Crayon Care

Last month, Senior News: The 50-plus life on the North Coast published another brief piece I wrote about how coloring is respite. Read the longer version below, or the shorter one here. Remember to leave a comment if you’d like. I’d love to know if you’ve had similar results with coloring.

Crayon Care
by Karenna Wright

On high-stress caregiving days, I’d color. You know—with crayons—just like when we were kids. Since my caregiving days, coloring has made a strong comeback.

Adult coloring books have been around since the 1960s, but here I was wanting to color in 2007, and grown-up themed coloring books were difficult to find. But find one I did—a mandala coloring book!

0 Mandala Colored by Me

Mandala of masks, colored by me. Photo by Ted Pease.

A mandala is simply a complex drawing of geometric shapes inside a circle. Whether you choose a mandala or any of the themed books you see everywhere (even the grocery store), coloring has the power to promote inner peace, relieve stress, relax you, improve creativity, stabilize the body’s energies, and help you heal.

When you’re serious about de-stressing, break out the Crayolas. It’s respite you can easily access anywhere, anytime. Here’s how it works:

  • Get a coloring book or print off a coloring page from the internet. Lots of free pages are available online. You can also buy greeting cards and postcards to color, as well as journals and posters. Anything you want to color works.
  • Use whatever medium you like, or a combination. Crayons, markers, colored pencils, chalk, highlighters, felt pens, poster paints are great choices. I have crayons and markers in metallic shades, and some that contain glitter for when I feel flamboyant.
  • The process is what’s important. Color freely. Make a purple lion if you want. You’re coloring for you, and you can use any colors that come to mind. Use only shades of blue or use all 120 colors from your pack. This is your coloring book, and you don’t have to show it to anyone, or you could show it to everyone. Sometimes I’ll tear out a finished page and put it on my refrigerator, like I did with my daughter’s work when she was small.
  • As you color, your mind automatically focuses, slows down, quiets, and releases anxiety and fear. Ahhhhh!

I still color in my mandala book, and I’ve added a travel coloring book and a journal with pages for coloring and pages for writing.

Back when I was caregiving for my husband, who had dementia and has since died, coloring helped me find the place where difficult caregiving experiences were neutralized, the place where chaos became order. It gave me breathing space.

When was the last time you sat down to color? Why not start now? Here are a couple of free pages to get you start

ed (both from http://www.pinterest.com):

0 Animal Coloring Page

0 Breathe Coloring Page

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