Busy mama? You can reduce stress by using a simple circle
Finding the time to do a calming activity without the kids attempting to jump on you or get you to referee their latest squabble, is the Holy Grail of a busy, stressed mum.
In a previous post I looked at the benefits of finding time for nourishing activities and saw how it’s important. Colouring away your worries showed how colouring calms and soothes us. It’s vital for us mums to unwind, recharge our batteries and reduce stress by doing something for ourselves. Even if it’s quietly sitting for three minutes to drink a cup of tea while it’s still hot (that other Holy Grail of parenting).
If you’ve been reading the Mindfully Mummy blog for a while, you’ll know that I love colouring in. There’s plenty of books about now relating to mindful colouring. But one thing that takes this a little further is drawing mandalas. I mentioned these previously. I love how they look but having a blank page scares me.
What is a mandala?
A mandala is Sanskrit for circle. It represents harmony and wholeness and mandalas can help with meditation. It’s not surprising then that there’s been a surge in colouring books available along the lines of colouring mandalas for mindfulness.
Why? Because it’s therapeutic and is a fantastic mindful tool to help quickly reduce stress levels.
How mandalas reduce stress
Drawing or colouring in repetitively allows us to be still and focus on the present moment, which is essentially what being mindful is.
A study showed that drawing and colouring mandalas helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. This was compared to people who drew a static object such as a cup who didn’t show as much stress reduction.
Who doesn’t want to reduce their stress levels? Not me!
Despite my fear of the blank page, I’m not one for backing away from a challenge. So, compass in hand, I took the plunge and attempted some mandala drawing.
Here are the results – I’m pretty pleased with them! So some of the lines are wonky, but that adds to the appeal. They took me 30 mins to an hour on and off. The first one I did I gave myself eye strain as I was really enjoying the drawing and didn’t want to stop!
I can say that I definitely got more satisfaction from drawing and colouring my mandalas than purely colouring in a pre-drawn image. In fact, I picked up one of my mindful colouring books and started doodling mandala style symbols within their pages!
So much for being scared of a blank page.
Do you draw? Not an artist but want to give it a go?
They look complicated but actually they’re pretty easy to do. Start by drawing concentric circles using a compass and pencil then divide up the circle into 16 equal parts. Draw the lines lightly so they act as guides rather than being really obvious. Then build up repetition of patterns a segment at a time which means you can easily pick up your pen and pad and doodle for a few minutes to add to it.
The lovely Kara at Boho Berry explains it far better than I ever could. In fact she has a brilliant video here which shows how to create a beautiful mandala from scratch.
The best bit about mandalas (apart from the stress reducing benefits obvs!) are the whole pattern can be built up over time. You don’t need to sit and draw it all in one go. Grab your pad and pen next time you manage to find a minute to sit down. Heck, you could even start one while your little one is on the toilet. Busy mums – it’s all about finding pockets of time. If you kids are like mine, they’ll be on the loo for at least 3 minutes before demanding your help. Make the most of it!
Don’t go around in circles getting more stressed and anxious, pick up a pen and get to it. Now you can see how easy it is, what are you waiting for?
Have you tried drawing a mandala yet? I’d love to hear how you got on – be awesome and leave a comment below.