How DIY Fall Decor Leads to Better Mental Health

It’s officially spooky season! A time for scary movies, comfy sweaters (despite the Texas humidity), and pumpkin-flavored everything. Whether it’s carving pumpkins with friends and family , or cutting out spider webs in elementary school classes, taking time to make decorations has been a staple in getting into the fall spirit.

Story by Rheagan Kearney

Video by Lynn Huynh

As college students without much money, time or space, it may seem impossible to fully jump into the season, but with these Do-It-Yourself décor projects a personalized fall-inspired home is not only well within reach, but encouraged.

With the midterm exams and midterm elections approaching, tensions are high, classes are rough and even if it seems impossible to fathom, finding the time to DIY is a form of self care.

Lately, it seems as if there has yet to be a break from troubling political news. The effects of the news can be seen all over social media and locally through the politically-charged demonstrations in reaction to the recent congressional hearings This overload has a strong correlation to the common media-induced mental fatigue among Americans. Pew Research Center reports, “[almost] seven-in-ten Americans (68 percent feel worn out by the amount of news there is these days.” Management professor at the University of California at Davis, Kimberly Elsbach, says forgoing a break “exhausts your cognitive capacity and you’re not able to make the creative connections you can if your brain is more rested.”

We need young, creative minds to learn and push progressive change. Whether it be studying for a test or educating others on voter issues, taking a well-deserved break is important and using that break to craft is even more beneficial.

Recent studies have tested the effects of art therapy on this epidemic of mental fatigue. A study performed by Girija Kaimal evaluated the cortisol levels—a stress indicator— of thirty adults before and after 45 minutes of crafting. The study reports that 75 percent of the participants experienced decreased stress levels.. At the end of the study, participants expressed “feeling relaxed, learning something new about one's self, feeling free from constraints, and feeling a sense of flow/losing themselves in the work.”

Studies like these prove the effectiveness of art therapy in relation to reduced stress levels, therefore making it a low cost and efficient form of therapy or meditation you can do in the comfort of your own home. Even better, after following this DIY décor tutorial, you’ll have personalized decorations to keep you in the cozy fall spirit and remind you to relax.

Each of these suggested crafts are quick, easy and affordable. All supplies needed can be found at any local dollar store. These crafts are also sustainable for small spaces, namely the styrofoam pumpkins which are small and odorless so you don’t have to worry roommates and neighbors with the rotting pumpkin smell. These festive art projects are also great for gatherings.

Having a DIY night with friends is a great way to unwind, catch up and share your personal style. The best part about making your own crafts is that you can tailor it to your own liking. Don’t be afraid to stray from the traditional oranges and black of Halloween or the warm fall tones. This is a project and a moment in time when you have complete control of what you want to see and how that represents you. Bring out the bright colors, the muted undertones, the glitter and the gore you love to make your space more personal to you.

Happy DIY-ing!