It is an incredibly humid day, with a heat index so high we’ve cancelled school locally. We are due for storms to roll in, but I do not know if or when they will materialize. There is a sense of almost suffocating as I sit here in the dense air and pray for the ice packs to keep me cool enough to function. For a moment, my thoughts fell back to a time when the heat didn’t bother me quite as much and thunderstorms didn’t bring out the supply of migraine rescue medication.
Once upon a time, I believed in all sorts of magical things. I was probably too old by today’s standards to have such faith in the fantastic, but in between the pages of books my world became vast and exciting. I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who indulged these thoughts as we dipped our oars into sparkling pond water. We would discuss the little people who lived hidden among the mossy rocks of the shoreline. I was probably reading “The Littles” series at the time. Something always struck me about alternate worlds, and the very things that remained unseen. I imagined all sorts of worlds at “Camp.”
Camp gave rise to what we call “a Maine day”, which are sunny, mid-70s, and with a light breeze that blows consistently. I used to lay out on the dock and feel it rise and fall slowly and practice sketching. There were days we stayed in the water until we all resembled prunes and evenings spent listening to my extended family sing songs from long-before I was born. We had no technology, at least that I remember, so it was a perfect place to dig deep inside and embrace the more creative aspects of ourselves.
One of my favorite self-care activities, other than reading, is coloring. I have not done it for quite some time and it is far more difficult than I remember as my hands tend to cramp quickly. That said, there is something about coloring that really makes a difference in my general outlook. It truly seems to transport me back to those summery days on the dock, and helps me feel more calm and less pain, overall. There is some science as to why this is the case. “Adult coloring requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness. It is a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves.” This could, in theory, be helpful for individuals that tend to ruminate and spend a lot of time ‘in their own head’. According to research coming out of New Zealand, coloring regularly can “significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety”. This isn’t enough to replace professional monitoring and treatment, but it could be just the thing to add into your self-care routine and make you feel like a kid again.
Remember to take care of yourself today.