Stress relief activities to help you escape from your worries for a little while. Modelling in any medium requires deep concentration of the task at hand. The modelling process is deeply satisfying and rewarding.
Any hobby can help you escape from the world for a while whether it's knitting or gardening.
When we are absorbed in doing something we enjoy that requires concentration and/or physical hard work our minds will let go of the things that it's worrying about and give us a much needed break.
Kneading dough or clay is a great way to release tension and stress. It is physically hard work to do by hand but the process can help you to release any pent up frustration.
Stress relief activities are often physical, you can't think too deeply about anything if you are actively using your body. To think deeply we usually sit still and allow our bodies to rest while the mind works. If you are unable to be physical for whatever reason then it can be difficult to stop the mind from thinking and worrying.
This is where the creative process can help even if you have never been creative in your life, it doesn't matter. It is the process of redirecting your mind to think of something else that will help you gain control.
As you focus your mind on the task at hand you can't think about your worries or troubles for a while and you can allow yourself a break.
Sometimes just not thinking actively on your stresses can help you to deal with them.
Don't worry about the finished result that's not the point, the whole
idea of the these activities is to release some of the stress you are
feeling in your day to day life.
Young children will play for hours
with modelling materials, they create their own realities and populate
them with their own characters, they don't worry about what others think
as long as they can continue to play. We can learn a lot from watching
our children play.
Don't worry what others think, learn to play again and for a little while lose yourself in a world of your own making, where you are in control and your worries are left behind for the moment.
As a child I always remember my Mum making bread if she had a bad day, she always said the kneading made her feel better.
As an adult I also found that making bread dough is one of the best stress relief activities I've ever tried. After a bad day, instead of lashing out at my family or friends I would take all my frustrations out on a lump of dough.
You can thump it and twist it, pull it apart and throw it on the table. The more you abused it the better the bread would be. Even after I bought a fancy mixer that kneads the dough and makes perfect bread, I would still do it by hand after a bad day.
If you have a disability that effects your shoulders, arms or hands the sheer hard work of kneading dough for bread making can be too much. You really do need to knead the dough well or you will not get a nice light and airy loaf. I get a lot of pain in my upper body, arms and hands even if I do nothing so I rarely knead dough for bread anymore.
I have found other stress relief activities that can help to release that pent up frustration that are just as effective as making bread dough.
Kneading any type of modelling clay or dough is a great way to reduce stress. You don't have to be so physical as the finished result does not depend on how much you knead the material.
In most cases the simple mixing of the ingredients is enough but you can pound away with out damage if you need to.
I now use my fancy mixer for making bread and keep my strength for modelling crafts.
Once you have removed your tension by squashing, kneading, squeezing, thumping, pulling apart and throwing around your chosen material you can actually then get absorbed in the creative process.
There are lots of different modelling materials you can try until you find the right medium for you.
Plasticine makes a great stress reliever and you can make some great models with it, they will last quite a long time if you keep them cool and don't squash them.
You don't even have to make a finished product to feel the benefits.
Take a piece of Plasticine, big enough to fit nicely in your hand and just squash it and squeeze it.
It will get quite soft the more you play with it but you can always put it in the fridge to harden it again.
Make a simple model like the dog in the photo. Just escape for a while, as long as it relieves some of your stress it doesn't have to be an artistic masterpiece.
Play dough is similar to plasticine, it can be re-used over and over again.
You can buy the ready made version in many different colors or you can make your own.
Like plasticine play dough models are not permanent as the dough is not baked.
It can be re-used over and over again to make as many models as you like.
The ready made version is softer than plasticine and is a lot easier to work, my homemade version is even softer.
Though it tends to be too soft to make larger models. If you would like to have a go at making your own go to my play dough page for step by step instructions.
Salt dough is made in a similar way to bread dough so you can knead it, thump it and generally abuse it without worrying about breaking it.
It is really cheap to make and will keep quite well in the fridge so even if you don't want to use it as a modelling material just use it to relieve that stress.
If you have children you could make up a batch for them to use, it will not only help to reduce your stress it will keep the kids occupied too.
Making things from salt dough is now one of my favorite stress relief activities. Not only can you have fun making the dough you can create something beautiful. The basic materials are really cheap and you don't need to have lots of fancy equipment.
Go to my salt dough page to find out how to make the models in the photo above. Like all my tutorials you will find step by step instructions and lots of photo's.
Oven baked clay is a fantastic medium for small detailed modelling pieces.
If you enjoy working with plasticine but would like your models to be more enduring then oven baked clay is the perfect progression.
You can make some really intricate and detailed models using it and once baked they will last for a long time.
It requires kneading when you first use it to soften it and to make sure that the chemicals within the clay are thoroughly mixed.
The stress relief comes from the attention required to create your models and the feeling of accomplishment when you have created something beautiful from a boring block of clay.
On my polymer clay pages you will find lots of tutorials to help you get started.
If you would prefer something less physical but equally relaxing try these intricate coloring sheets.
Coloring intricate patterns requires concentration and is very relaxing.
Although we tend to associate coloring with children lots of adults are redscovering the benefits to this simple pastime.
You'll find several to choose from on my Coloring Pages, from intricate geometric designs to simple patterns.
If you enjoy these check out Mia's Coloring Ideas book below.
Make yourself a set of worry beads to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Use them as an aid to meditation, just counting the beads can help to clear your mind.
Having something to do with your hands is often helpful in times of high stress.