googled #9

Hi friends! Sorry to leave you hanging...my Memorial Day weekend got a kick start on Friday afternoon with a trip to IKEA. Helpful Hint: if you ever need to trek to IKEA, Friday evening before a major holiday weekend is the time to do it. Literally, one of ten people in the entire store. It. Was. Magical. Thanks to that adventure, I officially have my Inslee print in a frame, a shelving unit to hold knick knacks, and an area rug to tie the whole space together! (The rug was an unexpected gem 💎 and complete steal for $40! Who knew rugs were so expensive??!) 

Needless to say, I went on a bit of a spending frenzy this past week. (Just doing my part to help boost the economy!) I like to think I'm becoming more of an adult now that I am cheating on my closet with furniture. It's nice coming home to a well decorated space, and I have really concentrated on good spending habits to try and save for big ticket items - like a couch. However, I did have one, tiny slip up. Thanks to this article in New York Magazine, I am gleefully awaiting two coloring books and a box of Prang coloring pencils. 

Yep, coloring books. The thought of coloring immediately intrigued me. I've known the activity to be a form of therapy for children, so I wasn't surprised when I read that it also helps alleviate stress in adults. The image of unwinding after work with good music, a candle, and a coloring book already had my blood pressure dropping. I quickly determined that I too needed to be part of the "Ladies Coloring Club" trend. But first, a little research...

googled: benefits of coloring

Carl G. Jüng was one of the first psychologists to apply coloring as a relaxation technique. Others have followed suit, noting that the activity stimulates multiple areas of the brain. While coloring, we activate the cerebral hemispheres, the cerebral cortex, as well as the amygdala. This last area is crucial. The amygdala is involved with the formation and storage of memories associated with emotional events, and stress impacts its function. Coloring mimics a childhood activity, and helps conjure those feelings we had during a more carefree period in our lives. It also forces our brain to focus on the present as we prioritize what color we want to use next. Coloring sets a positive tone, and keeps our brain busy. Instead of having stressful thoughts tumble around in our idle mind, they are blocked. 

Besides lowering stress, coloring also gives adults the opportunity to work on hand-eye coordination. Sadly, this skill deteriorates as we age, and typing away on our keyboards doesn't do much to retain it. Coloring helps us improve and maintain fine motor skills as well as delay the loss of coordination. More and more companies are beginning to embrace coloring, because it can lend a spark of creativity to other areas in life. Zappos encourages their employees to take coloring breaks and display their artwork. Lastly, coloring is seen as an alternate form of meditation. Like other techniques, color meditation can help lower blood pressure, promote a stronger immune system, and decrease anxiety.

There are a wide variety of adult coloring books available. Most involve intricate mandalas or scenery of flora and fauna. The Secret Garden is the most popular option...and a little too intimidating for my taste. Instead, I chose two books that aligned with my interests and offered larger coloring spaces. The thought of having to choose a new color for every centimeter of paper almost added more stress. But then again, I'm a rare gem. 

Thanks to Amazon Prime, my books and colored pencils (I ordered Prang - they are amazinggggg) should be here on Tuesday! It should be perfect timing, because I have a feeling my stress levels are about to skyrocket once I see my bank statement. Yikes. New motto: Color Therapy > Retail Therapy