10 creative ways to reduce stress for intense times

10 creative ways to reduce stress for intense times

10 creative ways to reduce stress for intense times 2560 1810 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

I hope you are doing ok given the intensity of our times. I have some inspiration and tips for you today.

It’s about balance in body and mind and how to find it.

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you. That’s because I’ve been working with an organization called First Aid of the Soul.

First Aid of the Soul is an expressive arts therapy-based non-profit organization that helps people affected by the war in Ukraine. 

I’ve learned a lot about stress and trauma and how to prevent them from the people I’ve been privileged to work with there as a volunteer.

We work with people of all ages and from all over the world. We do it with sensory-oriented, embodied, and creative methods that reduce stress immediately.  Our goal is to prevent trauma and PTSD in all the people we work with.

What we are already seeing now is that while many are close to a breaking point, others are growing both personally and spiritually as a result of the crisis. For most, it’s a bit of both.

But what is true for everyone is that they can be helped.

We’re realizing that the creative and bodily methods we use in expressive arts therapy work better and are more stress-reducing than purely cognitive approaches. 

Did you know that you can prevent trauma during crises by being less stressed and maintaining a balance on a daily basis? And did you know that your stress and your healthy balance can “infect” others around you? As I’m sure you already know, there are many good reasons to reduce stress.

But how do you find a healthy balance and avoid unhealthy levels of stress at a time of immense world crises and an everyday life that may be full of work, screen time, duties, and too little nature, play, and contact with other living beings?

Would you like 10 simple, creative methods for quick stress management, self-healing, and growth? Most of them are also part of my upcoming Art of Self-Healing Cards, which will also be used in our work with the victims of war.

I’d like to give you ten exercises from the cards and book in advance. Here they are:

(Feel free to do the exercises outdoors. Do only what feels good and take care of yourself. If something is uncomfortable, stop and seek help. The methods here are for self-help and are not therapy or a replacement for professional help.)

  1. Put on music that you enjoy and dance to it. Get your heart rate up (gently) and then lie down and rest and let it come all the way down again.
  2. Feel your buttocks in the seat and your feet on the floor – or directly on the ground. Look around and see where you are.  Name a few of the things you can see.
  3. Do the same as in exercise 2, but now look around for a specific color. See how many places you can find it. Notice your breathing.
  4. Set aside a few minutes and move as you like in silence. Make sure you are in a safe place and have enough space around you
  5. Imagine the safest and most nourishing, beautiful place where you can just be and rest. Draw it or write a little story about it.
  6. Stretch. Notice what your body wants – follow it. Cross your arms on your chest and hug yourself. Pat alternately on your right and left sides for even more calm and balance.
  7. Feel your body and your breathing, just as it is. Follow it and notice what happens if you put a little more emphasis on your exhalation and sigh loudly a few times. Feel your body and your breathing again.
  8. Take a piece of clay, paper, or anything else you can shape or color. Let all your emotions flow into it as if they could come out. Now, look at what you’ve created. Is there anything that surprises you or that is new here? Focus on that and create something more.
  9. Place your hand in the center of your chest and notice your breathing. Imagine that you could breathe in and out through your heart.
  10. Notice a thought that’s stressing you out. Write it down and see if it could be rewritten into something more true, loving – or just the opposite – even if it sounds silly.

Did you like one or more of these exercises? Please let me know if you want to be among the first to know when the new Art of Self-Healing Cards are ready. 

You can support First Aid of the Soul here

With love and creativity,