The holiday season is here, can you believe it? Are you ready? I’m definitely not…but then, I’m usually not ready. I hear for some, the holidays are magical and wonderful. I have no idea who those people are, but I’m guessing they’re aliens. Or have no responsibilities. Children. They’re probably children.
For most of us, though, the holidays are stressful. Kids are out of school, family descends (or, alternately, we invade the homes of relatives), holiday shopping (don’t get me started—Amazon is my friend), cooking, cleaning…it’s an endless list. So how do we unwind with all that going on? Some of us exercise, some of us eat (any of you chocoholics like me?), some of us journal, or spend obscene amounts of money on shoes, and some of us sleep. And in the past year, a lot of adults have been turning to coloring.
Yes, coloring. Believe it or not, coloring gives us an allotted time to zone out from obligations, to help us think of nothing more than what color we’re going to use to fill in which space. I don’t know about you, but most days, I’m ready to stop adulting by 10 AM. Sometimes earlier.
You might be wondering why I’m talking about stress. Well, one reason is because my education and training is in psychology, specifically clinical psychology. That just means that I was trained to do therapy with clients. One of the issues we were taught to help people with was stress. If left unchecked, stress can cause all sorts of problems in our lives—and not just mental problems. Stress can become really serious if we don’t learn how to cope with it in healthy ways. By healthy, I mean not drinking, smoking, or spending all your hard earned cash on shoes (actually, I’ve almost convinced my husband that spending an obscene amount of money on shoes is healthy, so don’t tell him otherwise, ‘kay?).
Psychologists often suggest exercise, journaling, and meditation for stress relief. We focus on repetitive motion (this will come back later in this post) during the exercise itself, which puts us in the moment. There’s a reason the twelve-step programs say to “Take one day at a time.” If we’re in the present, we cannot be focused on the past (e.g., regrets) or the future (e.g., fears, doubts, and anxiety). Additionally, exercise releases endorphins which are nature’s opiates (that means they make us feel good, or so I hear). So even after the movement is over, you get benefits.
With journaling, we write our emotions, thoughts, and ideas down. If we’re angry at someone, we might write a letter to them, explaining our anger (and NOT send it). It’s the equivalent of talking to someone to vent, but without needing another person. We also can find that when we write our thoughts and feelings out on paper, solutions to problems suddenly seem clear. Meditation is repetitive, just like exercise, except that instead of a body movement, the repetition is breathing. Like exercise, meditation helps us hold on to the present.
So why has coloring caught on so strong for stress relief? Because like exercise and meditation, coloring is an in-the-moment, repetitive action. Some people have suggested the activity helps us revisit our childhood, and if I were to choose between paying bills or coloring…well, hand me a pack of Crayolas.
Seriously, though, art has been my go-to stress relief for years. I was a studio art minor in college, before I surrendered it to the big, bad, soul-sucking thing we call grad school in order to get that fancy graduate degree. Luckily, I got back to it, thanks to writing colleagues who needed inspirational covers for their works in progress. If Amazon is my friend, then Photoshop is an intimate partner…and not just because my selfies suddenly look great.
But I digress. This post is about stress, and how to relieve it. So, what are some ways you relieve your stress? Have you tried anything in the past that just did not work, no matter how many people told you it would (*cough* jogging *cough*)?
Author Bio: Noelle Pierce is the alter ego of Elizabeth Bank (that’s one Bank, not many Banks). Noelle was born because, while Liz would adore being mistaken for a hot, blonde, Hollywood starlet, she is not, in fact, said actress. Therefore, the real name had to disappear for fiction, unless Google searchers were willing to trudge through fifteen pages of blonde bombshell first. Regardless of the name she uses, she loves the written word, the painted canvas, shoes, understanding behavior, and shoes. And the city. Please don’t ever suggest a camping trip to her, unless it involves a cabin, fireplace, and/or central air.
- Day 1: Welcome and Christmas Expectations
- Day 2: Christmas at my House
- Day 3: Giving Tuesday
- Day 4: Pizza and Poker/Holiday Recipe Exchange
- Day 5: Little Lynnie’s Christmas Crackers
- Day 6: Blue Christmas
- Day 7: Take your Child to the Bookstore
- Day 8: St. Knickerless Day
- Day 9: Not so Traditional Holiday Traditions
- Day 10: Holiday Sing-a-long
- Day 11: Jolly Old Mrs. Claus ( Ana’s Spoons)
- Day 12: Congratulations to winners so far
- Day 12A: Christmas Kisses
- Day 13: Writing over the holidays
- Day 14: White Elephant
- Day 15: Christmas in Ireland
- Day 16: Christmas with her Horse
- Day 17: Christmas in Translation
- Day 18: Sex Toy Story 3
- Day 19: Second (First) Christmas
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