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Artful Healing: Navigating Hard Times with Creativity & Connection

In these times, the world feels like it’s spinning a bit too fast. Everywhere we turn, there's a sense of unrest, a collective sigh of exhaustion. We're all feeling the pinch in some way – at the grocery store, where $94 barely fills two bags, wondering, “What did I even buy?” Or at the gas pump, with prices soaring. It’s a universal story right now, and it's hitting us hard.

At Kindred, we've been feeling it too. It’s in these moments, amid the chaos of rising costs and endless to-dos, that we find ourselves seeking something more. Something grounding. That's where the magic of art steps in. Despite the messes (oh, the messes!), the joy and relaxation we find in creative activities are unparalleled. It’s not just about keeping busy; it’s about filling our cups, easing the stress and anxiety, and being truly present in the moment.

These little creative escapes are more than just hobbies; they're a lifeline. For me, it's been a way to connect with my kiddo, creating memories that are priceless. And isn’t that what we need as we approach the winter solstice, a time traditionally meant for rest and hibernation? Embracing our inner ‘goblin mode’ – unapologetically taking that time to just be, to create, to hibernate in the most joyous way.

At Kindred, we believe many of you resonate with this feeling. The need to find a slice of peace in the midst of the whirlwind, to turn to something as simple yet profound as art to soothe our souls. So, let’s talk about how we can find that calm in the storm together.

The Healing Power of Creativity

Finding ways to slow down and care for ourselves is more important than ever in a world that often feels like it's moving at breakneck speed. Engaging in creative activities is not just a pastime; it's a powerful form of self-care and stress relief. Let's dive into why and how this works, backed by some compelling statistics.

Research has consistently shown the positive impact of creative activities on mental health. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who engage in creative activities, like painting, writing, or knitting, experience significantly higher levels of positive emotions and lower levels of negative emotions. This isn't just a fleeting feeling; the study noted that these effects could last for days.

Moreover, a report by the BBC in 2018 highlighted that engaging in arts and crafts activities can reduce stress levels by up to 75%. Participants in these studies reported feeling more relaxed, happier, and less anxious after indulging in creative pursuits.

Creativity also plays a crucial role in mindfulness. A survey by Mind revealed that 76% of individuals found arts and crafts, such as DIY projects or drawing, helpful in managing stress and anxiety. This is because creative activities demand our full attention, much like meditation. They encourage a flow state, where we're so absorbed in the task that all other thoughts and worries disappear. This state of flow, identified by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is known to induce a sense of calm and can even be a form of informal meditation.

Additionally, neuroscientific research supports the idea that creativity is a de-stressor. Engaging in artistic activities has been shown to decrease cortisol levels, a hormone often used as an indicator of stress. A study in Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association found that just 45 minutes of creative activity significantly lowers cortisol levels, regardless of artistic experience or talent.

At Kindred, we see these benefits firsthand. Our community art area isn't just a place to create; it's a sanctuary where stress takes a backseat and joy and relaxation take the wheel. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just looking to dabble in something new, creating something with your hands can be a profoundly therapeutic experience.

So, when the world outside feels overwhelming, remember that the simple act of picking up a paintbrush, molding clay, or threading a needle can be a powerful tool in managing stress and fostering well-being. It’s not just about the end product; it’s about the process, the journey of creating, that heals and rejuvenates us.

DIY Citrus Garland Kits

In the cozy corners of Kindred, our DIY citrus garland kits bring joy and creativity. These kits are more than just a craft; they're an experience of making something beautiful and sustainable.

What’s in the Kit?

  • Dehydrated Citrus Slices: You'll find 15-18 vibrant slices of oranges, lemons, and limes. Their colors are stunning, and they're perfect for various crafts.
  • Twine and Decorations: Each kit includes a 6 ft piece of twine, sweet lil bells, and beads to add a little sparkle to your creation.
  • Extras for Personalization: Want to add a personal touch? We offer wooden pennant flags for painting and customizing your garland.

Crafting Your Garland:

  1. Plan Your Design: Arrange the citrus slices and decide where to place the bells and beads. Play with orientation! Some folks even cut them into smaller ornaments instead of one long piece.
  2. String Them Up: Thread the twine through the slices and decorations. You can create patterns or go for a random, whimsical look.
  3. Hang or Display: Once done, hang your garland as a festive decoration or use individual slices as gift wrap embellishments.

