Life normally has bits of stress thrown into our daily lives. The past few months have seen all those bits compounded into one giant ball of stress. While thinking about the personal need to detox, one of my fellow travel writers sent me a copy of her new coloring book. It was just what I needed to get my focus back.
Coloring therapy is not new to me, but others may not realize the power of picking up box of colored pencils. When our daughter was born, I began working from home part time with my priority of taking care of her full time. Like many parents, there came the time to teach basic coloring and drawing skills. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed coloring, since I never really did much as a kid. It was around this time we realized our daughter had some issues controlling her emotional responses and coloring therapy was one method suggested for helping her calm down.
While coloring therapy didn’t hold my daughter’s interest, it did help me deal with frustration and stress. Adult coloring books, with more elaborate and interesting designs came on the market and I traded in my Crayolas for colored pencils. No offense Sesame Street coloring book. I found joy in the creativity and and freedom of expression, something that didn’t fit into my typical routine. Moving to a new house and shifting work priorities soon saw my books packed up and put away for years.
Today, with my head fogged from everything going on around me, I pulled out the box of pencils. Points sharpened, coffee at the ready, I opened the Road Attractions coloring book and began to choose colors. The world melted away briefly as the colors shaded shapes. My whole focus intently on what I was doing. No distractions from social media, not thinking about which articles I needed to be working on, nor even what was going on around me. Come to think of it, I don’t even know how long I was sitting there, scribbling away.
So, why should you pick up a coloring book and some crayons or pencils? Isn’t that an activity for kids? Here’s the thing: kids color for fun. It’s a purely creative outlet. They can cast Big Bird in shades of blue, green, or pink instead of his usual yellow. This is a great exercise for adults, as out daily lives are filled with controls on what is right, what needs to be done in a specific way for work, etc. When you open that box of pencils, nobody is telling you which color to choose. You don’t have to hold up the picture and ask, somebody “Is this good?” It’s purely yours to create.
Another benefit of coloring, much like meditation or yoga, is containing your focus. When you’re coloring the world melts away. Find a quiet place, or somewhere comfortable, and give it all your attention. It’s just your and the page. Some people may be uber-focused on how neatly they can color, while others may wander off and add more lines to create something new. It’s all up to you and nobody else. What you do when finished with a little masterpiece is also up to you. Leave it in the book, recycle it, or give it to somebody and put a smile on their face.
Choice. A benefit I didn’t consciously think about while coloring, was the freedom of choice. In my page of roadside attractions, there are three figures to color. The elephant is pink because I’ve seen one or two painted in that eye-catching shade. The viking I looked up online for inspiration, and the otter. Well, I just had fun with all sorts of colors. Coloring therapy offers you the choice of what you want to color and in what medium. I have a very detailed and beautiful ocean themed book, but I’ve had equal joy is coming up with new colors for Bert and Ernie in my daughter’s Sesame Street book. Maybe it’s time to dig it out of her closet and find some crayons.
Find what you enjoy and get to it. No judgment, freedom of choice, and a calming activity to draw yourself out of the stress of daily life. If you’d like to read more about the Roadside Attraction coloring book, click herhttps://wagonpilot.com/roadside-attractions-adult-coloring-book/e.