Welcome back to our 12-part self-care series, designed to help you make taking care of yourself as important as taking care of everyone else.
Therapy is so much more than talk. Our clients at White Picket Fence Counseling have many different problems, situations, interests, and backgrounds. Some are eager to learn tools they can put into action right away, and others are just coming to terms with asking for help.
Since we are continuously looking for creative ways to meet their needs, I recently took an online art class called Joy Stuff where we learned how to create and use an art journal. As creator Lynn Whipple explains, this course is about noticing everyday wonders and celebrating them through our art.
At Cloth Paper Scissors, Jeannine Stein comments that “even a few minutes a day of mindful art journaling can go a long way in improving mood, lowering anxiety, and fostering a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.”
In my experience of using an art journal, I have appreciated using it as a container for a part of my life. It has been a colorful log of joyful experiences (Lynn’s course), a space to express gratitude, and a creative expression of a chapter in my life.
It was a challenge to let go of the question of my ability to draw, paint or collage. I learned that talent can almost be a detriment (especially when focusing on it looking good) and to remember to see the art journal as a form of expression.
What surprised me the most was that art journaling is very often a time to play. Play doesn’t always come easy to us adults! This course gave me a really fun place to express myself. I loved the challenges such as using my non-dominant hand and working with colors I don’t normally gravitate to. This expanded my perspective in the art journal, of expressive art, and of color and techniques.
If you’re interested in trying this method for yourself, check out Joy Stuff: The Art of Noticing. You can also look over Jeannine Stein’s 7 tips for mindful art journaling, where she offers tips for how to combine creative expression with self-exploration.