Beyond Garland Making:

  • Simmer Pot Kits: Stay tuned for our upcoming simmer pot kits, adding a fragrant touch to your home.
  • Chandelier Creation: This year, we’ve even crafted a chandelier using these kits, showcasing the versatility of the materials. Be sure to look up next time you’re in the shop!

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable: Once their decorative life is over, the citrus slices can either be stored for future use or composted, aligning with our zero-waste philosophy.

These garland kits are not just about crafting; they're about creating moments of peace, joy, and sustainable creativity. Perfect for a quiet evening in or a fun activity with the family, they remind us of the simple pleasures in life. Don't forget to explore our lemons and limes for more cool color options!

DIY Clay Ornament Recipe

Creating DIY clay ornaments is a simple, yet deeply satisfying process that combines creativity with the therapeutic benefits of working with your hands. Here's a brief overview of the process using a special recipe that substitutes arrowroot powder for cornstarch:



  1. Mix Ingredients: Combine arrowroot powder, baking soda, and water in a pot. Stir over medium heat until it thickens to a mashed potato-like consistency.
  2. Cool and Knead: Let the mixture coo, and then knead it on a smooth surface until silky. Add more arrowroot powder if sticky.
  3. Shape and Decorate: Roll out the clay, use cookie cutters for shapes, and add details with embossed rolling pins or paint.
  4. Dry the Ornaments: Let them air dry or bake in the oven at 175 degrees F, flipping halfway through.

This activity is a chance to immerse yourself in the moment, feeling the clay transform under your hands. It's a mindful practice that reduces stress and fosters a sense of accomplishment. Plus, you end up with unique, handcrafted decorations!

Art Therapy and Creative Expression at Kindred

At Kindred, we've embraced the philosophy highlighted in books like "Joyful" and "Your Brain on Art," both available in our lending library. These resources explore the therapeutic benefits of art and creativity, underscoring how simple creative practices can significantly enhance well-being.

As a team, we've incorporated these ideas into our daily lives, finding joy in our own personal style and committing to a daily art practice. It’s not just about the final product; it’s about the process and how it enriches our lives. We encourage this mindset in our community, promoting creativity as a daily, joyful practice rather than a pursuit of perfection.

These books have inspired us to explore and appreciate the natural world around us, integrating elements like pine cones and seed pods into our art projects. This adds a unique touch and connects us more deeply with our environment, enhancing the therapeutic benefits of our creative endeavors.

For more insights, you can explore these books on Goodreads: Joyful and Goodreads: Your Brain on Art. Of course, there are lots out there on this subject, these are just some recent faves. 

Kinship Collective: A Haven for Relaxation & Connection

Our Community Art Area at Kindred is a pay-what-you-can space designed for relaxation and socializing, where art is accessible to everyone. Stocked with a variety of supplies from donations and thrift finds, this area invites you to express creatively in a supportive environment.

Here's how it works:

  • Access Supplies: During business hours, visit the front workshop area, select what you need, and pay what you feel is fair.
  • Donations and Trades: We welcome donations and trades. Consider contributing to our community collection if you have items you no longer need.
  • Work Trade Option: We offer work trade for those wanting to contribute time instead of money. Help us organize the space in exchange for first dibs on new donations or art materials.

This initiative is rooted in our belief that art should be accessible to everyone. It’s more than just a space; it’s a community effort to encourage and nurture creativity in all forms. Let's collaborate to keep art thriving in our community!

We understand that everyone has their own preferred space for relaxation and creativity. That's why, besides our community art area, we offer to-go kits for various activities, including the ones mentioned in this blog. These kits are designed to be affordably priced under $20, making creativity accessible in the comfort of your own space. And yes, these kits are also available through our work trade program. Whether you create in our community space or your own, we're here to support your creative journey.

We're here to offer a nurturing space, a gentle reminder that it's okay to pause, breathe, and engage in something that brings you joy. Howard Thurman once said, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." So, let's give ourselves permission to rest, to create, to come alive. The burdens will be there, but so will our collective strength, renewed by these moments of peace and creativity.

Next article Savings & Sustainability: Is a Zero-Waste Lifestyle Cheaper?


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