativity flow!

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start working on larger projects. If you’re feeling stuck, try following along with online tutorials or attending a painting class.

Don’t forget to take breaks when you need them! Painting can be taxing on your mental health, so make sure to listen to your body and take breaks when you feel overwhelmed.

diy art therapy is a great way to boost your mental health and practice self-care. Painting is a relaxing and therapeutic activity that can help reduce stress and anxiety. So grab some paint and brushes and get started on your next masterpiece!

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hello guys welcome to my channel i am

luis a watercolor artist

so a little over a year ago i was on

sick leave for burnout i was depressed

over where my career was going i was

stressed out about

everything i felt like a total loser was

really anxious about the future didn't

know what to do with myself etc

and to distract myself from the stress

and the anxiety that i was feeling

i started painting i hadn't done that in

many years because i hadn't

allowed myself to so blatantly waste my

precious time time that could be spent

learning useful skills and making more

money like acquiring more freelance

clients because i was a freelancer back


drawing what a useless activity

why even bother trying to paint i sucked

at it anyways and it would get me

nowhere at least that's what i had felt

throughout most of my adult life

i've always enjoyed drawing and painting

especially as a kid and teenager but

then you know you grow up and you end up

in the same survivor mode as everyone

else and when you're in survivor mode

there's very little reason to be

creative just for fun like playing the

piano or make art you either work or you

zone out by watching netflix pretty much

at least that's how i felt

well my time on sick leave was the first

time in a long while when i got a break

from that survivor mode and i could

finally let myself waste time

by making art and that made all the

difference to my mental health it sounds

dramatic but it kind of saved me and

still does every time i have a bad day

so today i want to talk about that

about art as a form of self-care because

i've noticed that most art advice and

tutorials and content out there is very

goal oriented and focused around how to

improve at art how to find your style

and how to become a successful artist

how to sell art and all the nitty-gritty

details of how to make art

and that's all well and good i mean we

need that type of content i have watched

a lot of it and it has helped me



that's not the only way to approach art

and art practice

art doesn't have to be this huge

ambitious strategic relentless


we can actually make art just for the

sake of making art

not intending to make money from it or

even to improve

you can be a complete amateur artist

with zero goals and ambitions for your

art practice and it could still give you

so much in terms of relaxation and

enjoyment and personal development but

how do you do it though how do you get

yourself out of performing and improving

mode the mode that's so hardwired into

many of us so that art can be a relaxing

and restorative daily practice and not a

frustrating battle with your own

perfectionism i have a few tips

based on my own experiences

and first of all

remember that you have value just by

being alive you are a human being you

have a right to just


your value is not contingent upon you

performing or reaching certain goals

looking a certain way being talented

being productive

getting up at 5am and all the other

self-help out there you have a

right to be lazy and unproductive and to

waste time so to speak and to do things

just for

fun that was my first step in my own art

practice to realize that i am allowed to

just sit here and listen to relaxing

music and play around with my


and nothing has to come out of it

it can be healthy to waste time

especially if you find it extremely

difficult to waste time

it's like they used to say about

meditation the less time you have for it

the more you need to do it

and i think that the more resistant you

are towards doing stuff just for fun the

more you need to do it

and number two

you can enjoy an activity even if you're

bad at it get over your need to get

anywhere with your art

you will improve automatically just by

doing it

and by improve i don't mean that you

will automatically grasp complex art

concepts and develop a photorealistic

art style or anything like that no

that's a really narrow definition of

what good art is

when i say improve your art what i mean

is you discovering what types of

subjects and mediums and tools and

techniques you like developing your

visual language and your style

your creative confidence

that's what becoming a more experienced

and skillful artist means to me

and yes there's a lot of conventional

knowledge that's really useful stuff

like perspective light and shadow color

theory etc

learning the fundamentals can give you a

better understanding of why you like a

particular look and how you can better

achieve it but it's not a requisite in

my opinion for making art you can make

