Creative Outlets for Managing Mental Health

creative outlet stress mental health depression anxiety brushstrokes blue paint

A creative outlet can be the difference between sinking or swimming, they can be helpful tools to channel our anger and frustrations and sadness into something else, whilst increasing our skill of something we enjoy. The sense of achievement I feel after writing a post I’m really proud of can be enough to drag me out of a depressive slump and get me feeling productive and motivated again.

I’ve always been a creative person, so I’ve tried most of the things on this list at some point, but if you don’t know where to start, or would like to try something new, here are some ideas:

  • Drawing

Even if you can only draw stick men, this is a fairly easy and inexpensive hobby to pick up. No matter your style or skill level, most people can easily pass the time doodling. And if you’re really no good at it, there’s always colouring books.

  • Painting

Like drawing, this can be such a release, but this is something I’ve never been good at, although I wish I was. Luckily I follow a very talented painter who shares her amazing work online. You can buy Jemma’s art here.

  • Making Music

I’m not musical at all, but my boyfriend plays the guitar and it always cheers him up when he’s feeling a bit low. My brother taught himself how to play the guitar and in just a year his progress is pretty impressive. Even just listening to music can drastically change your mood.

  • Scrapbooking

I can’t mention this without thinking of Leslie Knope, but it is a hobby I’ve always wanted to try. It’s a great way to relive memories such as family holidays, and keep them forever in a pretty little album.

  • Journalling

You can rant about your day, make lists, or maybe try some bullet journalling to keep you organised and self aware. Journals can be great to look back through in years to come. Hang on to them.

  • Writing

Are you an avid reader who dreams of writing their own book one day? Creative writing is so therapeutic and you can write anything you want: short stories, long epics, mystery, comedy, poetry – you won’t know what you’re good at until you try it!

  • Sewing/Knitting

As well as being a valuable life skill, it’s also incredibly calming and rewarding once you have a finished piece, and once you’ve got the hang of it you can knit scarves for everyone on your Christmas list.

  • Photography

I love going for long walks and taking pictures of nature, and the bonus is that it encourages me to go outside which is so important for good mental health. There are an abundance of photo challenges out there if you lack inspiration, and as almost everyone has a smartphone now, this is one of the easiest hobbies to start today.

  • Filmmaking

I love film; I’m obsessed with all the aspects that go into making one but I’ve never ha a go at it myself. You could go it alone, or gather a couple of friends and make a fun day of it. You could make a silly short film, a gripping thriller, or a thought provoking documentary. You’re the director!

  • Makeup

Makeup is an art. I follow the incredibly talented Adele and I have no idea how she draws such intricate lines on her EYELID. There are plenty of tutorials out there to get you started – why not take that unloved palette out and give it a try?

  • Cottage Crafts

Jewellery making, soap making, card making, the list goes on. You’ll be the best gifter at Christmas!

  • Woodworking/DIY

This is a great skill to learn if your depression has a tendency to make you feel useless. You can craft some really beautiful and unique items once you’re skilled enough.

  • Programming

You could create mods, apps, games, anything! If you’ve got a tech brain, this one’s for you. What would you create?

  • Cooking/Baking

How therapeutic is cooking? Not only is it an important life skill you should definitely know how to do, but you get to eat as well! Check out The Anxious Cook to see really amazing recipes from someone who uses cooking as an outlet for their anxiety.

  • Youtube/blogging

And finally we get to my main creative outlet – you’re on it right now! There are blogs and videos about anything nowadays: Lifestyle, fashion, travel, gaming, the list goes on. If you’re passionate about it, you can talk about it. You can even start a blog or a channel about one of the many hobbies listed above!

Did I miss any? What’s your creative outlet?

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19 thoughts on “Creative Outlets for Managing Mental Health

  1. great list! i actually picked up crocheting this year to help with my anxiety and it does really help! i would love to learn how to play the guitar. this list is gonna end up really helping someone in a time of need. thank you for sharing this. hope you’re well xx

    mich // simplymich.com

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  2. Creativity has always been a great outlet for my anxiety – although my therapist told me it’s a distraction and I should learn to embrace the anxiety, as it’s the only way I’ll learn to overcome it… Hm. I enjoy doodling, adult colouring or baking. Even blogging and interacting with other bloggers has a flaming effect on me. Great post!
    Kim | http://chimmyville.co.uk

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  3. Hey, great article! All of these ideas are awesome. It is so important to have an outlet for all of your negative energy. I personally like to journal, blog, and edit videos as my creative outlets.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are all great ideas! Great coping mechanisms and tips for improving over all mental health and well-being. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging! I also like singing, and I sort of want to get back into creative writing 😂💕💖

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  5. I love this post – it’s such simple things that we do all the time but we don’t really turn to when we’re in a slump. I think that these are really good ideas and could help a lot of people so thank you for posting! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s so true, I always start to feel down whenever I go awhile without writing :(. Its hard to feel motivated to do anything when you feel that low, so it’s nice to have this list to refer to!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Random thoughs writing paper writinh.helps me.

    Pottery; art painting; poetry; social media off-loading; effective mefications; leisurely reading ; eascapism of films

    So much my mind struggles to focus or concentrate on trying.

    Answe for me involves body awarenesss of: mood ;restless anxiety agitation; acknowledging my best efforts on difficult days; seeeking variety by exercising.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exercising and mindfulness techniques are amazing for ‘grounding’ us when we experience high levels of stress or anxiety. Watching films is pure escapism and can be so helpful when I want to do something but don’t have the energy or motivation to engage in anything!

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