Can you remember the last time you coloured in a colouring book? Before the pandemic, I had probably only coloured a handful of times in adolescence and adulthood. In my mind, it was something I had outgrown. Even after I learned about the stress relief benefits associated with colouring, and though I enjoyed it the few times I tried it, I never really made colouring a habit.
That is, until 2020. Over the years, I had learned to manage my anxiety and had it under control with the help of my family and therapist. But once COVID-19 struck, I realised that maintaining control was going to require me to adopt new habits.
Many people recommend reading a book before bed to wind down and prepare for a good night's sleep, but some nights my anxiety was so high I couldn't concentrate or process what I was reading. My mind would race 1,000 miles per minute, and I'd find myself reading without really reading. So, I decided to try colouring before bed, and let me tell you — I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is it relaxing, but it's also something I look forward to. I turn on my essential oil diffuser, put my phone on Do Not Disturb mode, turn on some music, and begin colouring without worrying about the end result. I've learned to simply enjoy the process.
Now I end my day with a sense of tranquility. The quality of my sleep has improved, and as a result, my anxiety has decreased. If I begin to feel stressed or anxious during the day, I give myself about 10 minutes of colouring to help me relax. I even gifted my best friend a colouring book for her birthday because I'm a true believer in the positive effects it can have on your mind. In addition to the mental health benefits, it's also sparked my creativity, making it easier for me to think of new ideas.
Colouring has been shown to help ease stress and promote relaxation, at least in the short term. There's a reason adult colouring books have become so popular! But even if colouring isn't your thing, I encourage you to find a creative outlet you enjoy. Don't worry about whether you're good at it or not, and simply give yourself the chance to explore. Your mind will thank you for it.