Arts for Wellbeing: Making to Feel Good

I have always been a maker. At times in my life I’ve done it more, and at times less, but it’s a really important in helping me wind down, switch off, and just be in the moment. That said, and this is very important, I’m not a brilliant maker. I do a number of things moderately well, and some a bit better than that, and some (**coughs** knitting) an awful lot worse. But as time has gone by I’ve worried much less about whether I’m ‘good enough’, and I just enjoy the process. Sometimes I feel like drawing, so I draw. Other times I paint, or sew, or bake, or try to knit (try being the operative word).

The idea that making helps us feel good is nothing new. We all start out doing it, whether bashing around with some play dough or crayons, or inventing games and stories and make believe. Some of us carry on as adults. Museums and galleries the world over are full of images and objects from across human history that people have made as a way to express who they are. Over the last few years there has been a growing amount of evidence that making really does help us feel good, combined rather beautifully in Daisy Fancourt and Saoirse Finn’s Scoping Review (2019). But perhaps there has been no better time to try putting this evidence into practice.

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing some really simple creative activities that you can have a go at at home. It would be great if you join me and have a go … but before we start, let’s get a few ground rules out of the way:

  • You DON’T have to be arty/creative/good at art/crafty etc etc.
  • You DON’T need any special fancy equipment.
  • You can do this on your own, with your family, dog, cat, goldfish - whoever happens to be nearby.
  • What you make DOESN’T need to be perfect. In fact, what better time to have a good chuckle at something silly.
  • If you want to you can share pics of your makes. This is a great way to connect with others, and to make yourself and other people smile.


Written by Rachel Byron. Rachel Byron is a lecturer in Mental Health and Wellbeing at Wrexham Glyndŵr University.