Art and Mental Health

April 25, 2023
Liz Reim

As a child, I loved art. I had a little easel in the kitchen where I practiced my letters and created pictures. Granted my mom probably set me up to do my art so she could run upstairs for a few minutes of peace and quiet. Nevertheless, I hollered up to her to see every step of the art process the whole time she was upstairs.

In high school, I took all of the art classes available. My bedroom floor was usually covered in some sort of art supply, colored pencils, gel pens, photos, or card stock. Then I went off to college, leaving my love of art behind. College was a stressful time. My first few years of teaching were stressful. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that I did have a love of art and it wasn’t just a love, it was an outlet for my own mental health.

I started to ease my way back into art coloring books. It was a little bit of coloring while watching tv or creating a little doodle during a meeting. Nothing fancy or life altering, believe me. I got an iPad with a pencil and started to learn how to handletter. These things didn’t take much time but I realized that when I got stressed, making the time to create art helped.

I’m not saying you need to pick up an adult coloring book, but maybe you do. Maybe you need to think of something that you loved when you were a kid. Bob Goff encourages everyone to Dream Big and dream dreams that your 8 year old self would dare you to dream. Take that challenge, but for your mental health. What would your 8 year old self love doing? Maybe it’s swimming, roller skating, swinging on a swing, cloud watching, or making art. Do it! Maybe, that thing you loved as a kid could be an emotional outlet when life gets tough and managing everything is tricky. Make time to love the things you once loved if only to remember why you loved it.

"Dream dreams your 8-year old self would dare you to dream" -Bob Goff

Instead of leaving art in my childhood bedroom, I really could have used my love for art in college and during my first years of teaching, but I was too “busy” then to create art. What I should have done was made the time to create beautiful and ugly things with my art just as a way to process my life, and my 8 year old self would agree.

Make time to love the things you once loved if only to remember why you loved it.

About the author

Liz is an incredible artist and talented teacher. She was kind enough to contribute to out blog by talking about how her art has impacted her life. She is currently the Unpacked Group's exclusive photographer, and has provided several incredibly professional images, which you can see on our website. Check her out @lizreimphoto

Cover photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels