Note to Self – Therapeutic Expressive Arts Activity

Note To Self Postcard


The winter holiday season when stripped of the emphasis on commercialism and overindulgence is, at its roots, about joy, peace, and the changing of the season. Remembering to find time to tune into those aspects during the month of December is challenging but truly helpful if we want to stay connected to the inner cues our body is sending us re: our physical, emotional, and social needs. This Art Directive is a playful way to remember how NOT to lose ourselves while engaged in the whirlwind of giving to others.


Blank Postcards, Postcard Postage Stamps, Markers, Pens, Scissors, Glue Sticks, Magazines. (I always get my postcards from the Post Office but there are online sources now like Vista Print, Flickr, etc. that have special pricings or cut out 4×6 inch cards from cardstock).

How to

  1. Brain storm on 1-4 realistic ways to find a place of peace or source of joy to tap into during the month of December. This can be as simple as sitting quietly somewhere, looking at favorite art work, doing a crossword puzzle, going to a museum, unplugging your phone for an hour, etc. Whatever you choose remember the purpose is to provide the opportunity to check in with your thoughts, needs, and replenish yourself.
  2. Put one idea on each postcard using symbols, pictures, words, colors, etc. Go all out AS IF it is a gift you are giving someone else because we frequently put more effort into other people than we do to ourselves. This card is a gift-note to yourself to remind you to take some self-care time.
  3. Address the cards to yourself and put stamps on them.

Exchange the cards with someone else in the group, or give them to the therapist/facilitator or good friend, someone you can trust, to mail one card each week of December.

If this is an Expressive Arts Therapy group, gather in a circle and share your strategies for self-care with each other and discuss the differences and similarities in how people find places of peace and joy. If there is time, or next session, do some role plays and identify potential barriers and workable solutions to fulfilling these commitments?

Special Note: Remind participants that if they are unable to follow through with the suggestions on the cards not to PUNISH themselves. Sometimes the reasons why we don’t do something provides us with important information.

This expressive arts directive is from contributing guest author Dr. Deah Schwartz. Once a month, Dr. Schwartz shares an art therapy activity or idea to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing in the areas of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Some of these activities may need to be facilitated over more than one session, or modified for different ability levels, size of group, budget and size of work space. These directives may be used in individual or group therapy sessions or as self-help activities. Sometimes the activity itself is nothing new or brilliant but the OBJECTIVE of the directive is unique and specifically tailored to exploring issues related to body image and disordered eating. ENJOY! Fun is the main ingredient! Learn more about eating disorder therapy here.


  1. says

    Thanks for letting me know Andrew! I’m sorry it took me so long to respond, I wasn’t getting notified of comments. I am hoping that you made it through the holidays and are feeling “right as rain!” (I always wondered where that expression came from, but I like the sound of it!).
    Dr. Deah

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