Art can be therapeutic and healing for so many reasons and is being widely used as a complement to mental health services and substance abuse recovery programs. Research shows that art helps to reduce stress and anxiety and is correlated with higher levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy. Not only does art give us a creative outlet, but it can also help us connect to what we're feeling, and recognize what feelings we may have been ignoring or pushing away. Here are 5 projects to try when you need a break and want to un-wind - best part, you don't need to be "good" at art!

1. Color a mandala

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtglYMSANnW/

"Mandala" in Sanskrit means "circle" and is seen as a representation of the universe for several spiritual and religious traditions. Mandalas are colorful and balanced, yet simple. The act of coloring these in is proven to be meditative and calming for those with anxiety or stress. You can purchase a mandala coloring book or print out individual sheets online.

2. Make a vision board

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuKs9YPFSvn/

Creating a vision board is something most typically think about making at the start of the New Year, or before embarking on a new life transition or project. However, doing vision boards can be a fun way to explore your creativity without having to color or be the one to "make" the art. Grab a stack of magazines, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick, and allow yourself to cut out whatever draws your attention.

3. Finger painting

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuK288WHb29/

If your first thought that came to mind when reading this was about what a giant mess finger painting is - then all the more reason to try it! Make whatever you want: shapes, designs, color blocks, pictures. Pretend you're back in pre-school. Get a little messy, and see what beauty comes from it.

4. Create an "I am" collage

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfH8my0lOx7/

Create a collage of words that describe you. The layout can be whatever you want, but most of these look like "I am" in the center, with all of the words branching out. Color or paint the background to your heart's desire!

5. Create an intention stone

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp7a5eBBp4v/

This requires picking stones out of a garden or buying stones specific for art purposes, as well as a colored sharpie or paint to create the word on the stone's surface. The best part of making an intention stone is that you can take it anywhere with you; keep it at your desk, in your bag, or in your car. Write whatever first pops to mind, but here are a few ideas: resilience, peace, joy, healing, acceptance.