Lake | 18. May, 2020 - 6 min read

Lake talks to UK’s Big City Radio: ‘Coloring is one of the ways of supporting our mental wellbeing’

We are facing strange times right now and taking care of our mental wellbeing is as important for keeping our lives balanced and under control as taking care of our physical health. We felt very flattered when Katarina Lotrič, co-founder of Lake, was invited by the British Big City Radio to talk about how coloring can boost creativity, control anxiety, and help to cope with other mental challenges. Take a look at what Tony and Katarina spoke about.

Tony, Big City Radio:

As millions of Brits remain indoors in response to the coronavirus epidemic, our mental health may be at risk of deteriorating. Finding activities that not only pass the time but help strengthen and fortify one’s mental health is increasingly important during these trying times.

Mental health issues in the UK are substantially prevalent, with 1 in 6 (17%) of people over the age of 16 admitting they had some common mental health problem in a timeframe of a week. Additionally, nearly half of the UK adult population (43.4%) believe that at some point in their lives they have had a diagnosable mental health condition, which for women is actually more than half (51.2%). Whether it be from individual lifestyle factors or external reasons, it is clear there is a sufficient problem in the UK relating to mental health stability and strength.

Having to stay at home, either in quarantine or in complete self-isolation, only exacerbates the issue. It is evident that the lockdown can detrimentally affect our mental health if left unchecked, and so it is increasingly important to find hobbies and activities that not only keep you busy, but additionally help destress, decrease anxiety, and help declutter the mind in order to remain vigilant, positive and for those who work from home, refrain from absenteeism while working from home.

There are a variety of ways to stay busy and keep a strong mental stability, which include regular exercising - which the government and the NHS recommend - having a balanced diet, staying active during the day and having the ability to talk to someone about how one feels.

One such activity that can make a difference to those that want to destress and defog their mind, is drawing and colouring. Creative activities can help in a variety of ways, by improving mental wellbeing, strengthening motor skills, vision and focus while passing the time. The artistic side can then become a way to relax and help soothe our mental wellbeing.

But can drawing, colouring, or art truly make such a difference to our mental health, especially during this lockdown period?

To talk about this in particular, we are joined by Katarina Lotrič, co-founder of Lake.

Thank you for joining us Katarina, could you tell us what the effects of a lockdown or self-isolating period can be on our mental health?

Thank you for having me! Yes, the world has found itself in this weird and sad situation where we are strangely united in being separated. And we may be in this together but at the same time, everyone is still very much on their own with their own reality. All of our usual routines have been abruptly broken, and while routine may sound boring, it is important for our feeling of safety, since it gives structure to our everyday. So, yeah … it’s normal if you feel scared, anxious, uncertain in this abnormal situation. Therefore, it is of great importance for our mental wellbeing that during this difficult time we try to find something that can give us a sense of pleasure and achievement, since it is known that without that our mood does get affected, which can lead to depression in the long run. As anxiety and worry are now very much heightened, having something that can distract us and helps us soothe and calm our mind is very important. This might be the right time to open ourselves to new creative ways of self-help.

As the UK continues to function, why can a decrease in mental wellbeing be an even larger problem in our everyday lives?

A decrease in our mental wellbeing can make us more susceptible to physical illnesses, which poses its own risks during this pandemic. Getting through these challenging times and making all the adaptations that we need to make requires a lot of mental strength and resilience to carry us through. If our mental health is not in the best shape to start with, this could be even more challenging. With a decrease in mental wellbeing, it is difficult to be productive, function well at work and within family, be there for the loved ones who need us and rely on us. In these times more than ever, it is important that we are able to be there for each other and give support and encouragement. And to be able to do that, we need to nurture our minds, just like we nurture our bodies, and do what we can to keep ourselves grounded and well. If we can do something to protect our mental health now, this can go a long way, not only to help us get through this, but also to bring a brighter future for everyone when this is all over.

What are the benefits of drawing or colouring for us in general?

Coloring is one of the ways of supporting our mental wellbeing. Research conducted by the University of the West of England in 2018 confirmed that coloring reduces stress, improves our mood and boosts creativity! For us, this was a valuable scientific stamp of approval, since it is something that we keep hearing from our users on a daily basis for the past three years. People are reporting that they retreat to coloring when they are feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed, when they are having trouble sleeping, and also in times of dealing with depression, even grief! It is a part of their routine in managing their daily stress. Thing is, not everyone can meditate, it can be quite a handful, but coloring can be a good alternative for it. It’s a mindful process, a creative meditation. It engages two of your senses fully, helps with taking your mind off things, and putting you into the present moment.

In your expert opinion, what would you recommend to our listeners in relation to colouring?

First of all, anyone can color! Everything goes, there are no rules, no limitations, it is not a childish activity. :) There is no right or wrong way with coloring. I would advise you to just go ahead and try - start with choosing a motif that speaks to you, then try being mindful while coloring, paying attention to which color you choose, how you apply color, following the strokes … Also, try not to stress about the end result, rather let it be about the process. Try to express what you are feeling through the colors you choose, and in this way let your emotions appear right there in front of you. This will help you clear your mind, strengthen your mindfulness muscle and at the same time create more space in your brain to cope with everything that is going on around you. The process itself is calming, since it brings you into the here and now, and when you finish there’s also a sense of achievement: you’ve successfully accomplished something today!

Thank you, Katarina, for sharing your view with us! It was very educational and interesting hearing your thoughts on the matter.

Thank you so much, it was a pleasure! I wish you and your listeners all the best, may you remain safe, well and healthy.