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6 Fun and Simple Art Projects Guaranteed to Lower Stress

6 Fun and Simple Art Projects Guaranteed to Lower Stress

When you think about art, you probably think about your nearest museum and all the fancy pictures of naked ladies and sculptures of Greek gods there. On the other hand, you might think about some modern wire sculptures, and you are not sure what they truly mean except that they look like over-glorified coat hangers. No, art is about passion and about what the artist feels inside when he or she is making art – which is a good thing to remember. It all sounds complicated. Finding motivation, investing time and effort, how can that be relaxing?

Well, my dear internet reader, art can be whatever you want it to be – it can be as simple as writing a love letter, or as complicated as creating a zen garden. It is about the experience that involves both your motor skills and focused thinking that can totally occupy the brain and push out other stressors through the window, at least temporarily. It can be an excellent healing process for anyone, especially those who have their days filled with anxiety, negative emotions, or simply too much work.

We have made a small artistic list that will certainly help you relax, enjoy yourself, and not to mention that, at the end of this trip, you’ll have something that you’ll be proud of and that will have practical purpose in your life. Let’s start!

1. Get Your Knit Together

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    First of all, no, knitting is not only for elderly women with lots of cats. Even though I wholeheartedly recommend everyone get at least one cat, knitting can be a calming activity for everyone. In the start, knitting can be difficult to grasp, but once you get through the initial learning curve, the repetitive motion of your fingers will sooth your mind, or even relieve you of chronic pain. There are a lot of knitting groups around you, so you can just Google it. If you are not feeling like spending time with others, there are a lot of tutorials online, so take a look.

    In the end, you’ll have a perfect present for your baby cats, um… I mean, your friends and their human babies, or you’ll be left with a nice scarf that will keep you warm. If you want, you can learn more complex patterns and make something like a whole sweater, then two, then start a knitted sweater empire and rule the world, but I guess ruling the world isn’t as soothing as I might think. Moving on.

    2. Think Inside the Box

    I am talking about creating a memory box. Do you look around your place and see a plethora of stuff that you are too emotionally attached to and you can’t simply throw away, yet you think that it is cluttering your living space? Think no more! Why don’t you create a cute, dedicated box where you can put all your small trinkets away? You don’t have to hide the box in your attic – on the contrary! Make it beautifully unique, and display it on your coffee table. You can buy materials at any DIY store, which include glue, a few measured planks, some glitter and favorite type of cloth. Then take a measuring tape, and start sawing away.

    Decorate it in any way you want, make it for yourself only, so don’t mind if other don’t like it, it’s not meant to be beautiful, it’s supposed to calm you. Then put your favorite trinkets inside, and there you have it – you’ve done something fun, you’ve gained a new skill, you are probably covered in glue head to toe, but now you have something to declutter your home!

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    3. Piece Together a Collage

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      The glitter you’ve bought for the last project can be used here as well – there isn’t an art project glitter can’t improve. If you want to create a cute memento that is dedicated to the relationship you have with your partner, best friend, or your mother or father, creating a collage is a good idea. Not only can it be used to improve the looks of your bedroom, but it can also be a nice gift. Collages are usually made by gluing stuff onto construction paper, such as pictures, newspaper articles, anything that you can think of. The only tool you’ll need are scissors, and your imagination.

      Just cut all that stuff in the desired shape, and start arranging them. You can add any kind of memento there, such as used movie tickets or receipts, but you can also use colored paper to fill in the voids, or add pressed flowers. While this might seem like an activity for women only, think again. Once this is done, you’ll have something that can be a perfect gift for someone you love, or even for yourself.

      4. Go Have a Stroke

      You’ve probably heard about coloring books? They are making a great comeback, and what is more interesting, there are a lot of books that are only designed for adults, meaning that they are much more complex than what you’ve seen in your childhood. This requires more thought than you might think, as well as precise movement, but if you find this too restricting, why not try to create a real painting? There is probably a painting club or two nearby, so you can go there and get some basic instruction. If you are not up to spending time with strangers, then you’ll need a blank canvas, any size you want, and any kind of coloring tool.

