This is maybe a bit of an odd post for my blog. It’s not about kids or family or autism. It’s actually about me and a strangely beautiful little colouring book. I started writing this a few weeks ago but have only just gotten round to finishing it off, being back at work is getting in the way!
I’ve never really been one for being into fads and crazes. I tend to do my own thing and to do things because I like them, rather than doing them because I think I should or because it’s what everyone else is doing. So, when I read about adult colouring books I assumed they were of the same ilk; just a fad, a passing whim. Not for me, I thought. Why would a grown-up want to spend time colouring in? That’s a kids task, right?
When my sister-in-law bought me a mindfulness colouring book as part of my birthday present (and she even bought me a lovely set of crayola colouring pencils for me to use to colour it in!) I was a bit sceptical about it. My first thought was, when will I ever have time to colour in? Why would I want to and what could I possibly get out of it? It sat in a drawer for a few months as Christmas preparations, baby stuff, birthdays, life and work got in the way. Fairly recently I came across it again. I almost decided to give it away but changed my mind and chose to give it a try.
Well, I have to say I’m a convert. It was actually really peaceful and relaxing to do. It occupied my mind and stopped me worrying things to death and planning to distraction. For a few minutes I felt calm. I don’t get much time to myself and if I do I usually use it to try to catch up on some of my million recorded programmes or watch a bit of Netflix. I find these things relaxing; a bit of down-time. It’s a very rare commodity in our house. This activity was so different. The tv programmes or films require some level of active thought and a bit of interaction to follow the story. The colouring book does not make such demands. It merely soothes and calms as you gently colour the little sections and drift off into a peaceful and tranquil state.
For someone like me, who is always on the go, who can’t actually sit still without pondering what’s up next or the list of things that are still unfinished or need attended to, who’s brain can’t switch off and truly relax; this is a highly engaging yet detached activity. It’s proper down-time. I imagine it’s a bit like meditation (though can’t be sure as I’ve never had enough free time to try this option!) It also has blank pages for your own doodles, which is great if you just want to let your artistic talents run away with themselves (as you can see mine is still blank!)
I have really enjoyed my colouring book and not in a child-like way. I’m also not going to go in for all the cliched, zen-like comparisons to describe how it felt. I will however say that it is the only thing in a long time to have truly given me a sense of relaxation, a time to separate myself from the reality of life and just colour-in. No forethought required, no analysis of what I need to do or have done; just me, some pencils and a picture. It’s amazing how such a little thing can be so great at helping to unwind and de-stress. If you can find even a couple of minutes in a day to try it, I would highly recommend!
(I have not received payment or product for this post. I just really liked my colouring book and wanted to write about it.)