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Vitamin Z

Vitamin Z

United States has been observing Mental Health Awareness during the month of May since 1949. Each year, businesses, organizations, schools and individuals dedicate this month to acknowledge those effected by mental illness and present innovative ideas, events and programs that support the treatment and prevention of Mental Illness.

Many individuals that suffer from mental health symptoms have found that creating art can be used as a therapy and have very positive effects on their condition. Even those not suffering from mental illness have found that a regular practice of creating art can be nurturing for relieving stress, increasing confidence and supporting general mental health wellness. The Zentangle Method is a simple and powerful way to access creativity. The Zentangle Method creates doorways to access our creative abilities and the artist within all of us. Using simple steps and basic strokes, anyone can create beautiful images using the Zentangle Method.
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A special Zentangle friend wrote me a thoughtful letter recently. She detailed so many lovely thoughts that warmed my soul, but there was one part that made me smile and then made my mind go into a tailspin of curiously wonderful thoughts.

Her words were, “Zentangle has been a vitamin for my Soul! A lot better than regular vitamins!”
It really made me think about our “regular” vitamins and some of the other routines we prioritize to stay healthy. Many of us put a lot of energy toward keeping our bodies healthy by making sure we eat healthy, to make sure we get all the vitamins. Some of us also exercise regularly to keep our bodies strong. And, don’t get me wrong, those things are very important. However, what about the health of our minds and even more importantly our hearts and our souls? How many of us make sure that each day we do something to keep our hearts and souls healthy? Are there vitamins for the soul?
If you think about it, if our hearts and souls are in a good place, it makes the task of keeping the rest of our body healthy a little easier. If our hearts and souls are under nourished, no matter how much effort we put into our physical bodies there will still be an imbalance and perhaps, an emptiness.
Each one of us is unique in what nutrients and vitamins our specific body needs. For instance, some of us might need a little extra vitamin C or D while another person might need extra zinc. We also might consider the time of year or time in our life as to what our bodies need.
What if we brought that same intention to keeping our hearts healthy by nourishing our souls? What if there were specific things that we thought of as vitamins for our souls. Perhaps these things don’t come in pill form or things that we eat but rather these are things we experience.
For instance, perhaps you enjoy fishing. You might enjoy the preparation, the calm, the time with nature, the quiet, the whole experience. It warms your heart and nourishes the soul. It makes you full and more equipped to do all the other things you need to do.
There are so many things in life that may seem like extras or things that we get to do only if you have the time, but they are important and vital components to keeping our “whole” bodies healthy. They are things that deserve priority. They are not extras.
Think about taking your daily or weekly doses of smiles, laughter, slow walks, coffee with a friend, phone calls with family, gardening, playing cards, candlelight dinners, reading, singing, painting and for us tanglers out there … Zentangle. What if we recognized the effects these things have on us and prioritized them as integral parts of a healthy lifestyle. What about taking a regular doses of “Vitamin Z” right along with all your other healthy habits.
Like anything it is easy to slip from taking care of ourselves. But, there is always today to make little change. So, the next time you make a choice to eat better, get more exercise or remember to take your regular vitamins, remember to also acknowledge the other things that bring you joy.
I know that creativity is important to me. I need it in so many ways. I have learned in my life I can get it various ways. Sometimes I draw, sometimes I build, I sculpt, I cook, I garden, almost anything I can get my hands on. But a lot of times, when life gets too busy, it is hard for me to access those things. My Zentangle practice seems always to be there. It is my go-to. It’s small, simple, portable, and accessible. I don’t need a ton of time, but I can get lost with it for hours if I do have the time. My tangling time fulfills my creative need. It calms me. It inspires me. It allows me let go of the day. So, for me taking a regular dose of Vitamin Z does warm my heart and nurture my soul.
I encourage you all to take a moment to acknowledge what warms you heart and nurtures your soul. Perhaps today you will take in a little vitamin Z and whatever else it is that you need to honor your whole body.

Thank you, Annie Rocha CZT, for inspiring this

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Thanks for joining us on this Zentangle Journey. We are ever so grateful for everything that Zentangle brings to each individual artist, and we know that is unique for everyone. We open up the comments for anyone that wants to share how Zentangle and creativity is part of your mental health wellness practice.


Molly Hollibaugh


  • Nurturing your heart and soul, in addition to other healthy practices, is truly a wonderful reminder. Thank you for your words.