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      Everything from crayons to watercolors is fine, acrylic paintings are quite common nowadays as they create vibrant colors without a lot of effort. You can even try and finger paint, which is even more relaxing, especially if you enjoy getting your hands dirty and getting physical with stuff. If cavemen could do it, so can you!

      5. Origami Your Way out of Stress

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        You do not have to create a prancing horse from a piece of paper immediately, you can start with a simple boat or the famous army cap. You’ve probably heard of origami before, it’s an ancient art of making stuff out of simple colored pieces of paper, and you’ve probably already been jealous of other people who are so much better at it than you. Don’t fret, this is about inner piece, and it is about finding what you truly want.

        You need not compare yourself to others, at least not until you get the hang of it. This simple folding of paper can melt your worries away, and simply occupy you so that you don’t have time to think about how your boss was rude earlier today. Control your thoughts and you will feel better in no time. Then take a picture of what you’ve made and post it online, because what isn’t on Facebook, officially didn’t happen.

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        6. “Do it YourShelf” Projects

        This part is reserved for anything else you can think of! Everyone has the capability of coming up with unique ideas that can be extremely satisfying and fun to execute. You can get some clay, and then make ashtrays for your friends who smoke, because, of course you don’t, smoking is bad and can only stress you further. You can find many ideas online about DIY lamps that are quite pretty, and are extremely easy to make.

        Or you can make a laptop cushion for your lap – or you can make a small sandbox that you can place on your work desk and relax when you find things to be too hectic. If you have some tools lying around, you can even create a unique shelf for your favorite books, which you read in your free time instead of watching Game of Thrones, because that show gives, even the best of us, mild anxiety. First he was dead, now he is alive, and Brienne is hooking up with whom? Never mind.

        In the End, Be Drawn to Art

        Sorry, I know, my puns are bad and I should feel bad.

        Back to the topic, If it’s any kind of consolation, all of us are stressed. There are simply so many bills, and so little of us. That is why we are on an eternal quest of finding something that makes us happy, that soothes our nerves and that will help us pass the troublesome times, and get to the stuff that really matters. Our family, loved ones, even our pets. So, take a deep breath, and know that only you have the tool to help yourself, and calming down is usually the first step to success.

        Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/BHNxfaeNCTI via pexels.com

        More by this author

        Vladimir Zivanovic

        CMO at MyCity-Web

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        Last Updated on March 30, 2020

        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

        Feeling tired all the time?

        Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

        I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

        Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

        If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

        In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

        What Happens When You’re Too Tired

        If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

        Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

        • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
        • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
        • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
        • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
        • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
        • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
        • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

        Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

        Unfortunately, yes!

        Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

        Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

        Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

        Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

        Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

        Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

        1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
        2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
        3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

        The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

        It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

        Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

        Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

        If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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        Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

        Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

        But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

        Symptoms of fatigue include:

        • Difficulty concentrating
        • Low stamina
        • Difficulty sleeping
        • Anxiety
        • Low motivation

        These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

        Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

        How Much Sleep Is Enough?

        The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

        Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

        So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

        The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

        Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

        Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

        If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

        And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

        It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

        4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

        Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

        1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
        2. Exercising regularly
        3. Using stressbusters
        4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

        So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

        After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

        In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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        I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

        Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

        • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
        • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
        • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
        • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

        The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

        And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

        But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

        L — Living Healthy

        Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

        So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

        In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

        As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

        Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

        1. Unplug

        Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

        So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

        2. Unwind

        Do something to relax.

        Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

        3. Get Comfortable

        Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

        Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

        Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

        Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

        If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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        Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

        This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

        E — Exercise

        Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

        That’s what happened in my case.

        But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

        As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

        My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

        That made sense to me.

        So, I decided to swim.

        I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

        Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

        Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

        So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

        If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

        A — Attitude

        Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

        When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

        Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

        Breathing.

        But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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        Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

        1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
        2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
        3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
        4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
        5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
        6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

        This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

        When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

        Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

        N — Nutrition

        Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

        If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

        Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

        For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

        Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

        Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

        1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
        2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
        3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
        4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
        5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
        6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
        7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
        8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
        9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

        Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

        That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

        Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

        The Bottom Line

        If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

        If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

        If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

        • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
        • Regular Exercise You Love
        • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
        • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

        Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

        More Tips to Help You Rest Better

        Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
        [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
        [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
        [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
        [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
        [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
        [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
        [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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