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Every spring and fall semester of my college years, it was the same scene: My friend Valerie and I would meet at Jittery Joe's just steps away from the University of Georgia campus to study for finals. And by "study for finals," I actually mean drink coffee concoctions, talk about her dating life, crack each other up, and color. Yep, that was us in the back booth -- with our voice disorders and phonology text books shoved to the side -- bent with crayons and colored pencils over our Peter Pan and Care Bears coloring books. You know; just blowing off steam like crazy college kids do!
Little did we know then, we were on to something pretty big. Researchers have been giving a lot of attention recently to the benefits of coloring, rediscovering what we've all known since childhood: coloring is calming, and it makes us feel good. It helps us switch off our rational and logical brains, and connect with our deep inner creativity and subconscious inspiration. Whether with mandalas or Mermaid Cove as the palette, coloring is indeed meditation. 
And conveniently for us, publishers have caught on to this trend, and are now thoughtfully offering approximately 200 million different variants on the "adult coloring book" theme! Six of the top 20 best-selling books on Amazon recently were in fact adult coloring books. At this point, there is truly a coloring book for everyone: There are nature-themed books, book-themed books, mandala-themed books, and yes, even swear-word coloring books. (Pretty clever, there, publishers!) I think I still have my Peter Pan coloring book in a box somewhere, but have increased my repertoire to include two of the most beautiful I've seen, The Enchanted Forest and The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford. 
Unlike some self-care activities that can be time- or cost-prohibitive in our daily lives, finding a coloring book for less than $10 and gifting ourselves with a fresh box of colored pencils is so very doable, Sisters. Granting yourself the time can be as simple as choosing to sit and color rather than zone out for 15 minutes on Facebook or Pinterest before bed. 
This week, I invite you to consider choosing a lovely coloring book for yourself -- whether it's one you grab at the grocery store, or whether you decide to splurge on one carefully selected from a local bookstore or from Amazon. Spend a few moments this week with pencil in hand, knowing that this little gift of self-love is nourishing to body and soul! 
Oh, and one last thing: If you have kids, they will of course want to get all up in the pristine pages of your new treasure.... but I highly recommend making your coloring book sacredly YOURS! *No Kids Allowed!* ;)

 


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