So now that we’re adults, we have a lot of responsibility, and with responsibility comes stress. But can you remember back to the time when you had none?! What was your biggest concern? Being picked last on the dodgeball team? Your parents taping over your favorite recorded show on VHS? Or maybe going outside the lines while coloring? I think we can all admit we’d give anything to have these be the worst parts of our days now. We need to take some time to de-stress regularly, so that we don’t just combust and we get that report done by deadline to keep our jobs to keep our paychecks to then keep our shelters and put food on the table and clothes on our back….wow, better not F up.
This is the first of a new weekly bit I plan on posting with ways to wind it down.
I’m a pretty stressed out person 98% of the time. My Mom, being the ultimate Mom that she is, decided to introduce me to adult coloring. She came to visit one day with a bag full of coloring books and a brand new 96 pack of Crayola crayons. As a kid this would have been the best day ever; as an adult, I just gave her a quizzical look. “Coloring books? Don’t you know I don’t have time to COLOR??” She calmly stated she read about adult coloring being a great way to de-stress. I decided to put this theory to Google. And what do you know, there have actually been studies done that prove that coloring can have a de-stressing effect. According to Huffington Post, “when we focus on a particular activity, we focus on it and not on our worries. But it also ‘brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress.'”
Psychologist Antoni Martinez said [in the article for Huffington Post] “I recommend it as a relaxation technique. We can use it to enter into a more creative, freer state,” he assures. We can also use it to connect with how we feel, since depending on our mood we choose different colors or intensity. “I myself have practiced that. I recommend it in a quiet environment, even with chill music. Let the color and the lines flow.”
Reading this article alone made me instantly intrigued. In the bag of fun from my Mom, included one adult coloring book and a few kids’ coloring books [ya know, the one’s with big kittens and princesses].
The adult coloring book had pages a little more complex.
I tried these first and immediately found myself getting frustrated because the crayon tip was too big for such detailed designs. [yeah, I’m a perfectionist even when it comes to coloring] However, in the same HP article, cartoonist Antonio Fraguas stated this tip for beginners “Despite how highly stressed you may be, the most important thing is to not use pen markers with alcohol that go through the paper. The proper thing is to use crayons.”
So, to not lose my interest, I moved on to the kids coloring books. These looked way more my style.
I sat for TWO hours coloring. I’ve neverbeenso relaxed. When I was done, I felt like I had a new perspective on life.
I went ahead and invested in some colored pencils which make a huge difference in the adult coloring books, but the kids pages are fun too. And that’s the thing with coloring as an adult, you make the decisions! As long as you are feeling relaxed and pushing some troubles away for a few minutes or a few hours, do what works! You’re an adult, you can buy yourself whatever coloring book you want or browse the online sites that offer free printables! No parent permission needed! You want florals? Kids + Adults. Animals? Kids + Adults. Geometrics? Kids/Adults. Television? Adults. Drink? Adults. The coloring world is your oyster!
Sure, coloring isn’t going to fix all of life’s problems, but it may clear your mind to better focus and organize the important things. Give it 10 minutes and if it’s not working, pour a glass of wine and wind down.