Tag Archive | mental health

Coloring for your Stressed Brain


The practice of coloring generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity. 

My favorite days at work are when I need to color plans for the plant install crews to follow. The landscape architect my boss hired under contract, is great at some things (seeing grade, focal points and balance), however he has a bit of trouble with using the same symbol for different plants and lack of labels. As I’ve scoured over the plan during the estimating process, I know the plan very well and can easily color code it for others.

Coloring is not a passive act, coloring involves logic to make creative decisions about which colors to use and focus on not going over the lines. During this process, other parts of your mind are freed up that allow you to become more creative.  This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.

I’ve seen a plethra of adult coloring books hit the market in the past few years. My hubby even got one from his Mom last Christmas. They are not what you think of when you think of the coloring books you used as a child. These adult books use intriquit designs and adult themes to keep us older folks interested. See below.

owl coloring page

Coloring isn’t just for relaxation either. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Art projects can create a sense of accomplishment and purpose. They can provide the person with dementia — as well as caregivers — an opportunity for self-expression.”

Although, when considering coloring as an activity for your elderly loved one or someone suffering with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, it’s important to present the activity correctly.

  • Colored pencils are a better choice over crayons or markers.  Crayons may be perceived as childish or insulting, and colored markers can be messy or bleed through the pages.
  • Selecting a proper coloring book is important, as a coloring book for children could belittle a senior.
  • The theme of the coloring book should be thoughtfully considered.  Since adult coloring books have become increasingly popular, there are many with very busy, abstract or surreal images (like above) that may be unsettling to an already confused mind.

Now go out there and color!!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Is it the Saddest Day of the Year? How to Avoid Blue Monday


Blue Monday began in 2005, when Sky Travel, hired a former professor of Cardiff University named Cliff Arnall. Dr. Arnall created an equation that determined the year’s most depressing day, which seemed to correspond to when people book vacations. The equation demonstrated the third Monday in January is the most depressing of the year because of a combination of elements such as weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing our New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. Using that equation, Sky Travel dubbed January 24, 2005 as the first Blue Monday.

everybody hates me

The news and media markets took off with this information and it continues to buzz through the internet… (Where do you think I found it 😉 I truly though that the MOST depressing day would be today, January 4th, or the first Monday in January. I posted this today, as that is my opinion.

go fuck yourself

Let’s see how I stack up using the equation:

W=weather, D=debt, d=monthly salary, T=time since Christmas, Q=time since failing our New Year’s resolutions, M=low motivational levels, and Na=the feeling of a need to take action.

  • W ~ Weather conditions have been quite grand! We’ve been about 10 degrees above normal. A bit of snow, enough to cover the bland landscape, but nothing on the roads.
  • D ~ My debt level is a non-issue. I’m well in the black.
  • d ~ My salary is intact… for the moment.
  • T ~ I will be returning to work after a 16-day hiatus.
  • Q ~ I don’t make resolutions, however, I will say that I really wished to be farther along doing something else, career wise.
  • M ~ Motivation… Um, what is that?
  • Na ~ To do something other than what I’m doing. This is a fatty for me.
  • X10 ~ I’d also like to add a special variable for me as this is also my birthday week.

I’m no mathematician, however by my calculations, I do truly conclude that today, Monday January 4th is indeed MY saddest day of the year. I also know that after it is over, the rest of the year is usually better.

cow pee on cow

Since the unveiling of the equation, there have been no studies or evidence that have proved any one calendar date is more unhappy than another and the equation no real scientific basis. Opponents have argued that assigning indiscriminate or short-lived causes (such as bills arriving, returning to work or the end of the holiday vacation) to clinical depression could adversely affect how depression is viewed. In essence, depression could be cured by booking a vacation and not a true disease.


I don’t think this means anything of the sort. Although there have been others who have used the phrases ‘Blue Monday’ as a basis for their cause, I don’t think people really believe someone with true depression just has a ‘Case of the Monday’s’, that they can be cured by making more money, more time off or any of these factors in the equation.

How does one get over a Case of the Monday’s or even the Saddest Day of the Year? Here’s some answers I found across our vast internet:

  • Wake-up early and while shaking your fist yell, “Monday, you suck! You really fucking suck.”
  • Have a protein breakfast that will keep you going through the long day.
  • If no eggs are available, put Rumchata in your coffee.
  • Morning sex.
  • Take a long shower.
  • Take some vitamin B, to help keep you spry throughout the day.
  • Keep Monday’s schedule light.
  • Hope for sunny weather.
  • If you can muster it, complimenting others works for some.
  • Realize that it is finally Monday & it will be over soon.
  • Start making plans for Friday.
  • Just be happy you woke-up on this side of the grass…


Please share how you beat your Blue Monday today in the comments!!

Copyright ~ Ilex Farrell

Please do look into professional care if your whole week seems to be row of Mondays.

Ah, Life Keeps Getting in the Way…

Welp. Time has finally caught up with me.

Work has become a bit too long in the day and I really would like to make a change of pace. I have just signed-up for the Tree Risk Assessment Certificate class for an additional certification to my arborist license… tree surgeon for you friends over the pond 😉 This will open up a few more job opportunities for me. I need to study for the course, as it was an astonishing $650 and a test retake is $150. I can’t afford a retake!! So, my nose will be in a  book for the next month.

Because of this and the closing of the season, I’m dropping my posting times to M-W-F. After the class in early December, I’ll revisit this schedule. Sadly, this will effect the blogs I follow. I can’t stop reading, however comments may drop off. You’ll know I came by with my icon in your LIKE section 😉

Ilex Farrell