When I am blocked, when I am whining about not having time for art, when I am uninspired, when I am bored, when I am agitated, when I need time alone...all of these and more signal the need to make a page in my sketchbook.
When I haven't had time to make art for a while, I will start with just staining and making marks on a few pages, just to get going. It is just getting rid of the intimidating white page, and making a rich background for later. The other day I did ten pages.
Making backgrounds is very low stress and relaxing. I use drawing inks. Usually I make a random pattern, let the ink soak in a bit, and then go over with a wash. The ink sometimes soaks through to the other side. I use both sides of my papers, and I like to be painterly in how the ink is used.
The next day I have backgrounds ready and instead of trying to think of what to draw or paint, I need only respond to what is already on the paper, which is much less intimidating.
What do you do to break your blocks? Do you do art for stress relief? Write about it in the comments!