Amy Eksteen

Wellness Series Part 9

As promised, this week we will be exploring a surprise dimension of Wellness known as our Creative Wellness!

Looking after our creative well-being by allowing ourselves the opportunity to express ourselves creatively is said to be one of the missing links when we talk about health and wellness – space for a ninth wellness dimension was therefore created (Newpoff, Melnyk, Neale, 2018).

A person who looks after their creative wellness values and actively participates in a range of different art and cultural experiences as an attempt to be a part of, understand and appreciate their surrounding world (Student Wellness Center).

Looking after our creative health is important because it has the ability to increase our positive emotions, boost our mood and have other positive psychological effects. Expressing ourselves, along with our emotions and personal views, opinions and beliefs, in an artistic way can have positive affects on our other wellness dimensions. For example, creative expression can be good for stress management (Melnyk, Neale, 2018).

Even though the creative wellness dimension is fairly new, studies have shown that creative expression has many health benefits such as decreased depressive symptoms and increased positive emotions along with reduced stress and improved immune functioning (Newpoff, Melnyk, Neale, 2018).

A person who prioritises their Creative Wellness:

  • Expresses themselves through creative activities
  • Attend art-related events and programmes
  • Thinks of themselves as a creative person
  • Values many different perspectives when thinking and talking about complex/new topics
  • The arts help them to appreciate other perspectives, cultures and beliefs (The Ohio State University, 2015).

15 ways to prioritise Creative Wellness:

  1. Join an art class
  2. Make something with your hands
  3. Dance
  4. Make or listen to music
  5. Journal
  6. Doodle or draw
  7. Express yourself through poetry – write or read it
  8. Try drama
  9. Begin a photography project
  10. Visit a museum
  11. Visit an art gallery
  12. Watch a play/musical performance
  13. Cook or bake
  14. Start a vegetable garden
  15. Read up on interior decorating and decorate your room/house (Newpoff, Melnyk, Neale, 2018).

Creative Wellness self-care goal setting: Think of one main, long-term goal you would like to focus on in your personal self-care plan. For example: “I would like to start looking after my creative wellness as much as I can, each week”
Now, think of two short-term goals/acts of self-care that you can incorporate into your day-to-day life in order to reach your main goal. For example: “I can start by trying small acts of creative self-care to see which ones help me to feel as if I am expressing my creativity in the most satisfying and beneficial way and I can start by planning to attend more cultural, art events and programmes in my surrounding area by myself or with my friends in my free time”

Creative Wellness challenge for the week:

  • Monday: Draw or paint something
  • Tuesday: Read a piece of poetry or watch a video of someone reading poetry
  • Wednesday: Write about something positive that happened in your day or about someone you love
  • Thursday: Research the benefits of Art Therapy
  • Friday: Have a conversation about art with a friend who studies art or who knows a lot about a certain creative sphere
  • Saturday: Do something creative with a friend today
  • Sunday: Do the wellness exercise in this blog post Wellness exercise:After discussing the concept of wellness and exploring the nine wellness dimensions, I suggest doing a quick exercise if you’re interested in evaluating how much time you spend on each dimension in your day-to-day life.

Self-care Pie chart Exercise:

Tools needed: Paper/your journal Colourful pens


  1. Draw a circle in the middle of your page because what we will be creating is essentially a pie chart (for example, the ‘self-care circle’ picture above)
  2. Think of what your most normal day looks like and all the activities and responsibilities you spend time and energy on
  3. Break your circle/pie chart up into segments – all segments must add up to 24 hours in total
    For example, your segment titled ‘school’ or ‘work‘ will be a big part of your circle because you spend majority of your day there (you can write 7 hours in the middle of the segment). Your segment titled ‘sleep’ will most likely be the biggest segment of your pie chart as it might have 8 hours written in the middle of it.
  4. Continue breaking up your pie chart into your daily activities. You may have segments called “eating”, “hygiene”, which may contain activities like showering and brushing your teeth along with “exercise”, “hobbies”, “time with friends” and so on.
  5. By the end of your pie chart, look at all your segments and decide which ones fit under each wellness dimension. The nine Wellness Dimensions are: Physical, Emotional, Social, Environmental, Financial, Spiritual, Occupational, Intellectual and Creative. This part of the exercise should give you a quick glance at what dimensions you give the most attention to in your day-to-day life. This can then help you to identify the dimensions you feel you need to maintain and/or give more attention to in your self-care routine.
  6. You can use this exercise as often as you want as a way to measure and identify how much time and energy you spend on each dimension of wellness and how much self-care you are currently dedicating to each segment. Suggestion: You could do this exercise at the beginning of each month in your journal.

Remember that even though our wellness dimensions are all interlinked and affect each other, to achieve a sense of true wellness and self-care, we need to strive for ‘personal balance and harmony’. Wellness is a subjective experience, we naturally have our own priorities, goals, approaches and dreams, especially what it means to ‘live life fully’, therefore our dimensions don’t have to be equally balanced. If we personally feel we are living a balanced and satisfying life, that is all that matters (Stoewen, 2017).

Self-reflection Questions:

  • What did I just read about?
  • Do I feel as if I am currently looking after my creative wellness?
  • Am I someone who feels the need to express themselves creatively?
  • How could I personally start expressing myself in a creative way?
  • Did I learn anything from this blog post?
  • What wellness dimension do I spend the most time on?
  • What wellness dimension do I spend the least time on?
  • How did this blog post make me feel?
  • Does my pie chart from my wellness exercise look balanced and personally satisfying to me?
  • Do I feel like I need to make changes to my pie chart and if so, how can I make changes?
  • How can I begin to prioritise my creative wellness into my personal self-care plan?
  • What can I keep in mind for the future from this blog post?

This concludes our Wellness journey – thank you for sharing this experience with me over the last 10 weeks.

All my love xx

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