I’ve never considered myself an “artistic” person. In fact, I’ve gone so far as to declare myself the exact opposite- that is, void of any creative talent. As early on as elementary school, activities that required the use of markers or construction paper were a source of serious dread. To this day, I avoid creative projects like the plague.
But it’s safe to say, dear readers, that in the past few days I’ve undergone a bit of a transformation (just in time for the new year, no less). Last week, one of my mom’s friends gifted me Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden, a coloring book in the form of 20 postcards. Given the recent hype about the benefits of coloring, I was intrigued enough to set my “I am not artistic” preconceptions aside. So late one night, while I was supposed to be studying for a history test, I cracked open my new coloring book and got to work. You’ll never guess what happened next. (Or maybe you will. Just try to act surprised either way, okay?).
Within minutes of putting pencil to paper, I noticed a change. After days of intense stress, my shoulders relaxed, and I felt my eyebrows release from their knit-together position. Extraneous thoughts slipped from my mind and I was one hundred-percent “in the zone.” The experience reminded me of being in yoga class, only without the sweaty mat and funky contortions. Needless to say, I was hooked.
It’s been a week since that first experience, and coloring is now part of my daily routine. Every evening, I spend about thirty minutes alone with my book. Sometimes I put a podcast on, but most of the I sit in silence. It is an amazing way to unwind and reconnect with your inner self after a long day.
I am so happy to have stumbled upon coloring. Not only is the practice a source of stress relief, but it also allows me to embrace creativity on my own terms. Because all of the images are pre-drawn, all I have to do is fill in the blanks. I get to enjoy the artistic processes I enjoy, such as creating color schemes, without the pressure of drawing the perfect gazebo. The results of this are tangible: In just a few short days, I already notice a difference in my level of inspiration. Whereas last week I was feeling rundown and at a loss for ideas, now I’m practically jumping with creative enthusiasm. A lot of my ideas center around this blog, so you will hopefully be enjoying the results within the next few weeks.
Now that I’m coloring daily, it’s only a matter of time before I finish my little book. Luckily, I’ve already got several replacements picked out for when my supply needs replenishing. First on my Amazon wish list? The Mindfulness Coloring Book and The Affirmations Coloring Book, both of which use the coloring to promote self-care and internal reflection.
And who, my friends, doesn’t need a little more of that?
Have you tried “adult coloring” before? If not, I seriously encourage you to give it a go. Be sure to share you reactions/experiences in the comments!