The alarm of my phone rang at 6 am. I took the phone, tapped the snooze button and went back to sleep again. After half an hour, I woke up hastily to go for work. In a hurry, I got ready and left for another dreadful day at work. Dreadful because I had to do work which was way more than I could handle.
This is what I was doing everyday for a number of months. I worked as a Content Developer in a deadline driven environment and was burdened with too much of work. Stress had become a part of my life, and almost every day I had to bear the tension and anxiety of meeting deadlines.
I spent almost the entire day working at office, and quite often needed to work at home too. There was no time to go for a holiday, or to enjoy with friends or family.
I suffered badly from Monday blues.
Whenever I wasn't able to deliver work up to the mark, or couldn't meet the deadlines, I used to feel worthless and beat myself up for not making it up to the mark. This added to my already high levels of stress.
Gradually, the stress and anxiety took a toll on my mental and emotional well-being. Mood swings became quite common and I got agitated by small things. Falling asleep at night also became difficult. My productivity at work gradually dropped and I started thinking about quitting my job.
The primary reason behind my wish to leave the job was my work stress. When I looked at the other aspects of my job, I found that I was getting paid quite well, and my future prospects at the job were also bright.
So, one day I called up one of my close friends and described my miserable condition to her over the phone.
“If you didn't have to deal with so much of stress, would you still leave your job?” she asked.
“No” I said.
“I don’t think the issue is your work overload…. The real problem is that you’re unable to cope up with your stress. ”
“I don’t get you”
“Even if you get a new job, it won’t guarantee you no stress….. there will be work pressure and may be deadlines also…. You may get stressed out once again. By quitting this job, you’ll lose many great opportunities. You may not get them at a new job…”
“I don’t know what to do!”
“I think you should try out ways to decrease your anxiety and stress. If you’re feeling really bad, see a doctor…. Practice a few minutes of meditation everyday…. Exercise regularly…. Listen to songs… Or pick up activities like gardening…. You can also take some time out to paint!
“I already listen to music and meditate…. but haven’t felt any difference. I like to paint but don’t have any time for that.”
“Then try out an adult coloring app…. Coloring in app won’t take much time and would give you all the therapeutic benefits of coloring”
“Benefits of coloring?”
“Yeah, recently I read a lot about the benefits of coloring for our minds… It really has effects like meditation…. Reduces tension, stress, anxiety, and also helps in depression…. And coloring is fun! I've myself tried out an adult coloring app and felt quite relaxed and de-stressed after a few minutes of coloring. I’m using the app for the last few months and feel quite good nowadays! Try it out and see if it helps…”
After talking to her, I wondered whether coloring can really help. I browsed the internet to check out if there’s any real research or evidence of coloring helping stressed out people. I was surprised to find a large number of articles stating studies and researches proving that whatever my friend told me about coloring was absolutely true.
Research says that coloring has a number of therapeutic benefits for adults. It even raises our productivity.
One of the articles I came across, said that people in France suffer from high levels of stress. The country leads the globe in terms of per capita consumption of sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and antidepressants. One-third of the adults in France take psychoactive medications. Quite alarming! A few years ago, the country saw a series of workplace suicides, which led the country’s government to request the corporations to organize “stress negotiations” with the employees. Now, French people are increasingly turning to adult color books to de-stress, instead of red wine! Interesting!!
In the U.K. as well as France, adult coloring books are quite often in the bestseller lists.
I thought about what my friend said — Yes! a new job may not guarantee peace of mind…. So, was it possible to restore my peace of mind even amidst all the triggers for stress? May be it was… I wanted to give it a try!
Although the studies claimed that coloring has de-stressing effects, I was not convinced totally. I knew that unless I try it myself, I won’t believe in the potential of coloring.
So, before quitting my job, I decided to try out an adult coloring app. I took my iPhone and searched for adult coloring book apps. After coming across quite a huge number of such apps, I downloaded the Stress Relief Adult Color Book app, since its name suggested that it would serve my purpose of de-stressing.
The app has beautiful images with a wide selection of colors. One day, after returning from work, I sat down to color one of the intricately detailed images, and started feeling the difference just after a few minutes. When I completed coloring the whole image, I found myself quite relaxed. My otherwise racing mind was quite calm. It was a tranquil feeling…
From that day, coloring became a part of my daily life. Even at work, whenever I found my anxiety levels rising, I took a few minutes to color, which made me feel calm. After about a month of coloring everyday, I marked a difference in myself. I had become a calmer person, and those mood swings became quite rare. Deadlines didn't raise my anxiety to the peak levels. I managed things more efficiently, with a calm head.
I could focus for longer intervals and worked with more enthusiasm. Coloring gives a clarity to mind, which helped me see and understand things better in both my professional as well as personal life. I started thinking in a more innovative and creative way. I noticed a boost in my performance at work. Clearly, I was now able to cope up with my work in a much better way than before.
Besides coloring, I also switched to a more healthy diet and invested a few minutes in exercising everyday.
My increased productivity enabled me to accomplish more in less time. I no longer needed to carry work to home, and was able to spend quality time with my family and friends.
I canceled the plans to quit my job.
I have been working at the organization for many years now, and have seized a number of opportunities that came in my way. Including coloring in my daily routine, has had a profound effect on my mental and emotional health.
I plan to keep this practice of coloring in the days to come!
Coloring is truly a great stress-buster, and its benefits extend beyond simply providing relaxation…. Anyone who wishes to drop stress levels, and increase mindfulness and focus, should consider trying out an adult coloring app like the one I use.