top of page

46 Inspiring Ways To Elevate Your Mental Wellness; May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Updated: Jan 26

Hello Dear Reader,

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and in this post, we share some important facts, resources, and ways to use art and creativity to support your mental health.

Each year millions of Americans feel the effects of mental illness. Added to that a certain pressure exists in the creative world, where the idea of the “tortured artist” has been mythologized for decades. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to fight the stigma against mental illness and encourage support and intervention for better mental health through education, advocacy, and community-building. 

Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” It’s no surprise, then, that many people around the world use art as a means to deal with stress, trauma, and unhappiness – or to just find greater peace and meaning in their lives. If you’re curious about what art therapy has to offer, you can try out some of these great solo exercises at home to help nurse your mind, body, and soul back to health. If you like the experience, you can also seek out professional art therapy treatment in your area.

For more information and resources, here is an informative website shared with us by a reader. It explains different types of mental illness, symptoms, and warning signs, along with treatment options from brain stimulation, medications, to yoga, and exercise. Learn more here at

Read on below to find several ideas to use art & creative exercises to deal with stress, and find your peace and happiness.

(Found in this original article from, (re-posted from

46 creative actions you can take for your mental health:

Tell your story typewriter
Tell your story

1. Share your story

Dealing with mental illness can be isolating. If it feels safe and comfortable for you, post your story on social media, or share it with other online communities you are involved in. Your story matters — sharing your experience could make someone feel seen, heard and reflected out there in the world!

2. Be an advocate for better mental health legislation

Click here to find out where your state ranks in terms of mental illness and rates of access to care. Reach out to your elected officials to let them know you think mental health should be a priority. Get in touch with your Senators or your Representatives.

Emotion Painting from

Emotions: Deal with emotions like anger and sadness through these helpful exercises.

3. Draw yourself Calm: Whether you enjoy drawing and doodling or are looking for a way to de-stress, boost creativity, and reconnect with what matters most, this appealing guide will invite you into the soothing art of slow drawing

If you dont consider yourself someone who can draw, here's a little secret from


Doing art as creative self-care for these many years has taught me so much about myself, my feelings, and my life. One of the things it’s taught me is that “art” is not as tightly defined as the general population seems to think it is. Most people say, “I can’t draw.” The secret is, I know they can. Of course, not all of us can draw like DaVinci, but in my experience with students, most people can draw a lot better than they think they can, especially when they open up their idea of what constitutes a drawing or a “good drawing.”


When you are non-judgmental and open up your definition of what a “good drawing” is, drawing can be a very calming activity, especially for those of us who get a bit high-strung or anxious. (Ahem. Who? Me? )

So how about it? Would you be willing to try some very simple art exercises and see whether or not they have a positive impact on your mood? As long as you can hold a pen, you can do it right.


If you think your inner critic might get in the way of you approaching this with an open mind, you might want to first do the inner critic exercise from the Starting Your Art Journal e-book. Sometimes we all need some help getting our fears to step aside before we bravely try something new. Now let’s do some art exercises for relaxation!

emotion wheel by inspiration
emotion wheel by inspiration

4. Create an emotion wheel. Using color, this activity will have you thinking critically about your emotions. To learn more about how you can use a Color Wheel to work through emotions, visit this article here

5. Make a stress painting. Choose colors that represent your stress and jab, scribble, and paint your problems away.

art journal image from
art journal image from

6. Put together a journalJournals don’t have to just be based on words. You can also make an art journal that lets you visually express your emotions.

Relaxation: Only use colors that calm you. Create a drawing or a painting using only colors that you find calming.

7. Draw in sand Either drawing in the sand at the beach or using your own Zen garden, this activity will have you drawing shapes and scenes in the sand, which can be immensely relaxing and a great way to clear your mind.

8. Color a zen doodle. These fun coloring pages are a great tool for letting go and helping reduce stress. Check out this site with a wide variety of free downloadable PDFs to print out and color. From

Free PDFs Zen Doodle Coloring pages
Free PDFs Zen Doodle Coloring pages

9. Color in a design. Sometimes, the simple act of coloring can be a great way to relax. Find a coloring book or use this mandala for coloring.

10. Draw outside. Working en plein air can be a fun way to relax and get in touch with nature while you’re working on art.

Happiness with friends
Happiness with friends

Happiness: Art can not only help you deal with the bad stuff but also help you appreciate and focus on the good. Check out these activities all about reflecting on your personal happiness.

11. Document a spiritual experience. Have you ever had a spiritual experience in your life? Draw or paint what it felt like.

12. Document an experience where you did something you didn’t think you could do. We all have to do things that we’re scared or unsure of sometimes. Use this activity as a chance to commemorate one instance in your life.

13. Make a prayer flag. Send your prayers for yourself or those around you out into the universe with this project. Read more here

Portraits: Often, a great way to get to know yourself and your relationships with others is through portraits.

14. Create a future self-portrait. This drawing or painting should reflect where you see yourself in the future.

15. Choose the people who matter most to you in life and create unique art for each. This is a great way to acknowledge what matters to you and express gratitude.

I AM........
I AM........

16. Draw yourself as a warrior. Start thinking about yourself as a strong, capable person by drawing yourself as a warrior in this activity.

17. Draw a mirror. This activity is based on a Piet Mondrian quote: “The purer the artist’s mirror is, the more true reality reflects in it.” You’ll need to figure out what is still cloudy in your own reflection of yourself, drawing a mirror and depicting those elements on paper.

18. Draw yourself as a superhero. If you could have a superpower what would it be? This project asks you to depict your own image as a superhero with these powers.

