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Self-Care, 44 Inspiring Ways To Elevate Your Mental Wellness

Updated: May 20

Happy girl standing in front of a wall of graffiti
Happy Girl

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. Read on for our list of creative ways of Self-Care, inspiring ways to elevate your mental wellness: Self-Care, 44 Inspiring Ways To Elevate Your Mental Wellness

Every year, millions of Americans experience the impact of mental illness. Furthermore, there is a particular tension in the artistic community, which has long romanticized the concept of the "tortured artist." May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, dedicated to combating the stigma surrounding mental illness and promoting assistance and intervention for improved mental well-being through education, advocacy, and community engagement.

According to Pablo Picasso, art has the power to cleanse the soul from the burdens of daily life. Therefore, it's not surprising that individuals globally turn to art as a coping mechanism for stress, trauma, and dissatisfaction, or simply to discover more tranquility and purpose in their lives. If you're interested in exploring the benefits of art therapy, you can experiment with these wonderful individual activities at home to promote the recovery of your mind, body, and soul. If you enjoy the process, you may also consider seeking professional art therapy services in your vicinity.

If you are looking for additional information and resources, a reader has kindly shared an informative website with us. This website covers various types of mental illnesses, their symptoms, warning signs, and treatment options ranging from brain stimulation and medications to yoga and exercise. Explore further at

Self-Care, 44 creative ways to elevate your mental wellness through art and creative activities that help managing stress, discover your inner calm and bring joy. (Adapted from

Tell your story typewriter
Tell your story

1. Share your story

Experiencing mental illness can lead to feelings of isolation. If you feel secure and at ease, consider sharing your story on social media or with online communities you participate in. Your narrative is significant — by sharing your journey, you may help someone feel acknowledged, listened to, and understood in the broader world!

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

Illustrate Your Calm: Whether you have a passion for drawing and doodling or seek a method to relax, enhance creativity, and rediscover your priorities, this engaging manual will introduce you to the calming practice of slow drawing.

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


"Engaging in art as a form of self-care over the years has provided me with valuable insights into myself, my emotions, and my experiences. One key lesson I've learned is that the concept of "art" is more fluid than commonly believed. Many individuals often claim, "I lack drawing skills." However, I have discovered that they possess this ability, albeit to varying degrees. While not everyone can replicate DaVinci's masterpieces, based on my interactions with students, most individuals can draw much better than they realize, particularly when they broaden their definition of what constitutes a drawing or a "good drawing."


Being non-judgmental and broadening your perspective on what constitutes a "good drawing" can make drawing a highly soothing activity, particularly for individuals prone to feeling tense 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.


In case you believe that your inner critic could hinder you from approaching this with an open mind, consider starting with the inner critic exercise from the Starting Your Art Journal e-book. At times, we all require assistance in pushing our fears aside before courageously attempting something new. Now, give it a go!! Engage in some art exercises for relaxation!

3. Use an Emotion Color Wheel. By utilizing this emotion wheel, this exercise will prompt you to analyze your emotions thoughtfully. For further insights on employing a Color Wheel to navigate through emotions, check out this article The Feelings Wheel: unlock the power of your emotions by Calm

4. Make a stress painting. Choose colors that symbolize your stress and let it out by jabbing, scribbling, and painting away your problems. Art Stress: How to Use Art to Ease Anxiety Learn more here

art journal image from
art journal image from

5. Create a journalJournals are not limited to written words only. You can also create an art journal to visually communicate your emotions.

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

6. Sketch in sand.  Whether it's sketching in the sand at the beach or creating designs in your Zen garden, this practice involves drawing shapes and scenes in the sand, offering a deeply calming experience and an effective method to declutter your thoughts.

7. Engage in coloring a zen doodle. These enjoyable coloring pages serve as an effective method for relaxation and stress relief. Explore the selection of free downloadable PDFs available on this website for printing and coloring. Visit

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

8. Create art outdoors. Painting en plein air can be an enjoyable method to unwind and connect with nature while working on your artwork.

Happiness with friends
Happiness with friends

Did you know? Art can assist you in coping with challenges and in recognizing and concentrating on positive aspects. Explore these activities designed to help you contemplate your own happiness.

9. Record a spiritual encounter. Have you ever encountered a spiritual moment in your life? Illustrate, write or paint the sensation it evoked.

10. 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.

11. Create a prayer flag. Share your prayers for yourself or others with the universe through this activity. Find additional information here

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

Did you know? Often, a great way to get to know yourself and your relationships with others is through portraits.

13. Select the individuals who hold the most significance in your life and craft distinct artworks for each one. This serves as a wonderful method to recognize what is important to you and convey appreciation.

