Monday, January 28, 2019

7 Ways Coloring (Yes, Coloring) Helps Melt Away My Winter Blues


Why Art Therapy Is My Newly Found Remedy for Helping Treat My Seasonal Depression Symptoms

8 Ways Coloring Helps Melt Away The Winter Blues
This post is in partnership with Posh Coloring Studio. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

I've mentioned before that I struggle with seasonal depression (or Seasonal Affective Disorder), and this winter is no exception. Each November as the days grow cold and dark, I slowly begin to feel sluggish and sad. I'm so busy over the holidays that I can sort of skate past it, but once January hits, there's no escaping it. The end of January through the beginning of March is when it become the most intense, and I sometimes feel significantly down.

Unfortunately, feeling blue during the winter months isn't uncommon. Lack of sunlight can have a negative affect on serotonin levels, which can make even the cheeriest person feel sad or unmotivated this time of year.

Thankfully, I've experimented and learned ways to help elevate my mood and energy level during the winter, so that my symptoms are much less severe than in the past. From regular exercise to making healthy food choices to prioritizing sleep, small efforts can really add up in terms of feeling better during the periods of winter blues. And one of my favorite ways to combat my winter blues might not be what you expect...


A couple of years ago, a friend bought me an adult coloring book for my birthday (which is on New Year's Day, aka right around the start of my winter blues). I remember pulling it out one night when I was feeling especially down, and after 30 minutes of coloring in it, I felt like a huge portion of my anxiety and sadness had melted away. And it makes sense; adult coloring is actually shown to have both mental and physical benefits. Since then, I've been regularly coloring, especially during the winter. And thanks to my recent discovery of Posh Coloring Studio and the 1500+ coloring pages they offer, I'm able to print them off my computer any time I need a good coloring session. (Pssst! They're offering a 15% off discount on their annual plan with code BUBBY15.)

Today I thought I'd share some of the ways adult coloring helps with my seasonal blues, in hopes it can help those of you who suffer from them as well!


1. Coloring brings me happiness by creating a fun family bonding activity.
This time of year can be overwhelming for me because my husband is usually gone and I'm wrangling two littles ones by myself. It's easy for me to get frustrated with them when this happens, which leads to all of us feeling down. (And when you're already feeling the winter blues, any instance of feeling down seems massive.) Sitting down and coloring together is a healthy, wonderful way for us to take a break from the stressful stuff and all do something enjoyable together.

2. Taking time to color is a great way for me to practice self-care.
In addition to the winter challenges (lack of sunlight, cold weather, etc.), the tasks of taking care of two preschoolers and a house alone on top of my work load parts, leaves me feeling like I have no time at all for myself to recharge. This year, I've been trying to carve out 30 minutes each day after the kids go to bed to meditate, do a relaxing yoga video, or color.

3. Art therapy relaxes me.
While winter is the only time of year I experience depression, anxiety rears its ugly head throughout the year. Coloring is a form of art therapy that relaxes both my mind and my body (Cleveland Health Clinic states that coloring actually helps relax the brain: "When thoughts are focused on a simple activity, your brain tends to relax."), and makes a major difference in relieving my anxiety. It's a simple project that's not stressful and doesn't take a lot of effort but has a nice result.


4. Bright, summery colors help me feel energized.
One of my least favorite parts of winter is the lack of color outside. Here in Chicago, the skies are grey, the trees are brown and bare, there aren't any flowers, and everything just looks sort of blah. I notice that when I use cheery, summery colors like yellow and sky blue when coloring, it helps to brighten my mood and make me feel more energized. 

5. The act of coloring helps me stay present.
My anxiety worsens in the wintertime, and my brain tends to wander, usually to my "to do" list or things that worry me. Coloring is the perfect way to stay present and mindful. When I feel my thoughts starting to wander, I just focus back to the details of the coloring page, the strokes of the colored pencil on the paper, etc. It makes a huge difference.


6. I'm able to fall asleep faster (and often get better sleep) after I color.
When I choose to color for a few minutes before bed (instead of staring at a screen), I notice my body and mind calming, and I'm able to fall asleep faster and earlier so I feel better in the morning. My winter blues are greatly affected by how much sleep I get, so this is actually really important.

7. Coloring helps me think positively.
I like to think of myself as a positive thinker, but if there is any time negative thoughts creep into my brain, it's during the winter. I really have to work to think positively, and coloring is one of the ways I do this. And it turns out there is science behind this; coloring can temporarily replace negative thoughts with more positive ones.


If you suffer from SAD or even just feel down sometimes during the winter months, I'd love to hear the ways you work to lift the fog! And if you haven't tried it yet, I can't recommend coloring enough. My friends at Posh Coloring Studio are offering all of you an exclusive 15% off discount on their annual plan so you can print out coloring pages (over 1500 choices!) any time you need a mood lift! Just use code BUBBY15.


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2 comments:

  1. I feel depressed in the winter too. This year is actually really bad. I never thought of coloring as a way to help with it but it makes so much sense!!

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  2. I can see how coloring is such great great therapy. The winter blues are difficult for me too. We moved 1000 miles south in 2018 and there is about 1 hour more of daylight at the end of the day than up north. It makes such a difference! The winter flowers amaze me too. Hang in there. It will be spring before we know it. :)

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