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  • Writer's pictureLynn Cukaj

Autumn: A Time to Reboot

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

By Lynn Cukaj, ATR-BC, MHC-LP

Art Therapy for Children, Teenagers and Adults

Maintaining a steady mood and motivation throughout the year is a vital endeavor, particularly during the transition from summer to fall. As the days grow shorter and the weather turns colder, it's not uncommon to experience heightened emotions, sometimes leaning towards the negative spectrum. The decrease in sunlight can impact our internal clock and affect serotonin and melatonin levels, potentially leading to feelings of depression. To navigate these seasonal shifts and stay balanced, taking a step back, engaging in mindful self-reflection, and rebooting becomes essential.

During the approaching winter months, stress and anxiety may also emerge, especially with the holiday season on the horizon. This makes it all the more crucial to adopt practices that can help us regain our center and clarity. One such powerful tool is Art Therapy which enables us to express ourselves creatively, fostering emotional resilience and stability throughout the year.

Drawing inspiration from the transformations of autumn, let us observe how trees rejuvenate. Just as trees go through the process of photosynthesis to conserve energy for the winter, we can learn from their wisdom in saving our own mental and emotional energy during challenging times. In fall, as the trees prepare for winter, they gracefully shed their leaves, no longer needing to produce glucose through photosynthesis. The fading chlorophyll reveals a stunning display of vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows, marking the gradual retention of energy.

Much like the trees, our emotional transformations and healing are not abrupt but rather a gradual process. As we engage in Art Therapy and delve into our creative pursuits, we too shed the burdens that no longer serve us, revealing the beautiful hues of our own emotions and experiences. This metamorphosis allows us to recharge, refocus our minds, and embrace a more mindful and healthy lifestyle, navigating life's seasonal shifts with grace and resilience.

So, let us take inspiration from nature's ever-changing splendor, and through Art Therapy, discover the power to keep our mood and motivation steady throughout the year, fostering our own journey of rejuvenation and personal growth.

Applying the Wisdom of Trees to Our Lives: Embracing Resilience through Art

In the journey of life, learning to conserve our energy and pace ourselves becomes crucial. As challenges arise at different moments, being prepared to navigate demanding situations empowers us to tackle life's marathon with grace. To achieve this, we must set goals, prioritize self-care, practice mindfulness, and infuse creativity into our daily lives. Embracing creativity, particularly through Art Therapy, proves to be an effective non-verbal way to cope with stress and anxiety, benefiting both adults and children. The early adoption of Art Therapy equips children and adolescents with invaluable coping mechanisms, enabling them to gracefully handle stressors as they arise.

Stressors in our lives can stem from both internal and external factors, much like the changing colors of leaves influenced by weather and sunlight. These external environmental factors can impact our core and disrupt our inner balance. However, we can draw inspiration from the resilience of trees. Trees do not wither and die; instead, they adapt to their surroundings, preserving their energy for when they need it most during warmer months and longer days. Similarly, we can embrace our natural resilience, preparing ourselves for the future by strengthening our coping skills, managing our thoughts, and supporting one another in this journey.

Art Activity: Embracing our Natural Colors

In this Art Activity, we contemplate the diversity of leaves during this season. Just as leaves display an array of vibrant and subtle hues, we too experience moments of vibrancy and subtlety in our lives. Through this artistic process, we gain insights into our identity and the impact of our surroundings on our emotional state. We are encouraged to embrace change as an opportunity for self-reflection, preserving our energy, and finding stress relief.

The outcome of this activity is a leaf design that symbolizes our resilience and capacity to adapt, just like the trees in nature. By tracing a fallen leaf and creatively designing it with colors that resonate with our true selves, we delve into self-discovery and self-expression. In doing so, we uncover the vivid and bright colors within us that have been there all along.


1. Find a fallen leaf outside and trace it on a sheet of paper. You can also do a “leaf rubbing” where you place a leaf under a piece of paper and turn a crayon on its side to carefully rub over the leaf with some pressure. Alternatively, you can download and print the Leaf Template (below).

Creative Expressions Leaf Template
Download PDF • 1.03MB

2. Once you have your trace ready, design the leaf using colors that you believe represent you and your life.

3. Once your leaf is completed you can write a word(s) inside or around the leaf that came up for you during the process of designing your leaf.

4. Use this process as a reminder that change is an opportunity to preserve energy, offer self-reflection, and provide stress-relief.


For more therapeutic activities and resources on how to incorporate Art Therapy into your life, read more from Lynn's Creative Expressions Blog.

Learn more about Art Therapy and Lynn Cukaj, Board Certified Art Therapist here:


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