Stress is one of the leading causes of health problems like migraines, heart failure, fatigue, and memory loss. To prevent these conditions from worsening, the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggests learning to recognize and healthily manage stress.
To help manage and ease stress, there are easy-to-do arts and crafts projects that help calm the mind and body. Even the artwork itself can encourage relaxation.
Ease Stress with These 5 DIY Craft Ideas
The following arts and crafts ideas are quick and simple. They only require a few materials that are easy to find in any hardware, craft, or lawn and garden stores.
Glitter Sensory Bottles
These glitter bottles offer relief from stress caused by sensory overload. They are the best stress-relief crafts for college students because they are visually appealing and can be used as dorm room décor.
The following items are needed:
- Oil (No specific type of oil is required, but it should have the viscosity of cooking oil.)
- Clear bottle
To make a glitter sensory bottle, fill the bottle two-thirds full with oil, then add the glitter until the bottle is full. Make sure to get the lid on tight to avoid accidental messes.
Zen Garden Made Easy
At the end of a stressful day, returning home to tend to a Zen garden provides a peaceful place to relax.
To make this tranquil little garden, the only tools needed are:
- Shallow tray
- Bag of fine sand
- A few beautiful stones
- Miniature rake
Place the sand in the tray, organize the rocks, and decorate by making wave or ripple patterns with the rake. Add a Bonsai tree for aesthetics.
Calming Lavender Playdough
Lavender is proven to have calming effects for those with stress, anxiety, and depression issues. In fact, lavender has been used by medical professionals since the 18th century.
By adding lavender to a playdough recipe, the malleable dough can relax the mind, encourage creativity, and stimulate sense of touch.
Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting, and Needlework
Studies show that sewing, knitting, crocheting, and other needlework improve cognitive ability. Doing arts and crafts stimulates the mind, improves dexterity and mobility, and elevates mood.
Light woodworking and designing a useful piece of art is fun and satisfying. The use of power tools can be therapeutic too.
Some easy woodworking projects are:
- Bathtub caddy – Use wooden planks and wood glue to make a super easy bath tray or make a more luxurious version by adding phone, book, and wine glass holders.
- Small knick-knack shelf – Upgrade the wooden shelf by covering it with fabric, gluing some sequins, or simply finishing it with a coat of varnish.
- Shadow boxes – Make each box follow a theme like animal patterns, Halloween, beach, dried flowers, etc.
Why Crafting is Good for the Brain
Stress kills brain cells and reduces the size of the brain. In an article published by Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, the effects of anxiety include increased cortisol production. Cortisol is known as the body’s “stress hormone” released into the bloodstream through the adrenal cortex (the outer region and largest part of an adrenal gland).
Increased cortisol levels can also cause depression, weight gain, fatigue, and malaise.
By regularly challenging the brain through arts and crafts, the mind works in ways that keep a person sharp. Fine-motor function, cognitive awareness, and perceptive reasoning are all improved when the brain becomes stimulated.
Why Crafting is Good for Mental Health
Crafting provides physical and mental benefits. According to a Mental Health America report, patients who suffer from chronic pain found relief while engaging in arts and crafts. Relieving chronic pain helps improve mental health.
How does art help mental health?
- Repetitive movement releases serotonin: Serotoninis the natural chemical produced by the body to reduce stress. This movement stimulates production, increases mood, and lowers tensions.
- Being creative builds confidence: When a person creates, it instills in them confidence. It boosts self-esteem and elevates mood.
- Making art lowers depression: The calming effects of artsand crafts have lowered depression. According to Veteran Affairs (VA), patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reported improvement in their depression when engaging in art therapy.
Making Arts and Crafts Promotes Relaxation and Boosts Mood
These craft ideas are only a few of the art therapy projects a person can do to ease stress. The VA’s list of approved art therapies also includes gardening, painting, drawing, and sculpting, among others.
Pablo Picasso said that “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pick any of the suggested easy craft projects above, schedule some “me” time, and have that much-needed mind and soul cleansing session at home.