Trauma and Unhappiness: These activities will ask you to face some unpleasant aspects of life but with the goal of overcoming them.

A friend recommended this book Past and Present to me recently and is filled with creative ways to honor loved ones lost

Sun shining through forest trees
Sun shining through forest trees

19. Draw a place where you feel safe. The world can be a scary place but in this project, you’ll create a place, draw, paint or sculpt, that makes you feel safe

20. Draw something that scares you. Everyone is frightened of something and in this project, you’ll get a chance to bring that fear to light and hopefully work towards facing it.

21. Turn your illness into art. Facing a potentially terminal illness? Turn your illness into something beautiful by creating art about it.

22. Paint a loss in your life. If you’ve lost someone you love or something, paint it. This will help you to remember but also to recover.

23. Make art that is ephemeral. Sometimes we have a hard time letting go, but this project will teach you that it’s ok if something doesn’t last. Use materials like sand, chalk, paper, or water to create art that you will destroy when it’s done.

Neon letter collage

Collaging: If you prefer to cut and paste rather than draw or paint, these projects are for you.

24. Create a motivational collage. You can hang this collage somewhere you’ll see it every day. Filled with images you find motivating, it’ll help you keep pushing on.

Photo collage of outdoor places
Photo collage of outdoor places

25. Create a calming collage. Choose images that you find soothing, calming, or even meditative and combine them to create an attractive collage that can help you to relax.

26. Collage a painting. To complete this exercise, you’ll first need to create a simple, abstract painting on paper. Then, tear this painting up and create another. Think about how you felt when you had to tear up the first painting and which you like more.

For more collage ideas visit

Blue butterfly collage
Blue butterfly collage

Self: Examine aspects of who you are and how you see the world through these unique art projects.

27. Create a timeline and draw the most significant moments in your life. This timeline will be the story of your life, with the most important moments highlighted visually.

Tree with roots underground
Tree with roots underground

28. Draw yourself as a tree. Your roots will be loaded with descriptions of things that give you strength and your good qualities, while your leaves can be the things that you’re trying to change.

29. Paint an important childhood memory. What was a pivotal memory in your childhood? This activity asks you to document it and try to understand why it was so important to you.

30. Design a visual autobiography. This creative journaling project asks you to look back at your life and make a visual representation of it

31. Build your own website. Websites are very versatile ways to express yourself. Build your own to express what’s most important about you.

Today I am grateful for.....
Today I am grateful for.....

Gratitude: Here you’ll find a collection of projects that will help you be happy about what you have and express your gratitude for it.

32. Document your gratitude visually. What things are you grateful for in your life? Paint or collage a work that represents these things.

Painted Rock
Painted Rock

33. Make something for someone else. Making something for someone else can be a great way to feel good and help someone else do so as well.

34. Draw all the positive things in your life. Everyone has at least one good thing in life, so sit down and figure out what makes you happy– then draw

Rock painting
Rock painting

35. Paint a rock. This project is meant to offer you strength. You can approach it in two ways. One option is to paint the rock with things that empower you. The other is to paint it with struggles you overcome.

36. Write on leaves to create a gratitude tree. What are you grateful for? This project asks you to write those things on leaves to construct a tree or banner of gratitude.

37. Build a personal altar. This is a highly personal project that will help connect you with your spiritual side and honor your resilience.

Inside your brain
Inside your brain

Inside the Mind: Take a look inside your mind to see what’s going on with these projects.

Blot splatter art
Blot splatter art

38. Create a blot art. Like a classic Rorschach test, fold paper in half with paint or ink in the middle and describe what you see.

39. Map your brain. Make a visual representation of your thoughts to figure out how your mind works.

40. Make a dreamcatcher. Having bad dreams? Create this age-old tool for catching your dreams with a few simple tools.  Check out this tutorial to guide you in making your dreamcatcher, from

41. Draw your dreams. You can learn a lot from what goes on in your dreams, so keep a dream journal and use it for inspiration to draw or paint.

If you’re still looking for something to empower, help or soothe you, these projects may fit the bill.

Painted sticks
Painted sticks

42. Use natural materials. Leaves, sticks, dirt, clay, and other natural materials can help you get in touch with the natural world and the more primal side of yours.

43. Make art out of recycled items. You can reuse old items that have meaning to you or just re-purpose something you have laying around. Either way, you’ll get insights into how you can reshape and reevaluate your own life.

44. Collage or draw on top of old photographs. If you’re uncomfortable using old photos you can make copies, but with this project, you’ll draw out one characteristic you see in the person in the photos.

45. Create your own interpretation of a famous work of art. How would you have painted the Mona Lisa? Using a famous work as your inspiration, create your own work. It could help reveal more about your lens on the world.

46. Work collaboratively. Art can be better when two work at it together, so find a partner and collaborate on just about anything.

Working together with friends
Working together with friends

Curious about your mental health? Mental Health America has a free online mental health test, which you can take here:

Thank you for reading today- we wish you all the best on your mental health and creative journey.  Please reach out to a friend or a loved one if you are not feeling OK- it is ok to ask for support and help, and also to offer the same to others.  If you need a resource, check out

Britta Cabanos, Founder Inside Fashion Design & Inside Fashion Design Connect
Britta Cabanos, Founder Inside Fashion Design & Inside Fashion Design Connect

Love, Peace & Happy Conscious Creating, Britta

Want to find a supportive fashion design community? We invite you to join us! Visit: to see what we are all about!

This post may contain affiliate links. I’m careful to link to products and retailers that I use myself and recommend. Money earned keeps Inside Fashion Design running and allows me to do what I love for a living and keep providing valuable content for you. Thank you for your support.