The January Plod and it’s endless days

January seems to be a difficult month for so many people, I can’t tell if it’s coincidence or aftermath of Christmas that does it, but it’s definitely an issue and I like to call it the January plod because January feels so very, very long. For those who have struggled financially, the aftermath of Christmas is almost as bad as the struggle to afford it in the first place. With new year costs, new school term costs and wages being paid on odd days, the gap between the December pay cheque and the January pay cheque can be a long one. The other side of it is the cold, here in the UK it’s winter, albeit a mild one, it’s definitely winter and we often get our worst weather after Christmas, so January is the month of dark, cold, nothing fun to focus on and everyone is skint lol. No wonder so few people feel cheerful at this time of year.

We’re trying to pull money together to MOT my husbands car (otherwise if it’s icy he’ll have to take a train because he can’t take his bike – I won’t let him). This is a potentially expensive dilemma when we are already struggling, it’s very easy to focus on the things that are a problem. So I stead I’m focusing on the things that make me happy, like writing, my story now has 12,500 words, only 77,500 to go – give or take 😉 I’ll add a few little tasters here if you’re interested but I’ll be sure to put it in the title, so if apocalypse stories aren’t your thing you can skip it. Another thing I’m focusing on is the drawing challenge, I know, I’ve not shared the last couple so I’ll add them here. I’m a massive fan of using your creative side, and I know not everyone is a professional artist in the making, but that isn’t what’s important when creating art for yourself.

So, there are my efforts, I am not awful, I’m a long way from amazing but it feels good to create something. I will give a lot of different creative activities a go, because I like the way they make me feel. There are many debates as to the association between mental health problems and creativity, some suggest that it negatively affects creativity, stifling it, while other’s argue that it is an outlet for mental health problems and can encourage creativity (LeBel, 2017). However you see it, art is used in the treatment of mental health problems, and is very popular with those who promote wellness and self-care. Indeed there is research to suggest that colouring in (as opposed to just colouring/doodling on a blank sheet) is can reduce anxiety levels (Eaton and Tieber, 2017, Curry & Kasser, 2011) , so if you get anxious, I say it’s worth a try, right?

So, where do you start if you want to try colouring? That’s up to you, I would personally start with a cheap but pretty book that you enjoy looking at, and some cheap pencils or pens, Poundland is a great place to pick up the basics. If you’re a bit like me you’ll love James Alexander’s Swearing Colouring book – beautiful and hilariously inappropriate, it’s about £7 I think on Amazon but I’m sure you can get it elsewhere if Amazon aren’t something you like to use. There are so many to choose from and the good thing about colouring books is you don’t have to be a “creative person, another important thing is you don’t have to have anxiety or depression to benefit from colouring, it’s shown to help even in normal everyday life, so give it a go.

Do you use a colouring book? How have you found it? Are you enjoying it and if so will you show us your efforts?

Curry, N. & Kasser, T. (2011) Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety? http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07421656.2005.10129441

Eaton, J & Tieber, C. (2017) The Effects of Coloring on Anxiety, Mood, and Perseverance. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07421656.2016.1277113

LeBel, E (2017) Creativity and Mood Disorders: Both Deviances? https://osf.io/z49kg

Published by Michelle Quinton

Mum, wife, perpetual student, freelance writer, weight loss coach, artist and occasionally model. I love to try new things, I love to write and I love studying and researching. Never thought I'd see the day that studying became something I enjoyed, but here we are. My blog is where I put my thoughts, I also plan to start a blog of short stories, with a new prompt for each story.

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