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

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

15. Create a mirror drawing. This task draws inspiration from a quote by Piet Mondrian: “The clearer the artist's mirror, the more accurately reality is reflected in it.” Identify the aspects that are unclear in your self-reflection, draw a mirror, and portray those elements on paper.

16. Illustrate yourself as a superhero. If you could possess a superpower, what would it be? This task requires you to portray yourself as a superhero endowed with these abilities.

Sun shining through forest trees
Sun shining through forest trees

17. Illustrate a space that brings you comfort. Although the world can be intimidating, in this activity, design a space through drawing, painting, or sculpting that evokes a sense of safety for you.

18. Illustrate something that makes you feel afraid. Everyone has fears, and with this idea, you have the opportunity to showcase that fear and hopefully take steps towards confronting it.

19. Transform your sickness into art. Are you dealing with a possibly fatal illness? Transform your sickness into a beautiful creation by making art that reflects your experience. Use any medium that feels right to you and don't be concerned on how it "looks".

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

20. Depict a loss you have experienced. If you have lost a loved one or something significant, create a painting of it. This will aid in both remembering and healing.

21. 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.

22. 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

23. 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.

24. 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

25. 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 illustration
Draw Your Tree with roots underground!

26. 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.

27. 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.

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

29. 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.

30. 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

31. 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.

32. 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

33. Decorate a rock. This activity is designed to provide you with resilience. There are two approaches you can take. You can choose to decorate the rock with symbols of empowerment, or you can depict the challenges you have conquered.

34. Create a gratitude tree by writing on leaves. What are the things you feel grateful for? This activity involves writing those on leaves to build a tree or a banner of gratitude.

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

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

Blot splatter art
Blot splatter art

36. 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.

Inside your brain
Inside your brain

37. Create a map of your brain. Develop a visual illustration of your thoughts to understand the functioning of your mind.

38. 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

39. Document your dreams. There is much to be gained from observing your dreams, therefore, maintain a dream journal and utilize it as a source of inspiration for your drawings or paintings. Need a little guidance? I really love this dream journal with prompts; Clever Fox Dream Journal – Guided Dream Diary for Women, Men & Kids – Hardcover Dream Notebook

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

Painted sticks
Painted sticks

40. 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.

41. Create artwork using recycled materials. Whether you repurpose meaningful old items or simply use something lying around, this activity can provide you with valuable perspectives on reshaping and reevaluating your own life.

42. 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.

43. Put your own spin on a well-known piece of art. How might you reimagine the Mona Lisa through your own artistic lens? Drawing inspiration from a renowned artwork, craft your unique creation. This exercise could offer insights into your perspective on the world.

44. 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:

Being part of a community is great for your mental health, especially in the fast-paced world of fashion design. It gives you a sense of belonging and a support system when you need it. Connecting with others in the industry can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are common challenges in this field. Sharing experiences and collaborating with fellow designers makes you more resilient and better at handling stress. Plus, the social connections and industry-specific activities you get from being in a community can boost your self-esteem and make you feel like you're part of something meaningful.

At Inside Fashion Design, we offer an online community called IFD Connect for anyone passionate about conscious fashion design. This platform is perfect for joining like-minded individuals in the industry. We connect virtually and in real life, expanding our community groups around the country. Members can attend and even host their own get-togethers, making it a great way to network, share ideas, and find support within the fashion design world.

We appreciate you taking the time to read today. We hope for the best for your mental health and creative endeavors. Remember, it's perfectly fine to seek help and support from a friend or loved one if you're not feeling okay. Don't hesitate to offer the same support to others as well. If you need assistance, you can visit

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

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.


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Hey there, lovely fashion friends! My name is Britta Cabanos, and I'm thrilled to have you here! 


I'm a 25+ year fashion industry design professional, and I'm passionate about supporting conscious designers, ethical makers, and sustainability. I believe that fashion can be a powerful force for good, and I'm committed to helping aspiring fashion industry pros make their mark in this exciting and ever-changing field. 


If you share my passion for conscious fashion and sustainability,  then you're in the right place. I offer industry insights, mentorship, connections, and resources to help you achieve your goals and make a positive impact in the world. Let's connect and explore the possibilities together - are you ready to join me on this exciting journey?

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About the Book

"Conscious design is a philosophy used at the Peterman Design Firm. We use it to create brands and products that restore and sustain our planet. The Peterman Method for conscious design is the culmination of Ian’s 15+ years working in product development and Jessica’s 20 years in working as a healer and studying regenerative technologies and tools for both people and our planet. Together, we’ve written this book to lay out a culmination of our combined experiences. Our goal is to help other people start looking at the world, and design, in a more conscious way."

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