Adult coloring is a way to reduce stress, bring a sense of accomplishment and a sense of relief
Frontline hospital associates — with management support — are stepping out to color large mandalas. It recharges those souls who give their all to our patients.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — When it comes to personal care and wellness, one of the last things that may come to mind is coloring. What was once considered just a childhood pastime has become a trend that has caught on quickly – and for good reason.
Old encouragements to “get by” at work and “get by” are not supported by evidence. In hospitals strained by the pandemic, clinicians need regular work time, but away from their duties. But what is the best way to recharge?
“It’s nice to get out of the work area for a little break,” said Brandi Thompson, a cytology technician at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center.
“It’s something to distract you from work,” but without leaving work, said Clarissa Mendez, assistant in the microbiology lab. “And no matter how long it takes to color it.”
Coloring projects are for adults, not children. They can more aptly be called mandalas – large, intricate patterns designed to induce a moving “escape” from the current environment – and are meant to take a little time and many hands to complete.
“Our doctors stand out and color. Even security came in and added a bit,” Thompson said.
At Holmes Regional, the idea was introduced by radiology manager Melissa Warncke. She quickly found an advocate in DeAnn Collins, project manager at Health First’s Behavioral Wellness.
Today, ‘pop-up’ adult coloring stations were displayed at several locations in Holmes Regional, at all three hospitals and in several Health First Medical Group offices.
“There are benefits to taking a moment, focusing on that color, focusing on the area they’re coloring,” Collins said. “They’re still in this stressful environment, but they’re taking a break.”
Such breaks actually increase mental focus, resting the parts of the body and mind strained during service. Collins explained that the coloring “increased productivity and increased retention” as a result. Not taking breaks “generally increases stress levels which leads to increased irritability”.
The completed mandalas should be photographed and turned into postcards that the associated artists can share with loved ones.
Similar art therapies are used clinically in behavioral wellness, Collins said, and they’re often met with skepticism at first, but those same patients end up surprised by how focused they are and how much. of anxiety and stress that disappears.
Studies suggest that adult coloring and similar art projects demonstrate the following benefits:
■ Relaxes your brain and improves brain function
■ Draws attention away from yourself and stressful thoughts
■ Improves concentration and motor skills, and
■ Is easily enjoyable without feeling overly performative because coloring is low stakes.
Chaplin Derly Foerste leads pastoral care at Health First, and he says the pop-up stations were introduced in January and “filling an entire mandala was a wellness goal in February.”
Adult coloring is a way to “reduce stress, bring a sense of accomplishment and a sense of relief,” he says.
“It is a mission of Health First to put the well-being of associates first,” adds Collins. “One of the benefits of working at Health First is the self-compassion and well-being of associates. Wherever you work, you want to feel valued – and Health First goes above and beyond to bring that out.
Visit HF.org/news_and_events to find out what’s going on at Health First.