Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Keep Calm and Colour On

If you've been to your local book or craft store, you may have noticed the shelves filling up with colouring books - specifically colouring books designed for adults. This new phenomenon is becoming increasingly popular as a way for adults to relieve stress.

From personal album
When I initially heard about the idea, I honestly thought it would stress me out. My mom had asked if I was interested in getting one for Christmas. As I have mentioned in my previous posts, I have trouble making time for myself and so I replied to her by saying "no thanks, I don't have the time to colour". I thought that if I were to start colouring a picture, all the other things that I thought should take priority, like school work and chores, would be running through my mind creating more stress rather than relieving it. As I thought more and more about the idea of colouring, I began to ask questions: what book would I choose? What if I didn't like my colour choices? What if I started colouring a picture and couldn't find the time to finish it? All of these questions began to deter me even further away from the idea of engaging in this global phenomenon.

However, as a point of research for my genius hour, I decided to take some time for myself and experiment with colouring and I was pleasantly surprised by my findings. Now if you haven't been able to tell I'm a pretty  fretful person. My mind is constantly racing about the things I need to be doing and things that I have already done, but I can genuinely say colouring was able to shut these thoughts down. The things I thought that would stress me out, like the choice of colour I was going to use or the drawing I was going to colour, actually acted as a way of blocking out stressors in my life, like school and work. While I colour I am just focusing on my creativity rather than the external stressors of everyday life. Taking just a half hour a day to do focus on colouring has actually really helped me in reducing my stress...and I'm not just saying that to jump on the bandwagon!

Check out what Johanna Basford, a colouring book artist, has to say about this phenomenon. Though I do think technology can be a powerful tool in many aspects of our practice and our lives, putting it away for a bit can be a great stress reliever.

I think colouring is a great stress reliever for other students like myself not only for being able to "turn off your brain" temporarily, but it's also pressure free. There's no set time to start or stop, you can do it at your own leisure. You may choose to set aside just five minutes in your day, maybe you'll do 30 like myself, or you can even set aside a page, or section to colour on a given day. It's so flexible which makes it a fantastic outlet for students. It's also a relatively cheap form of stress relief as well. For many students money can play a big factor in the activities we choose to do in our spare time. School is expensive, along with car payments, rent, groceries and other life expenses that add up. 

When you colour you can choose to purchase yourself an expensive book and professional pencil crayons, or you may choose to pick up an inexpensive pack of pencil crayons at Wal-Mart and find some free online colouring pages. Try Zen and Anti-Stress colouring pages for adults or Easy Peasy and Fun's adult colouring pages - these sites have a number of choices ranging from simple designs to more complex. 

Even if you're apprehensive about it, give colouring a try to reduce your stress. You might just be surprised with the results... I know I was! 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome progress here Lindsay! I am often overwhelmed with life's demands, and taking time to focus on a creative task (like colouring) can be difficult to "fit" in. But not taking the time to decompress can make balancing everything more difficult since we risk being overloaded by doing so. Great work here! :)