Welcome to December, the most wonderful -- and stressful -- time of the year! I absolutely adore the holiday season, but all of the extra to-do items added to what's probably already a long list can make things a tad overwhelming. It might seem counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do when you feel overwhelmed is take a break and spend time on something that relaxes you.
For me, that thing is drawing and coloring. And I know I'm not alone. Just walk into your local bookstore, and you'll likely find shelves and shelves filled with coloring books. The coloring trend is going strong, and there's good reason for that -- it's incredibly soothing. Not only does coloring require your full attention, but it also gives you a great outlet for creativity, something that many adults don't have in their day-to-day lives.
I know that coloring doesn't completely replace mindfulness or meditation practices, but I've personally had such positive experiences with making time to color that I can't help but share with you some of the great benefits I've received. I've written about coloring before, but I've discovered something new that works in just the same way (and is perfect for this hectic time of
year!): the Colourfil app. It's basically an on-the-go coloring book that you download right to your phone. It's filled with amazingly beautiful illustrations that you can color in and, unlike a traditional coloring book, it has the added benefit of allowing you to play around with colors. Don't like the shade you picked? Just undo and try another one!
This has been an absolute lifesaver for my mental state over the past few weeks. Whenever I'm feeling super stressed, I open up the app, pick an image and go to town with those colors. (I've been super into the holiday images, but I also love the "Underwater" and "Bird" themes. So pretty!) I still love coloring in the traditional sense (pencil on paper is so satisfying!), but there's something wonderful about being able to color anywhere, at any time.
Not sure if coloring is really for you? (I know, I get it -- it's a bit of an odd hobby for an adult!) Check out some of the reasons why coloring could be the de-stressing exercise you need to help you get through the holiday season:
COLORING IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH.
Coloring might not be the only mindfulness practice you need in your life, but it does have some great health benefits. The act of coloring allows you to fine motor skills and also trains the brain to refocus, two things adults don't often spend enough time doing on a daily basis. As children, we do all kinds of things to practice find motor skills at school, but (depending on your job) as an adult, there aren't many opportunities to hone this important skill. Coloring helps you work on strengthening your fine motor skills and helps you improve focus, too.
COLORING MAKES MINDFULNESS EASIER.
For me, the most important benefit of coloring is that it really does quiet seem to quiet my overactive mind. Once you get into the coloring zone, whatever you're stressed or worried about really seems to take a backseat as you focus on choosing colors and filling in the blank spaces with something beautiful. Back when I was awaiting my surgery last fall, I spent a lot of time coloring to distract myself from worrying about the upcoming procedure, and it really helped. Since then, I've turned to coloring over and over again when I'm particularly stressed and I've found that coloring, for me, is a kind of meditation that helps me stay in the moment (and out of my worrying mind!).
COLORING ALLOWS YOU TO BE CREATIVE.
Even if you're fortunate enough to work in a creative field, as an adult you probably don't have as much time as you'd like to explore true, un-work-related creativity. Coloring is one of the best ways to explore the creative side of yourself. Whether you pick up pencils, make a move for the markers, or open up an app like Colourfil, when you're coloring, you have the opportunity to play with color and create something beautiful (without too much mental effort). And you don't have to be "creative" to do it. Anyone can do it! And, if you use an app, you don't even have to have coloring materials!
COLORING GIVES YOU A PRODUCTIVE VIBE.
The biggest struggle I have with meditation and mindfulness is that sometimes I feel like I'm doing nothing, and that can be really challenging for me. I often feel like I should be doing something productive, even when I'm supposed to be relaxing. That's why, for me, coloring is such a great activity. It might not actually be productive, but it feels like I'm accomplishing something, even as I'm calming my mind and staying in the moment. That productive vibe -- and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you've finished coloring a page -- is one of the reasons I find coloring particularly relaxing when I'm overwhelmed with a lengthy to-do list.
As I mentioned, coloring can't completely take the place of meditation or other mindfulness exercises, but I've personally found a lot of the same benefits -- and I've found that I'm a lot more likely to color than I am to meditate. The fact that I'll actually do (and enjoy!) it is enough for me to make coloring my go-to calming exercise. If it's been awhile since you've colored, give it a try. You might be surprised by how relaxing and fun it is!
This post was brought to you by Colourfil, the free, easy to use digital colouring book for your iPhone and iPad! Create inspirational and beautiful artwork – you will be amazed at how creative you can be with Colourfil. All illustrations are hand drawn in the UK by our own team of award winning designers! Download now: https://ow.ly/qfxd306wmWU