For my family, Christmas morning means spending time at my parents’ house with the living room floor full presents and piles of wrapping paper as far as the eye can see. There is never a shortage of gifts, laughs and fun.
Last year, besides clothing and items for my home, my mother bought me an adult coloring book and a pack of colored pencils.
Because I raised three girls, I spent many hours laying on the living room floor, coloring in countless cartoon coloring books. As I would be concentrating on making my picture full of different vibrant colors, my daughters would be scribbling and making master pieces of their own. It was one of our favorite winter time activities and brings back fond memories.
Receiving a coloring book as an adult wasn’t something that I had expected. I’ve seen these adult coloring books in several mail order catalogs, as well as on the shelves at book stores. They had suddenly grown in popularity and now even I had one.
Later that week, after taking down my Christmas tree and other holiday decorations, I sat down and tried my hand at coloring. Not having very much time on my hands, I was unable to fully enjoy the activity and the book was put back on the shelf where it was forgotten.
Several months later, as I was collecting my belongings and packing for my move, I stumbled across my coloring book and pencils that I had tucked away. I immediately placed both items into one of my moving boxes, unaware at the time how important they would soon become.
After moving hundreds of miles away and finally getting settled into new surroundings, I found myself anxious with having nothing to release my energy with. I was continuing to run daily but once I ran out of things to do, I felt I still needed something more.
One day while sipping a cup of coffee, I picked up my coloring book and pencils and sat down at the table. I had been feeling extremely anxious that day due to no job and loneliness and wanted to keep my mind off of my racing thoughts. Before I knew it, I began pouring my imagination onto the page, filling one of the pictures with every color imaginable. After several minutes I realized that I was feeling better. Using these pencils to make the picture come to life was completely taking my mind off of everything else. I continued coloring until my fiancee came home, when I proudly showed him my art work like a child returning home from a busy day at school.
Soon my coloring book became my go-to item and was placed in a prominent place in my apartment for easy access. During days when I was struggling, I would dive into a picture and it always made me feel better. On that Christmas morning, I had no idea just how important this small gift would become to me and help me with my anxiety.
Although this may sound silly to some, I highly recommend purchasing an adult coloring book to anyone suffering from anxiety. This small item helped me in leaps and bounds and instead of turning to medication to calm my mind, it became my relaxing agent.
For those others out there looking for a way to release their racing minds—coloring books are an inexpensive thing to try. If you aren’t into using crayons or colored pencils as an adult, find something else that keeps your mind and hands busy like knitting, painting, walking or other physical activities.
But for those like me that enjoy creativity, get those pencils out and dive right into a coloring book and watch the masterpieces you are able to make while calming your mind.
Turn off your phone, put some music on and color with your heart.
Author: Jill Carr
Image: Gaelle Marcel/Unsplash
Editor: Katarina Tavčar