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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

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        Vladimir Zivanovic

        CMO at MyCity-Web

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        Published on November 14, 2018

        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

        With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

        For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

        In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

        Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

        Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

        It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

        For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

        Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

        Symptoms of Fatigue

        Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

        • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
        • mental blocks
        • lack of motivation
        • headache
        • dizziness
        • muscle weakness
        • slowed reflexes and responses
        • impaired decision-making and judgement
        • moodiness, such as irritability
        • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
        • reduced immune system function
        • blurry vision
        • short-term memory problems
        • poor concentration
        • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

        Causes of Fatigue

        The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

        • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
        • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
        • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
        • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

        Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

        Medical Causes of Fatigue

        If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

        Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

        Anemia

        Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

        Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

        There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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        This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

        Diabetes

        Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

        Sleep Apnea

        Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

        Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

        Thyroid disease

        An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

        Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

        • Lack of sleep
        • Too much sleep 
        • Alcohol and drugs 
        • Sleep disturbances 
        • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
        • Poor diet 

        Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

        • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
        • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
        • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
        • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

        Psychological Causes of Fatigue

        Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

        • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
        • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
        • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

        How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

        Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

        1. Tell The Truth

        Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

        To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

        Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

        The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

        One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

        • How you feel
        • What time of day it is
        • What may have contributed to your fatigue
        • How your mind and body reacts

        This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

        2. Reduce Your Commitments

        When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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        If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

        When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

        Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

        3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

        If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

        Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

        If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

        Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

        Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

        4. Express More Gratitude

        Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

        It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

        Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

        5. Focus On Yourself

        Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

        There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

        But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

        We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

        6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

        Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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        Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

        The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

        Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

        7. Take a Power Nap

        When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

        Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

        This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

        8. Take More Exercise

        The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

        Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

        The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

        You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

        9. Get More Quality Sleep

        To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

        Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

        My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

        10. Improve Your Diet

        Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

        Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

        On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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        To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

        Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

        Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

        11. Manage Your Stress Levels

        Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

        When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

        Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

        My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

        12. Get Hydrated

        Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

        Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

        If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

        The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

        The Bottom Line

        These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

        If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

        Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
        [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
        [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
        [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
        [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
        [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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