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I Tried It

I Tried Coloring As A Form of Self-Care & It Changed The Way I Prioritize Myself

We know that self-care routines are an integral part of maintaining our mental health. We know that pouring into ourselves brings fulfillment and meaning into our lives. But how often do we introduce new activities into our self-care repertoire? I’ll be the first to admit that my go-to self-care activities were starting to feel a little stale at the beginning of the year and weren’t making much of an impact in my life.

Thankfully, Oludara Adeeyo’s latest book, Mind, Body, & Soul: A Self-Care Coloring Book for Black Women, came on my radar at the perfect time.


Oludara Adeeyo is a Los Angeles-based mental health therapist and author who encourages others, specifically Black women, to prioritize self-care. In an interview with Non-Profit Quarterly, Adeeyo states, “A lot of Black women don’t know how to make time for themselves because they don’t feel like they can make time for themselves. I just hope my coloring book makes Black women feel like they can make time for themselves.”

I identified with the premise of the book immediately since I’ve struggled with prioritizing myself in the past. What was inside the book piqued my interest the most. It features 35 pages of affirmations and beautiful illustrations that depict Black women in all of their glory.

So, over the course of a few weeks, I committed to the coloring journey, and here’s what I focused on:

Self-care-coloring-book-for-Black-women-colored-pencil

Courtesy of Michelle Emdin

I embraced the power of play.

I hadn’t felt this much joy purchasing a pack of colored pencils and markers since I was in elementary school, and you know what? I LOVED the anticipation of coloring. It’s an activity often associated with children, but adults benefit from low-stress and fun activities, too.

​I prioritized “me time."

I found it fitting that the first affirmation in the book was “I deserve to experience Black girl joy,” with an image of a woman vibing to music while walking outdoors. It’s often too easy for me to put off activities that bring me joy for the sake of others and my daily responsibilities. I was intentional about carving out parts of my day to focus on coloring.

​I meditated on the affirmations.

I found that repeating some of the affirmations helped me focus on my task and gave my self-confidence a boost. For instance, the statement “I no longer talk bad about myself” led me to focus on a list of positive attributes about myself while I colored.

​I used the finished pages as a timestamp, of sorts.

I was surprised by how rewarding it was to review the pages I’d completed. I’d look at a page and instantly remember what room I was in, the ambiance, and the state of my mental health when I colored each page. Having a memory associated with the pages made the book that much more precious.

Black-woman-coloring-book-page-self-care-activities

Courtesy of Michelle Emdin

​The Results

My life didn't change drastically after a few weeks of coloring. However, I noticed that it became easier to sit still long enough to focus on one task. As someone who loves to habit stack, focusing only on coloring took a bit of practice but became easier over time. Another positive result was that I worked on my motor and cognitive skills. I used muscles in my hand that is often ignored when I use electronic devices while choosing colors and coloring techniques gave my brain a workout. Lastly, I felt calmer after coloring.

Coloring relaxes the amygdala, the area of the brain that processes fear. And while I might’ve started some sessions feeling worrisome or stressed, I left the page feeling lighter and more in tune with my inner child, who enjoyed creating for the sake of creating.

I’m not the best artist by any means, but creating a masterpiece isn’t really the point. Some pages were created with calm and measured strokes, while others were etched with anxious scribbles. In the end, all of the pages I’d completed were a reflection of my dedication to care for myself.

So, if your self-care routine needs a change of pace, I’d encourage you to give coloring a try! Pick up your favorite crayons or markers and join countless other women who are making time for themselves– you won’t regret it!

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Featured image by Getty Images

 

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