Just “managing” your stress is not enough. We all need to give ourselves a chance to “re-set” after we’ve navigated through a lot of stressors.
Think of it like an oven. You turn it on, it heats up, you bake your cake–but then you turn it off again! If you left it on, it could lead to fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. We need to give ourselves time and space to reset: relax and self-soothe. This way we can face our challenges with renewed energy and confidence.
Each of the activities below can be used to decrease stress by providing a “mental point of focus”, away from worrying thought. They are also conducive to relaxation because you don’t need any artistic ability. The goal is to have an activity that is just interesting and difficult enough to keep your brain occupied, away from worry–but not too challenging that it produces feelings of “I’m no good at this.”
If you introduce these to your students, remind them to “be the boss of their brain.” When they notice that they are thinking of a worry instead of focusing on drawing/coloring, they can just “change the channel of their brain” by taking a slow breath in and out and then re-focusing on the activity.
The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.
Adding Music: You may also want to have the students listen to sound or music while engaging in these activities. For relaxation purposes, rather than entertainment, we suggest using:
- simple melodies with no lyrics and ideally just one or two instruments
- binaural beats
- white noise
- nature sounds