Guest blog by Joanne Marie from Breathe Holistic Therapy in Kidderminster...
I am not a naturally calm person. I had a tendency to churn things over in my mind and inevitably this could lead to anxiety. I was one of those swans……calm on the surface but paddling like crazy underneath.
The realisation that stress was damaging my well being and happiness lead me to make some big changes in my life. After discovering the wonderful relaxing effects of reflexology.
I knew others could benefit too. I established Breathe Holistic Therapy in Kidderminster and I’ve been happily relaxing people for the last 8 years, but most of us can’t employ a massage therapist on call so how can we relax easily at home?
Crafting is well known for its calming properties. I have ventured into many forms of craft but if I’m honest I’m not naturally creative and I’m just a little bit clumsy! I’m not sure my kitchen has never quite recovered from the candle making experiment. I did however have a secret way to relax which harnessed the tiny threads of creativity that were lurking inside. I was a closet colouring in fan. Give me a colouring in book and some pens and I could happily lose myself, relaxing and forgetting any of those churning thoughts. For years I encouraged my son to join me just so I could indulge in my own guilty pleasure. I have to admit that star wars characters, cars and robots weren’t exactly perfect subjects but I still loved the process of gradually filling the white page with colour.
Little did I know that my secret was actually incredibly fashionable with the stylish ladies of Paris. It appears I was ahead of my time. Stressed mothers across the Channel are just like me reaching for their colouring in books. Ever stylish, their books are somewhat more artistic than battling star wars figures. Truly beautiful colouring books are sold as “art therapy” and specifically marketed for reducing stress and anxiety.
But why is it so relaxing? Colouring in requires focus and for me feels quite meditative. I am completely in the moment, not analysing the past or worrying about the future. I also love the freedom from concern about failure or doing things right. Sitting and colouring is a refuge from the demands of life, it is a moment of freedom. When immersed in my colouring I almost feel like I’m in a hypnotic trance. You can feel creative and peaceful, and above all I find a genuine happiness in the process.
In France the colouring in for calmness books can outsell cookery books; they have been embraced as a really practical easy way to lower stress and anxiety. If you feel the need to relax and escape for a few minutes every day and you aren’t lucky enough to have a reflexologist or hypnotherapist on call then I would recommend taking a look. A book and some felt tips could be one answer to you stress management needs.
Joanne Marie is a reflexologist who loves to see the fantastic relaxation benefits experienced by her clients. Breathe Holistic Therapy was established in Kidderminster in 2008. Joanne is also trained to work with pregnant clients. She has a son who loves reflexology almost as much as she does!