8 December – Mindfulness advent challenge

Create natural art

Today we tap into our creative side to help improve our mental health by making outdoor art.

There’s no need to have any artistic ability to enjoy this experience – it’s not about the results, it’s about the process.

You can lose yourself in the repetitiveness of the task and empty your head of the usual inner chatter as you focus on making shapes and patterns from your surroundings.

Head outdoors

Wrap up warm and head to a favourite woodland trail or nearby beach. Take a few deep breaths and connect to this moment, this place, this activity. Slow down to enjoy the process.

Pay attention to the changes of the season. The colours, shapes and textures. The smells, sights and sounds of your surroundings.

Collect fallen leaves, twigs, berries and pine cones – or perhaps shells, stones or seaweed. Consider what looks good and feels good.

Find a quiet spot and immerse yourself in arranging your materials into a pattern or composition. Perhaps creating a mandala or spiral layout.

Afterwards, enjoy your creation from different perspectives and angles. Consider taking some photographs from a variety of angles and distances, perhaps to sketch later.

Reflect on how your artwork links to your surroundings – does it blend in or stand out?

Think about how the activity absorbed you. Was it soothing to create outdoors? Do you feel calmer or happier?

Roam responsibly

Please respect the environment and try not to disturb eco-systems.

Alternatively …

You can also do this practice at home, either bringing back materials you collected from your walk or using what you have in your garden. Or perhaps choosing offcuts from your Christmas tree, or even some herbs and spices.

You could even use Christmas ornaments, gift wrap accessories or other objects and create a pattern.

It’s not the results that matter, it’s the process of exploring materials, engaging your senses and stilling a busy mind.

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