Educators have notoriously stressful jobs, and as a result teacher burnout is a frighteningly real problem. Between state and district guidelines, paperwork, a lack of resources, students living in troubled homes, teachers carry a heavy load. As a result, teachers desperately need some way to relieve this stress in order to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy.
Informal art therapy has been something of a “magic pill” for me. Several years ago I became aware of doodling style drawing called Zentangle. Zentangle is an art from that grew from the doodles that many of us have always done on the corners of our papers. At it’s simplest, Zentangle involves using geometric shapes to create patterns. These patterns can range from very simple to complex, and can be simple black and white or colorful. It is possible to simply recreate or copy any of the multitude of official Zentangle patterns or create custom patterns. The beauty of this art form is that there is no pressure to make it look like something realistic; whatever you create is “right.”
Zentangle drawing can be very relaxing, allowing you to focus full on drawing the lines and letting go of other things that clutter your mind and cause stress. Really it is a form of meditation using the act of drawing lines to create focus rather than focusing on breathing.
The best way to understand what Zentangle is and how it can help is to try it out yourself. So work with me to create a simple Zantangle drawing by following along with this tutorial.
Materials: blank paper or a device with drawing function, black marker, pencil (optional)