With a global pandemic and political strife, stress seems to be an unavoidable part of daily life, making self-care more important than ever before. This holds true even for young people, as anxiety and depression become increasingly common among teenagers. Fortunately, creativity (while not a cure-all) can help one’s mental and physical well-being. It can even lower cortisol levels. So, today, we’ll discuss five creative activities for teens and how they can help with self-care and wellness, so teens can have the inner strength they need to face life’s challenges.
1. See the World Like an Artist
I absolutely love collages and one of my favorite collage artists is Eugenia Loli, whose playful work is pictured above. She often uses pictures of people from old magazines and puts them in grand situations. The girl from this picture probably appeared in an ad for canned whipped cream, but now, instead of selling a product, she becomes a giantess creating mountains. You can make collages easily and with a relaxing podcast or music in the background. A type of collage, Vision boards have been trending lately. This art helps you visualize your goals and dreams. Painting and drawing, whether physically or virtually, also make for wonderful creative activities. For a soothing project, try painting along with Bob Ross, whose tutorials can be found for free on YouTube.
2. Write Through Your Feelings
Another easy and cheap activity, writing only requires a journal or word processor, but can create entire worlds. Teens can jot down their thoughts and feelings, which research shows can be a healthy way to manage mental health, or they can write more creatively. For example, fan fiction, like collaging, lets you reinterpret characters from stories you like in new situations. Teens can also make their own stories by using writing prompts as a springboard into creativity. Whether prose or poetry, writing helps us self-care by working through difficult emotions and empathize with others, as we think more critically and creatively about the world around us. Writing also empowers us, as seen in the photo of famous feminist author Audre Lorde, above.
3. Don a “Masque”
When done right, dolling up with makeup and attire can be a powerful means of self-expression and creativity. Makeup can be associated with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, but it can also help alleviate it. The act of putting on makeup can even be a sort of masquerade, a performative act that deconstructs beauty standards. And nothing says self-care like rejecting falsehoods about beauty. With makeup and costume, you can construct an identity and that has power. For example, have you heard of cosplay (dressing up as characters from comics, cartoons, and video games)? Cosplay has great feminist potential by reimagining characters with body positivity or diversity. For example, in the photo above, cosplayer Sharon Rose has made Captain America a woman.
4. Be the Best Vlogger
With the popularity of YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, many teens create their own videos. These platforms create a fantastic gateway to filmmaking. Teens can learn the principles of filmmaking, including lighting, cinematography, and editing to enhance their videos and creativity. Learning how to make films, also helps them view media more critically, something that can be practiced when you watch movies or television with your teen. If this all feels too daunting, photography can also be a great, relaxing art form with the power and simplicity of your average smartphone.
5. Design Your Own Game
Despite being a bigger industry than Hollywood, video games too often depict and abet sexism and men dominate the programing world. But with software like Scratch and Flowlab, girls can access powerful game-making tools for free and reclaim video games. Coding skills help teach kids logic and analytical thinking, plus its fun! You can read about games made by girls and play some demos from the organization Girls Make Games. However, if all this seems daunting, girls can easily make their own levels through games like Super Mario Maker. Or, teens can go analog and make their own role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. Many tutorials can be accessed for free on YouTube, and while the rules may seem daunting at first, you really only need to have fun with friends while creating a world.
We hope you’ve enjoyed Self-Care: Five Creative Activities for Teens!