Scrapbooking as Therapy

by | Scrapbooking Ideas | 27 comments

Many people talk about scrapbooking as a creative outlet that is therapeutic.

Jennifer Larson

True, the creativity allows us to decompress after a busy day, but we can also use our scrapbooks to help us make sense of our lives a little bit more directly.In particular, I use my scrapbooks periodically to change my attitude toward the stressful things in life, which right now involves parenting two young boys.

Here’s how you can do the same:

1. Approach your schedule with humor on a page.

One summer I double booked my boys for activities, so I spent a couple weeks driving back and forth for a few hours. When I went over the schedule with the boys, I always ended by saying, “And then Mommy collapses.” However, they heard me say, “And then Mommy claps.” To commemorate the schedule so that I would never do this again, I made this LO, including the boys’ funny misheard word. I now laugh at that chaos.

2. Say what you really want to say on a page.

Some things we feel very strongly about, but for some reason we can’t say them. It will make you feel better if you put it on a page! Here I took a typical competitive conversation my boys had and put it on a page with what I feel like saying when they bicker. (I never would actually say it to them, mainly because it always annoyed me hearing it growing up!)

3. Look at something difficult in the best light possible and make those the only words on the page.

My boys’ sibling rivalry increases my blood pressure. After a particularly squabbling week, I sat down with this picture I loved and gave it the title “Work in Progress” to remind me that my lessons now will show up eventually-I hope!

4. Scrap that busy, chaotic, absolutely insane schedule you have

Obviously I didn’t pay attention the first time I overbooked my boys, because I did it again this spring. I again scrapped our crazy schedule, this time with a more pointed reminder to myself that just because I can fit it all in, doesn’t mean that I should. Hopefully the lesson will stick now.

Thank you for reading some of my suggestions for scrapbooking the craziness to make something better out of it. I hope these methods will help you make sense of the chaos when life is most stressful.

Jennifer Larson is a high school English teacher, Maine native and current Minnesotan, wife to the biggest Star Wars fan in history, slightly tired mother to two boys (the second and third biggest Star Wars fans), and a fan of mysteries and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Jennifer started making cards in 1999 but became enamored with scrapbooking after attending a class at a local scrapbook store. She describes her style as linear but whimsical. Jennifer designs for Ella Publishing, Sketch Support, and GCD Studios. Her blog is Midwest Scrapgarden and she is on Twitter and Pinterest as Buffyfanlarson.


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  1. grannymike

    “And then Mommy claps.” I love that. Seeing the humor in what life brings us is each day is what helps us maintain our sanity and cherish the moments. Scrapping then helps us remember those moments through the years. Thanks so much for sharing. I really enjoyed your article and your layouts.

    • Jennifer Larson

      Thank you! They truly made me smile when I needed to.

  2. Irma Peredne

    I love Jennifer’s ‘slice of life’ scrapbook pages, and it is precisely what I aim to capture in my work – the real, every day ordinary, but extraordinary life.

  3. Cindy

    I love the ‘Life is Unfair’ page! The conversation bubbles are very cute. To try to capture some of my kids’ funny conversations when I’m on the go, I type stuff up on my phone and send it to myself for later.

    • Jennifer Larson

      That’s a great idea–I’ll have to remember that!

  4. Barbara

    I will confess that I didn’t get the whole “journaling thing” until fairly recently. But, oh, my now, it seems that I can’t be stopped. And, some of my favorite pages have been great therapy, to write out what had been brewing in my soul and make something rather lovely about it.

  5. Carolyn

    Thanks Jennifer for this post. I too have 2 “wild” boys and though I love them dearly their bickering makes my blood pressure rise. Love your ideas for adding some humor to everyday challenges

  6. Kay

    Jennifer, this is exactly where I’ve been and now am watching my son and daughter-in-law struggling “to get through” the craziness. I don’t know how I did it 30 years ago! And I don’t know how young parents do it today!!
    Hang in there – they do grow up eventually!

  7. Terra

    “And then Mommy claps” made me giggle out loud. Such a great reminder that humor can be used to relieve the stress of everyday parenting situations. Great way to add a personal touch to your pages and cherish the everyday.

  8. Becky

    I have used scrapbooking as therapy on more than one occasion. Somehow creating something pretty on a scrapbook page out of something that has been chaos helps me process and work through and then it is preserved, hopefully to remind me later and for my kids to see when they are older.

  9. Mary

    jennifer – i absolutely love your wry sense of humor:) the layout ‘and then mommy claps’ is simply fabulous – what a classic! lol:) i am also a slightly tired mom of two boys so i can relate to your pages – thank you!

    mary (maryboys)

  10. photochic

    I love your pages, Jennifer! I love the approach to different situations that would overwise not be scrapped!

  11. PatriciaD

    I love your story…how funny to do it…again!! Been there myself. And though you may not like the “Life isn’t fair” thing (and truthfully I don’t either) I still said it to my foster kiddies because life hadn’t been fair to them so they were gonna have to make of it what it would be for them. I didn’t want them to have a pie in the sky outlook and then wonder what had happened when they got to old age. Just my thoughts. Love your article.

  12. Jen Evangelista

    Love this inspiration. I’ve blogged my crazy days a few time. I need to transfer those posts to pages :)… although it makes me tired just reading about it, hehe.

    • Jennifer Larson

      I have to say that scrapping about these stressful things made me less tired and more energized–I was laughing about them! Just sayin’. 😉

  13. Ursula

    Wow Jennifer, you really hit that nail squarely on its proverbial head. Very astute observations, not to mention fun pages.

  14. quietangelsb

    I love the great reminders that your pages serve and capture.

  15. Suzanne

    We, moms, never learn, right? Hahaha! And thanks for reminding me that even the worst experiences, the worst days deserve a layout or two. 😉

  16. Jamie Q

    Love your pages and your humor! I have also documented my overscheduled life … partly because I survived it and party so I would remember not to do it again! 3 kids with a total of 8 activities, oh and I was PTA President just for giggles!

  17. Lynea Ford

    Great examples and subject. I tend to scrap happy stuff and avoid the more difficult subjects because they are harder to deal with. I like your examples because they show me ways to keep things light but honest.

  18. DoggiNo

    I find that I mostly do the opposite .. scrap relaxing pages, calm and tranquility, nature, etc. to remind me that life is not just work and chaos but also moments of bliss.
    A while back I even used a page as a reminder to my dear hubby about a DIY project that he had been pushing forward for months and it worked ! He finished it the day before yesterday !

  19. Nicky H

    I love this article and it’s so timely for me. My husband is working out of town, and I also have 2 boys. They both have scouts and now soccer, so our schedules are crazy and I often collapse at the end of the day. Also, we seem to have more sibling rivalry than usual since Dad left. So, yeah, I’ll be taking these suggestions to heart!

  20. Cynthia Miller

    FABulous pages! How’s this for therapy? I once took my laptop to a full day spa retreat, and finished two pages between treatments! So calming! And much better than hanging out at the mall!

  21. Lindsay

    I love the way you mix handwritten letters with the scrapbooking paper letters (CoLAPSes)! So cute!

    I like that you use scrapping as a way to share how stressed out you were at certain points, but that it was worth it.

  22. Margot/NZ

    Thanks for this post – I could probably have used it when I was a stressed out at-home- mother. I realise I haven’t learned a lot from that phase of my life because I am often a stressed out empty-nester. I must make a page about this!

  23. Din T

    I often find that scrapbooking is restful and whatever I scrapbook, whether is is hard things or easier memories, I can look through the photos and be thankful.



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