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With COVID-19 impacting nearly everyone around the globe, most of us are stuck at home with nothing to do. Arts and crafts are a fun way to pass the time, but they actually have many benefits to your mental health as well.

According to Caileigh Flannigan, author of Improving Your Everyday Life Through Art Therapy Paint, Sculpt, or Color Your Way to Relaxation, “Art therapy is an approach that involves the creative processes of art to improve one’s life.” Children, adults, and the elderly can all partake in art therapy. Artistic talent isn’t necessary either, as the goal of art therapy isn’t the artistic value of your work, but exploring your emotions and thoughts. It is recommended that art therapy is used in conjunction with other types of therapies, rather than by itself. Flannigan explains that listening to music or being outside while partaking in art therapy has also proven to be even more beneficial.

Your artwork can be as extravagant or as simple as you want it to be. You can create huge masterpieces, or just doodle on a piece of paper. You can sculpt clay, watercolor paint, color in a coloring book, or any other art medium. There are so many different types of art to choose from.

To pass the time at home, I have a great idea for an art therapy project that you can try. It’s called “Draw Your Worry Monster”. Your monster can be a worry you have, your anxiety as a whole, a fear, depression, or anything else you want it to be. You can even draw more than one monster if you’d like.

First, name your monster. Your monster’s name could be something specific like “Brain Bully”, or a common name such as “Mary”. Next, draw your monster. It can be drawn in pencil, watercolor paints, markers, or any other drawing materials you may have. 

Finally, whenever your monster is giving you problems, confront them with their name. For example, if you’re having a lot of anxiety about your upcoming math test, you can confront your anxiety monster by saying, “Mary, I know I am prepared for my math test, and I will pass with flying colors.” Naming and drawing your monster humanizes it, and makes it a lot easier to confront and deal with. 

Some other art project ideas would be to create an emotional wheel using colors, design a postcard with something you want to say that you don’t have to send, or collage your perfect day. You can find nearly one hundred different other art project ideas here


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    Finally, if your monster is bothering you, use their name to approach them. Instead of telling yourself, “I’m not nervous about my impending math test,” tell yourself, “I know I’m ready for my math test, and I’ll pass with flying colors.” This humanization process makes it much simpler to face and cope with the monster you’ve created.

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