In the last year I’ve been consciously increasing my level of self-care. Putting yourself first is something that intellectually I’ve believed in but not put enough focus on in the busyness of day to day living and taking care of all of those around me.
As a result of my increased focus on self-care, my life feels more sane and balanced. This is despite my week being more full than ever teaching parenting classes and working with private clients, in addition to homeschooling five children and my other responsibilities.
I continue to look for ways to increase my self-nurturing, and when someone mentioned the idea of coloring books for adults, I was intrigued. Coloring has been found to help people unwind, destress and get into a meditative state that accesses the right side of the brain. I frequently attach my shaded doodles to whatever scrap of paper happens to be in front of me when I’m on the phone so coloring in detailed artistic scenes sounded enjoyable to me.
It’s interesting to me that coloring for adults has become so popular and yet for children there are many voices who maintain that coloring blocks creativity! While telling a child what and how to color can be constraining, letting him color as he wants isn’t the same thing. I see it as a nice way to be quietly mindful and focused on what is in front of you without having your mind racing with thoughts about other things you need to do. Most kids can benefit from some time to calm down and do a focused activity just as much as adults.
My kids have been watching me color three different pages of mandalas and it’s piquing their interest to do something similar. This morning ds8 told me it looked fun and when I asked if it looked like something he would enjoy, he nodded with an eager smile. I’ll keep my eyes open for something detailed but simpler than what they have for adults.
I purchased a basic set of colored pencils but these didn’t give a strong enough color for me to feel satisfied with the result. Then I got a set of markers and colored pens, and so far like the colored pens best. The markers would be great if the tip was finer. Ideally I’d like a wide range of colors to use but only the artist quality colored pencil sets had that, and I’m not yet ready to invest $100 on them!
This is an inexpensive activity that can take as much or as little time as you have, and I’m enjoying it. It’s gratifying that instead of my scratching covering little scraps of paper, I end up with lovely pictures instead.
The only downside I can think of is if you feel pressured to finish a picture in one setting and then push yourself to spend more time than you have available to complete it. But that’s the same issue that comes up with many other hobbies and activities.