    Nancy D. on

  • As always Molly, great words of wisdom. I too often forget about time for myself. (With the pandemic still raging here I’m spending another three months with my granddaughter and online school.) I love her and like helping her learn, but it wasn’t exactly my plan at 70. Thank you for reminding me that I need to take time for me and Vitamin Z is just what I need. When I go home tonight I’m going to shut out all the other tasks that are waiting and sit down and tangle instead. Tomorrow I’ll bring supplies with me. My granddaughter could use some Vitamin Z to help her through these difficult times too. Thank you Molly for anther very on point blog.

    ClaireW on

  • To commentator Kathy Y: your reminder that “Bijou is the ambassador of practicing Zen” brought a much needed smile to my face. Thank you!

    Rimona Gale on

  • Vitamin Z is the perfect way to describe the helpful and therapeutic use of Zentangle. I am so excited to share this art form with everyone. I believe that it is a much needed outlet and resource for so many people. Thank you!!

    Brenda Salot on

  • Dieser Beitrag kommt am richtigen Tag!
    Heute brauche ich dringend Vitamin Z!

    MIriam Dallamassl on

  • Vitamin Z indeed.

    My daily tangling and my classes help to keep me balanced.

    Lisa Hoesing on

  • Molly this spoke to me in so many ways. I have ALWAYS said to anyone who will listen that Zentangle feeds my soul. I feel like now that I have discovered it I can’t go more than a day or two without it. It’s like air. I may branch off and try a lot of other creative things, because like everyone I think this just awakens the creativity in all of us, but like you said this is my go to. I have pens and tiles EVERYWHERE! In the glovebox, by my chair in the family room, in my purse. As long as I have pen and paper you can prop me up anywhere and I’m happy. Great post.

    Jody Genovese on

  • How timely indeed. Beautifully said!

    Mary Ellen Ziegler. Czt33 on

  • Such heart warming insights, generosity and sharing of the importance of Vitamin Z….I would like to add MAY the 4th be with us all as we play with and practice Zentangle.

    Judith Rae Shamp on

  • (I wasn’t done)
    Many people went from gainfully employed to being unemployed and virtually unemployable, and isolated at home and not interacting with anyone for days at a time.
    Thank goodness for Zoom and other internet programs which allow us to see and speak to people.
    Money has become tight for many of us but Zentangle is an inexpensive hobby and there are Many free videos where there are inspiration and instruction available so we are not alone!
    Thanks Zentangle for helping us get through this and for the wonderful people posting free opportunities for use to create and interact!

    Betsey Youngs on

  • I love the term Vitamin Z. I need creativity in my live for my mental health issues. When the stress is high at work I do a tangle (flux, printemps, mooka or hollis), on a notice book nearby, it calms me down. When my head lets me make tiles, it gives me a great feeling of happiness.

    Mariska Zevenbergen CZT on

  • Well said! I totally agree. Thanks for the Z-vitamin idea. It’s a great way to think about those moments we set aside to tangle.

    Frieda Klotz on

  • Thank you Molly for this lovely post!! I am an Art Therapist in private practice. My clients range in age from 5 to seniors. Since the start of 2021 I have noticed such an increase in requests for support across all the ages. Children are withdrawing; adults are feeling lost and fearful and sometimes I, too, am aware of living with a low level hum of anxiety. Zentangling is also my go-to, especially when I need to slow down, get present and out of my head. Creativity is a gift as is your family’s generous gift of “Z”. Be well.

    Alannah MacPhail on

  • You are so right, Molly, that we don’ put as much time and energy into our mental health as we do to our physical health. Zentangle is certainly a step in the right direction.

    Since our isolation with COVID our lives have changed dramatically. Prior to COVID I had cut down to part time in preparation for planned retirement in a few years. When the pandemic hit I was furloughed like many other. Who thought that could happen to a nurse in a health crisis?
    When called back to work the only opening they had for me was in the COVID Testing Site: outside in a tent in SC one day a week. That was okay until July when the weather got really hot. Being outside, even with protection from the sun, the temperature was unreal. Add isolation garb and it became unbearable for an almost ready to retire person. So retirement happened.I am not the only one whose life changed dramatically. One day with a life plan, the next isolated at home

    Betsey youngs on

  • Discovering zentangle was a pure accident, while scrolling through Pinterest, I discovered some beautiful images, googled zentangle and was curious. I purchased a book, started watching videos and purchased some project packs. I enjoyed my tangling and realized that I had been neglecting my creative side for some time while being employed in the corporate world-although my job was creative-it was idea driven, not hands on.

