Brief Reflections on the Year Ahead…a Little Late, which is A-Okay

Hello friends! January is already over and I am really late to the party on making resolutions. Last year, I had a pretty kick a$$ list. My therapist even said so.¬† ūüôā Thank you very much.

This year, I am boiling it down to the most essential ingredients. My 2018 is all about intentionality and mindfulness. What does this mean exactly? Well, in everything that I plan to do from day-to-day I want to do it with intention and awareness. As parents of two highly energetic young children (10 and 5, one who is a competitive gymnast and the other who keeps us on our toes, literally), my husband and I were talking about how to make life less hectic. Y’all it comes down to this rubric. If you cannot answer whether you want to do something with a “Heck Yes!” then make it a “No.” There are too many times where many of us spread ourselves too thin. Come on. I know that you have been there. You might even be my neighbor on the street, “Do More Avenue”, for crying out loud.

One of my resolutions last year was to incorporate a mindfulness practice. I am happy to say that I am pretty proud of my efforts here. What has really helped is that I track this on my smartphone. Woo hoo! How cool is that! There are many phone apps for this kind of thing and I like the one called, Strides. What I absolutely love about mindfulness, besides all of the cool, empirical, neuro-based science and how it literally rewires one’s brain (more on that in a future post), is that it truly helps us find the pause between our thoughts and our actions.¬† I am a huge fan of this on a personal and professional level because there are lots of chances to practice this. Am I right?

I decided to write a blog and call it Body Appreciation and Self- Kindness because I believe that all balance and wellness starts with ourselves.  I would like to share a super eye-opening, messy moment that illuminated my need to be intentional about self-care as a habit.

In the fall, I had a very busy day doing the usual, (prepping for my clients the next day, cramming all I could in before picking the kids up, driving them all over God’s gorgeous green earth, picking up grocery items, making dinner for a 5 year-old who wasn’t really too interested in eating dinner, etc.) and when my husband came home, I broke down into a pile of tears and told him I was going to Body Pump.¬† Say What? Yep! This is the class that I have not attended since our DINK (Double Income No Kid) days. I told my husband I just had to go. Now. In case you’re wondering, this is no way to welcome your spouse home. He was pretty sweet about the whole thing and didn’t balk one bit about my plan to jump ship… I mean go take a much needed self-care moment. I ended up not getting to go the class because I would have been late and this class fills up quickly. However, this moment, among many, served as a huge sign of “Take care of yourself” and that everyone, aside from you, truly deserves the best version of you. So as a small start, on the weekends, my husband and I make our exercise like breathing air. It is absolutely sacred and we have learned the hard way not to compromise these basic wellness strategies.We both need to get it done and take turns so we can tackle the many tasks of parenthood and run a household without losing our patience.

How is your 2018 shaping up so far? What kinds of resolutions have you made? I would love to hear about any wake-up call moments that motivated you to make an important change. Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.

With Kindness,

 

Kerry

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coloring for Calmness

 

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Everywhere you look these days, there is a book, a smart phone application, or an article about coloring for stress relief. Coloring books have been for kiddos for as long as I can remember. It all started to change when I had children. Seven years ago, I remember being at a gymnastics meet and seeing a young mom and her daughter coloring together. I thought to myself, “That looks like a lot of fun.” ¬†Simple pleasures from childhood have come back now that I am a mother.

Fast forward to 2015 and the coloring book craze exploded. Coloring for adults has become quite popular and for good reason. Therapeutically, it does calm people down. It helps people recenter and focus.  It has so many positive effects on the brain. According to Landa (2014), research has shown that drawing releases dopamine, which lead to feelings of pleasure. According to Gloria Ayala as cited in Santos (2014), the relaxation from coloring decreases the activity of the amygdala, which is linked to emotions due to stress. I love to hear adults enjoying this. One of my clients who had panic attacks found great relief in being able to color when she felt an attack coming on.  Apparently, Jung was one of the first psychologists to use coloring, and did so with mandalas, as a way to induce relaxation (Santos, 2014).

I love coloring too and so does my daughter. We have really enjoyed coloring mandalas printed off of the web and also a fun mandala coloring application on the smartphone. See my creation above in which I used the application, Colorfy. It is really fun. Making something beautiful is really calming and when it comes to coloring, it is really easy. After a very hard day that was emotionally charged for me, I colored the above picture. It was a time to calm down, breathe, and create a beautiful picture.

So, in summary, coloring and art are great for inducing relaxation and calm. They are an important skill/resource for all, including therapists since we are not immune to stress just because we teach techniques to reduce it. Grab your favorite coloring design and colored pencils or even a smartphone application and start coloring away your stress.  I am eager to hear your thoughts about drawing/art. Have any of you found coloring/art to be therapeutic? When do you color? What do you love about it? I look forward to hearing from you.

As always thanks for stopping by.

Best, Kerry

References

Colorfy: Coloring Book for Adults-Best Free App. (2017, February 25).

          Retrieved from: http://www.amazon.com/Colorfy-Coloring-Book-Adults-Free/dp/B01248YO8E

Landa, R.  (2014). Print. Draw yourself happy: Drawing, creativity, and your brain. Retrieved from

          http://www.printmag.com/featured/draw-yourself-happy-drawing-creativity-your-brain/

Santos, E. (2014). The Huffington Post.¬†Coloring isn’t just for kids. It can actually help adults combat stress.

          Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/13/coloring-for-stress_n_5975832.html