Have you neglected the artist within over the course of the year? Are you a new to artistic expression? Well, this holiday season may be the perfect time to engage in some artistic hobbies and endeavors. Whether you’re a brilliant writer, shower singer, or closet painter, arts and crafts may be the cure to your holiday blues. It is also a way to be more mindful of your inner experience.
Here are some ideas for you to get started:
Christmas caroling, choir singing and other group singing activities are a powerful way to connect with people and have your inner artist shine. It is also an excellent way to improve your overall wellbeing. Time Magazine reported in 2013 that “group singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins.”
Have a hard time holding pitch or carrying a tune? Not to worry! The Time Magazine article made clear that “good” singing is not required to experience the benefits. it quoted a 2005 study, which said “group singing can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.”
Another beautiful phenomenon of group singing is that it can bring people together in a unique way beyond just bringing them into the same physical space. A 2015 The Telegraph piece interviewed researcher Nick Stewart who stated that “people who sang in a choir had a stronger sense of being part of a meaningful group and there is a suggestion that there is something unique about the synchronicity of moving and breathing with other people.”
For those of you who love to create wonderful stories but have not gotten around to the task in the last year, you may want to start with a daily journal. Not only will journaling help you to become a better writer, but a 2005 study referred to in Arts.mic found that just “just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference” on the emotional and physical health.
Self-expression through journaling is a great way of getting to know your unique abilities and talents. You will find yourself becoming more aware of your surroundings in the process as well, and when that happens, be sure to keep a little pocket notebook with you to jot ideas. You might notice a glistening dew drop on the tip of a blade of grass, the warmth of your hazelnut coffee cup, or a child making snow angels outside of your apartment. These images and ideas bring about new thoughts and ideas and may lead to a wonderful story or poem. This process will make you very mindful of your experience of life and has the ability to flood your winter moments with beauty.
When you’re ready, challenge yourself to to write about a wonderful moment or a memorable period of your life. Create your narrative from pure fantasy or reality, whatever you desire - just be sure to relax or meditate beforehand and write from a place of pure inspiration and enjoyment!
Writers, have you been prose-ing away on paper over the last year only to find that your sentences are losing their magic? Has the writing process itself lost its luster? To me, that’s a clear sign that you may need to bring out the poetics! Of course the benefits of writing poetry go beyond improving prose writing. Poetry has a way of bringing the writer out of reflection and into experience!
Use the pocket notebook idea I suggested above to get started. Once you have a few nice observations or ideas penned into notebook, I would recommend that you try to write a short piece. Here are a couple of formats you can try:
This is exactly what it sounds like. A list poem is a list of observations, thoughts and other details that you tie together to create a poem. Here are several examples of list poems:
According to AphorismExamples.com, “An aphorism is an original thought, spoken or written in a concise and memorable form that expresses an opinion or a statement.”
We are in the age of short attention spans, Facebook Memes and 10 second sound bytes, so what we say aloud or in print must pack a hefty punch. Practicing aphorisms is a great way to bring more meaning to your writing.
Once you have created your poem, read it out loud and see how the words feel and taste, hear how they sound, and let yourself fully surrender to the sensory elements of your poem!
Invite friends and family over to create holiday cards, gifts, or games. This is an incredibly fun and relaxing activity to engage in and also has a special way connecting people. Are you living far away from your friends and family? Just call a local shelter, soup kitchen, hospital or hospice and tell the manager your craft ideas. She might let you hold a craft session at the facility where you might experience multiple benefits at once: stress relief, connection with other human beings, giving and receiving compassion, and having fun!
All in all, if you’re feeling a little down, artistic projects are a great way to brighten up your gloomy winter. The holidays are an incredible time of year as the air is often buzzing with energy and excitement, and the suggestions above will help you to be in a mindset to enjoy the fun of the season.