    Then, the pandemic hit! Life changed completely-I live alone with my pets and always had an active social life. Now here I am at home with horrible news on the TV everyday. At 11.00 every day we had an update of our situation with our governor. The news was horrifying, but I needed to be informed. Everyday at 11.00, I had a date with my Zentangle Project Pack #9-amidst the sirens and ambulances screaming, I found a calm space with the beautiful green inks that reminded that spring was on it’s way, there was order and calm in the universe. I now tangle every day, especially on those stressful days, it’s my oasis of calm. I was so inspired by this experience, I am planning on becoming a CZT to help others on their journey to calm.

    Kathleen B Wiktor on

  • Thank you for this, Molly!
    My husband and I were just talking about this very thing. We mentioned how easy it can be to get sucked into the news, thinking we are staying informed, when really it can suck the air out of the room and spiral quickly into overwhelm. Making sure my day is infused with vitamin Z and other creative and contemplative practices is the exact antidote to the overwhelm.

    Molly Siddoway King CZT on

  • I love to sit down with my “Vitamin Z” at night to wind down for the day. It brings me Joy, Relaxation and Happiness. What a way to Calm away the ups and downs of the day!!

    Cheryle Parrish on

  • “keeping our hearts healthy by nourishing our souls”…What a great concept and advice! Zentangle has become my go to activity over this last challenging year. It allows my mind to settle, my body to rest, but most importantly, my creativity to flow. By taking classes on Zoom and sharing tiles on FB, I’ve met and interacted with wonderful people around the world!

    Carol Roenbaugh on

  • El haber leído este comentario tan acertado ,justo ,precisamente en este momento sobre todo en mí País : Argentina y en mí Ciudad de Buenos Aires,dónde los aires no son tan buenos por la Pandemia,por haber pasado una larga,muy larga cuarentena y volver de nuevo a ella un año después con muchas muertes e contagiados a granel, incertidumbre,sin las vacunas necesarias ….pero yo me salve el año pasado con mis trabajos diarios de tangle o “Zentangle” ,haciendo del arte y la creatividad un ito de ello al tomar tanta vitamina Z diariamente ….con obras maravillosas que compartí con familiares ,amigos y conocidos y algunas veces por Instagram.

    La descripción de las vitaminas para el cuerpo son tan acertadas como las vitaminas para el alma…..ADELANTE!!!!! ,SIGAMOS CREANDO !!!!!ESTE MUNDO NECESITA PAZ !!!!!! NECESITA SERES TAN MARAVILLOSOS COMO UDS
    No se olviden de tomar su “Z” “todos los días”

    María Teresa Rezett on

  • Vitamin C or “Creativity” has always been my vitamin of choice in everything that I do. However, vitamin Z has also become an integral part of my life because it is something which I can vary easily depending on any time or mental restraints. The Zentangle Method lends itself easily to many art mediums. I have used tangles on clay, paper, wood, ceramic tiles, canvas, fabric. I have also added it to various collages. Thank you sooooo much for sharing this very versatile vitamin with us, your Zentangle-family! Kim G, CZT 36.

    Kim Gangwisch on

  • Thanks for the inspiration and reminder to take time for ourselves. Whenever I tangle, I find that time slips away along with any stressors in the day. Its easy to forget that it is time well spent. thanks again, cindy t


  • This is one of your most beautiful and helpful comments you have made, for us, to us. Thank you from the bottom of my Heart!!

    May everyone read and enjoy this!!
    Blessings to you!!!♥️

    Mary Tower on

  • After falling down the stairs and being unable to be active in the way that I’m used to for nearly a year I really don’t know what I would of done without my daily dose of vitamin z. It is truly food for the soul and has helped me keep my sanity.

    Debbie Raaen on

  • How timely! For years I have suffered from depression. Zentangle seems to help me from going “over the edge.” I’m actually taking more time now to care for myself instead of putting everything else over my own well-being. I don’t think we understand how important that is. I equate it to – if you can’t read, you can’t do anything. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for others! Be kind and care for yourself, you and those you love deserve it! Tangle daily!

    LaJuania on

  • Being on the autism spectrum, there have been many challenges in my life. While incorporating other crafts into my self-care menu, getting involved and growing to love Zentangle and the entire process is what has meant the most to me. The inner calm of practice almost never fails to replace harried thoughts and unwanted mental patterns. There is a “go bag” that leaves the house with me, including a few tiles and supplies. I have been known to take it out in a restaurant if so moved! And for me, nothing is better than sitting on the porch, and drawing out a tile.

    Ginger White CZT34 on

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