Tag Archives: relax

Color Your Brain Happy

coloring page Tibetan

When we talk about good health, we talk a lot about food, physical activity and sometimes even sleep habits.

We might toss around ideas about stress reduction and exercising our brains to maintain faculties and ward off diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Perhaps you’ve also heard the current conversations on the downside of chaotic lifestyles that keep us constantly on the go.

For many of us, daily life is busy – too busy. And this can contribute to poor habits around diet, exercise, sleep, stress and brain health. Worse, because a lot of us relax by flipping on a screen, we’re further contributing to some of the trouble around sleep and stress.

What to do? My guess is you’ve caught wind of the coloring book trend for adults… if not, just know that over the past year, stores have increasingly carried coloring books full of intricate designs, and grown ups are raving about the loveliness of losing themselves in the hobby.

For a few months now, I’ve had “color” on my to-do list (ridiculous evidence of my own busyness). This past weekend, I finally crossed it off the list, but I plan to put it right back on there. It was incredibly relaxing and mood enhancing to complete the page pictured above, which is from a book I’ve had for years and barely touched. I received a book of mehndi designs for Christmas, and I plan to try a page from it next.

Why is coloring so enjoyable and even healthy as a habit? According to the Cleavland Clinic, coloring:

  • Takes us out of ourselves, becoming like a meditative practice.
  • Relaxes the brain and distracts from life’s difficulties because of its simplicity.
  • Is without consequences if we don’t do it perfectly, so is fun and not stressful.

My colorful friend up there isn’t exactly an amazing work of art, especially as I only used about eight colors and did minimal mixing and shading with them. It’s not about making something that looks incredible. What it is about is slowing your brain, using your hands and not relying on a screen to distract you from real life.

I can’t wait to do it again.

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Filed under Health

Christmas in August

father daughter gift bag presentsMy husband’s father’s family has started a tradition of Christmas in August. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I have a few complaints about the holiday season. However, this new practice has actually captured what I like best about the holidays, and left out the snow and other distasteful things.

The tradition started last year as an excuse for all getting together. Over the past decade, each year would see us gathering for a bridal or baby shower orĀ  wedding, but Iris was sort of the end of that – at least for the foreseeable future. Now we need to find other reasons, and Christmas in August was our aunt’s wonderful idea.

It’s great. Our branch drives the three hours to Ft. Wayne, IN (in great conditions because it’s August!) and is welcomed to a house full of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. There’s eating and laughing and swimming in the new pool. No one has to dress up, and the food is Mexican take out, so all anyone has to do is assemble their own tacos. Our generous hosts have time to relax and everyone has a fabulous time.

We do exchange gifts, but in the white elephant sense. This year, we came home with Eggies and a Macy’s box full of nylons. I gave away a “stained glass” golf themed picture frame, for which I paid $1.47 at Goodwill.

Of course, I enjoy a lot of the cozy festiveness that comes with the winter solstice holidays. But the important thing is being with those you love, and Christmas in August allows us to focus on that. I’m already looking forward to next year.

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Filed under Seasonal