Embracing Art as a Self-Care Practice for Neurodiverse People

Art is a powerful tool for personal expression and growth, transcending the boundaries of language and culture. For neurodiverse individuals, art can be particularly beneficial as a self-care practice, providing a unique medium for processing emotions and experiences. 

Whether you’re an avid artist or someone who wouldn’t consider yourself particularly creative, art therapy can serve as a valuable resource for coping with stress and achieving emotional well-being. Discover ways to incorporate art into your self-care routine even if you don’t consider yourself an artist. 

Art Therapy and Neurodiverse Self-Care

Art therapy is a discipline that utilizes creative methods of expression through various visual art media. It offers a means for individuals to explore their emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a non-judgmental and safe environment. For neurodiverse individuals, art therapy can be particularly advantageous, as it accommodates a wide range of learning styles and communication preferences.

By providing an alternative channel for self-expression, art therapy can empower neurodiverse individuals to develop a deeper understanding of their emotions and experiences. Creating art can also help with executive functioning as you strengthen your ability to focus on and complete an activity. By finding success in creative self-expression, you can use the neural pathways you form to engage in other areas of life.

Examples of Art Therapy Activities for Self-Care

Adult Coloring Books

Adult coloring books are popular for relaxation and mindfulness. For neurodiverse individuals, coloring can be a soothing activity that encourages focus on the present moment. By concentrating on the colors and shapes before you, your mind can let go of anxieties and engage in a meditative state. 

This practice can be particularly helpful for individuals with ADHD, autism, or anxiety, as it fosters relaxation and emotional regulation. Learning how to calm your nervous system through art may be an invaluable component of your personal transformational journey.

Emotional Heart Art

This simple art exercise involves outlining a heart and filling it with words, drawings, or imagery representing your emotions. This activity allows neurodiverse individuals to explore their feelings visually and symbolically. By externalizing emotions through this creative process, you can better understand your inner world and foster emotional resilience. 

Calming Paintings

Choose paint colors that evoke calm and tranquility, then create a piece of art for your personal space. This activity encourages mindfulness and provides a sense of accomplishment. For neurodiverse individuals, selecting colors and painting can help alleviate stress, manage emotions, and promote relaxation. The final product serves as a visual reminder of your self-care journey.

You may choose colors that foster desired moods, such as yellows, oranges, and light greens to uplift your spirit and energize you for the day. Or you may choose calming blues, purples, and greens and put the painting near your bed to provide a visual cue that it is time to wind down and sleep. Your work can be abstract if you want to avoid painting an object or scene.

Zentangle Drawings

Zentangle is a meditative drawing form involving intricate patterns and designs. To try zentangle, grab a pen and paper and follow a tutorial (like this: https://bithttps://bit.ly/3jkx4jS.ly/3jkx4jS). Zentangle benefits neurodiverse individuals by fostering mindfulness, focus, and creativity. The repetitive patterns provide a sense of calm and order, particularly helpful for individuals with ADHD or autism.

Embracing Your Neurodiverse Mind through Art for Self-Care

Art activities can serve as a valuable self-care practice for your neurodiverse mind. Try a variety to see what feels best to you. Engaging in creative expression allows you to process emotions and thoughts in a unique way. By embracing your neurodiversity through art, you can foster self-awareness, self-compassion, and emotional well-being.

This week, consider trying a new art project—even if it’s just doodling on a piece of paper. Allow your neurodiverse mind to express itself in its distinctive way and experience the benefits of artistic self-care. Read Self-Care for Neurodivergent Individuals to learn more about the importance of self-care.


Autistic Perspectives is dedicated to giving first-hand accounts of life and useful tips through an autistic perspective.

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