beautiful art that makes you happy

without knowing anything about the

theory and if any of that stuff stresses

you out or bores you just ignore it just

follow your instinct instead

and remember that improving your art

isn't the point of a therapeutic art

practice anyway improving your mental

well-being is

having a daily art practice helped me

not be so judgmental of myself

to be kinder to myself to not push so

hard all the time to have patience

to be playful to be present in the

moment and to increase my attention span

and my ability to focus to look more

closely and to see more beauty around me

that's what my art practice has made me

better at besides the actual art skills

and i found that focusing on those

things actually made it easier to

improve on the more technical stuff

because i had a larger view of what

success looked like for me and less

pressure to produce pretty paintings

number three

design a space for your art practice

set up a spot in your home or make your

art supplies or your sketchbook really

quick and easy to pull out i really

recommend finding a small look somewhere

if you can and making it your little art

studio because it acts like a constant

invitation to sit down and create

that's why i haven't really been able to

get as excited about digital art because

it's not there on your wall and it's not

really visible to you and it's not

tactile i love to hang my finished

drawings and paintings up on the wall


surround myself with art making

materials and to organize it visibly to

put my brushes in glass jars and hang

paint tubes on hooks in the wall and

always have a sheet of watercolor paper

and water container on my desk so that

whenever i feel like painting i just

need to dip a brush and some paint and

go there's no friction

and number four make a ritual around

your art practice

choose a certain time of day or week

that's dedicated only to making art

even if it's just 15 minutes before bed

or an hour on saturday morning maybe

when you sit down to draw or paint put

on some relaxing music light some


get something to drink

prepare some reference photos if you use


maybe ease yourself into your session

with some warm-up sketches in your

sketchbook where you can be just messy

and loose

and focus on the feeling of drawing or

painting not so much on the outcome i

often crave just the feeling of putting

a sharpened pencil to paper i could draw

anything a simple shape with some

shading as long as i get to feel the

friction of the pencil and with

watercolor just filling up a big brush

with lots of paint and making a shape

with it watching the paper soak up the

water watching the pigment spread and

create texture

it doesn't even have to look like

anything it's just a form of meditation

same goes for cross hatching with a pen

or pencil it's just so satisfying you

know focus on those feelings make art in

a way that feels satisfying and feels


it helps you to not focus so much on

performing or improving or judging


and finally don't feel any pressure to

post what you make online

this one's insidious because i know how

fun it can be to post artwork you're

proud of on like instagram and get some

likes and some feedback on it

it can feel so good that it becomes the

primary reason for making art

and when posting stuff online is the

primary reason we make art it changes

what we create and how we feel while


for me sharing to instagram was a lot of

fun in the beginning

i didn't feel like it impacted my art

practice in any way but then it slowly

crept up on me

awareness of what types of art got the

most likes

wanting more followers and more


an inability to paint anything without

documenting it and anxiety around

painting because i was documenting it to

post online and i didn't want to mess it


there's nothing wrong with sharing your

art online and if you like doing that

keep doing it but be aware of how it

makes you feel and how it influences

your behavior maybe keep some parts of

it secret and just for you this is

something i'm working on right now and

it's hard it's really hard painting

something and not filming it what if it

turns out great and then i can't make a

video of it it's almost like if i'm not

showing it off online then it doesn't

exist it didn't happen what's up with

that why can't i paint something just

for fun and just for my own pleasure i

want to be able to do that and i think

it's important for all artists to have

that to maintain some kind of integrity

in our art practice to have a safe space

where we're free to do anything

let's all have a secret art stash

if only as a form of rebellion

alright those are my tips i hope they've

inspired you to approach art in a more

relaxed and relaxing way

and if you're a brand new artist and are

just getting started with your practice

i have actually created a free mini

course for you

it's called kickstart your watercolor

practice but it's really applicable to

most art forms how to get set up with

your supplies and your workspace how to

design your practice how to train and

how to improve

i'll put the link to that in the


as always thank you for spending time

with me and i'll see you in the next







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