I fell completely off the wagon. I became frazzled and operated solely on anxiety-based adrenaline. I might still be like that just a little. Bear with me as a catch the reigns.
The Suburban Girl had a few mini meltdowns and took an unexpected break.
But she got her fix. 😏
This might also translate as a post from me to me.
Like most, the reality of confirmed Coronavirus cases and deaths on the global, regional and local scale set my anxiety levels in overdrive.
Some time in either April or May, I went to the doctor for a low iron related check-up and it turned out that my blood pressure was abnormally high for a relatively healthy, ‘good body gyal’, ‘never had blood pressure problems before’ – woman.
You know why?
That time period was the first stages of spikes in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jamaica.
I was hyper-vigilant and everything bothered me. No wonder my blood pressure went up.
I was suffering anxiety attacks and half the time I wasn’t even realising it.
Can you imagine?
My doctor fixed me up where my iron issues were concerned and gave me a pep talk.
It was helpful. He suggested that I go back to activities that always helped me to relax and subtract the fun-sucking activities from my life. Easier said than done.
I did some introspection and spoke at length with friends and some family. I consumed material related to anxiety and coronavirus and how best to cope. I also returned to yoga and meditation. Additionally, I fell down the rabbit hole of new music “discovery”.
Music has been an amazing route to settling my nerves. I wish I could sing or play an instrument, though.
Those practices helped. But I was still on edge. I needed that one thing/practice that would help me to curb more of the anxiety I had.
I needed some vitamins!
I really did insert daily doses of actual vitamin C in my diet but there were other forms of ‘C‘ that I consciously took.
I resurrected my crayons and I printed a few pages from free colouring books on the interwebs.
Yes. I began to colour.
The ‘C‘ couldn’t have been anything else! 🤣
The Psychology of Vitamin C
Before even fully appreciating that there is a method to the madness of adults colouring, I knew that I felt less tension as I created colourful masterpieces out of pre-drawn images designed to capture colour.
Shout outs to the folks who create colouring books.
But yeah, with each stroke I made with my crayon on the paper, I felt the stress reduce and the anxiety monster on my back disappeared. My heart rate has returned to a non-anxiety induced rhythm. Colour choices triggered various emotions in me.
But then I did some content diving and found out that colouring is as helpful for adults as much as it helps children.
Granted, the benefits differ but one thing stands true, colouring forces you to focus on the image in front of you leaving all the other concerns at bay.
Have you ever seen an adult colouring sheet?! Those things have all the intricacies imaginable.
There’s a square in a circle and multiple circles of different sizes are in the square and then the multiple circles have warped looking shapes that all need to be coloured.
And if you’re anything like me, you take your time to ensure that every nook and cranny gets some colour on there. I also try to colour within the lines and I use the ‘socially accepted’ colours for particular objects on the paper.
Yes, I’m one of those annoying people.
And now that I think about it, I may have unconsciously triggered some anxiety in my life by being such an A-type personality. Oops.
Fun and joke aside, colouring has been one of my coping mechanisms in stressful situations. It not only takes my mind off the negative, it somehow gives me the clarity to better tackle problems and manage negative situations.
I just spend some time colouring a detailed image and then, bam! I feel a million times better and I can function without anxiety.
The ability to use shades and hues to contrast areas on paper weirdly gives me insight on how I colour my world. I feel like I regain control over my thoughts, emotions and actions when using crayons. It softens my anxiety.
But, I say all of that to say this – colouring as an adult has taught me life lessons that I already knew but needed reminders for.
These lessons are for me and anyone else like me. I don’t profess to be any kind of healer…I only think a lot and so I talk a lot.
Realisations while Colouring
Colouring is self-care, damnit!
1. Liken your crayons and colouring books to the act of adding light or colour back into your life. The paper is the canvas and it can represent you. Each colour stroke on paper is the ray of light that you need or want in life.
Sometimes, though, the crayons you use may be dark but that’s okay. Life can’t always be yellows, purples and greens. We have to take the darkness too.
2. Colouring takes your mind off troubles. It’s one of the greatest stress relievers. With all the intricate spots on paper to be coloured, you literally have no time to focus on anything other than your colouring and making sure that this sheet of paper is coloured well.
3. Though not a substitute for person to person therapy, colouring can help to complement whatever therapy you’ve received or are receiving. You have moments of deep thought and moments of questioning your life, like “why did I choose to colour this?” “Why are my crayons not sharpened?” “Why did I colour outside the lines?”.
You ask yourself these questions and then start to psychoanalyse. But, that’s me. Other people just colour because they want to.
4. Vitamin C and vitamin C don’t work independently of each other.
So while you boost your immune system and replenish those happy hormones by consciously talking a pill, drinking a beverage or eating certain foods, your crayons and colouring books work on the mind and your capacity to relax and reduce tension which in turn settles anxiety.
5. Take your damn vitamins!
Take the actual vitamins in whatever form and engage in an activity that acts as a vitamin. I use colouring but painting might be your vitamin C. It might be exercise, it might be whatever hobby you have. Just take your vitamins and watch it help in the transformation of your anxiety levels.
Since I began to colour and use up my vitamin C, my anxiety attacks have been minimal. I credit the work of the crayons and paper. I’m forever grateful for them.
What’s your vitamin C?
Signed, in colour
The Suburban Girl