Seven creative ways to ease into the new semester

Photo Credit: Estee Janssens on Unsplash

Photo Credit: Estee Janssens on Unsplash

Starting the semester is always a busy and stressful time, so it is important to take time to de-stress. These seven low-material and crafty activities are great ways to slow down this hectic time of year.


You will need any simple or plain journal from Walmart or Dollarama and markers or fine tip colourful pens. On the outside design whatever you’d like to preface your journal, “2019-2020” would be an easy start, or simply decorating it with a design you like. On the inside, you have the freedom to write anything you want and that is the beauty of a journal! Some ideas to get you started could be a gratitude list of everything you are grateful for or a list of goals you intended to achieve weekly, monthly, etc. This will be a personal place to mark progress, record random thoughts or write down any million-dollar-ideas you may have. Throughout the semester you can fill your journal up to help you reflect on yourself and de-stress by releasing thoughts in a healthy way. From there, you can try different journaling techniques such as bullet journals.


The material required for macramé can be assembled piece by piece, but ordering a kit of materials off of Amazon is the most student-friendly way to begin this craft. Kits online can be as cheap as $15. This textile method was hugely popular in the 70s and is making a comeback this year, which is why it is perfect to try out now while it’s back in style! Macramé is a textile method that uses simple knots to create hanging wall art or hanging plant holders. This is a simple craft that is perfect for students because you can work on it, leave it and revisit it whenever you have time. Once completed, macramé can be hung up with Command hooks (be cautious of landlord requirements for hanging decorations on walls) to add some decoration to any student’s room.


This might seem childish to university students, but playdough is relatively clean and is a satisfying fidget toy while studying. Conveniently, most playdough recipes use household ingredients like flour and salt. Lots of recipes are available online depending on what ingredients you have access to. You can dye your batch of playdough whatever colours you find relaxing and use this DIY craft to de-stress at home or on the go.


Bracelets are simple and are fun to do as a group. Bracelet thread can be easily purchased at a dollar store or Walmart. The internet has thousands of fun designs and are usually repetitive and easy to learn. Making most bracelets does not take long, but is a great way to take a 10 minute break to de-stress and take your mind off from school or work.

Colouring sheets

This is definitely an easy, yet underrated, way to de-stress not only at the beginning of the semester but anytime you need some quiet you-time. Colouring sheets can easily be found online, including mandala print outs that are slightly challenging but can still be a great distraction from real-life. Whatever things interest you will most likely have a colouring sheet online, from cars to animals there is something for anyone. Colouring can be a fun group activity among peers if you feel inclined to de-stress with others. Once your colouring sheet is completed, hanging it on your fridge or on a wall is a good way to remind yourself to keep this healthy destresser habits up throughout the semester.

Gratitude Jar

Grab a mason jar, scissors, and colourful paper. This is an ongoing activity and would make a great addition to your desk at home or work. To get started cut up paper into small squares that will fit when rolled up into the mason jar. The premise of a gratitude jar is to acknowledge positive aspects of school, work or just life in general. Write affirmations or things and people you are grateful for, roll up the paper and put it into the jar. Whenever you have time or feel like you need a pick-me-up reach into the jar and read some of the gratitude notes.

Bob Ross & Paint

This activity is most definitely is more fun with friends. Grab dollar store paint, paintbrushes and canvases. Assemble scrap paper, but come on, if you are reading this I know your “scrap paper” is going to be this newspaper, so lay it down with care after you have thoroughly read each section. Find a YouTube video of any of Bob Ross tutorial and follow along to the best of your abilities. Do not worry about the end result of your painting, because in the wise words of Bob Ross, “there are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”

No matter how you choose to de-stress, whether exercise, meditation or art, setting time aside to take care of yourself is important, especially during hectic times like the start of a semester.

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