Color outside the lines

I was at the checkout line today and the guy in front of me was buying a stack of small coloring books. I made the comment that it’s great to see adults coloring too and a little sheepishly, he admitted that half of the books where for him and the other half for her daughter in grad school. Coloring books for grown ups have recently become a very popular option for people in need of a little “me” time. Call it meditation, call it zen, call it personal time. Some people think of it as a passing fad. And who knows? For some people it might be.

I find it lovely. One of the best pieces of advice I got when getting my Psychology license was: “Get a hobby. Your profession is a stressful one and you need a way to unwind or you’ll burn out too quickly”. So I did theatre, drawing, and writing. I may not be a practicing psychologist anymore, but the advice still stands.

You need to find a way to unwind. For some people it’s retail therapy. For some people it’s running a marathon. For some people it’s grabbing a handful of colored pencils or crayons and coloring a page.

These days, my ‘unwind’ moments are rare and far between, but for the most part, I try to write a little, draw a little and when time allows, I bake bread.

Do I do coloring books? I have one and haven’t had a chance to open it yet. Overall, although I’ve done it in the past, it’s rare for me to color what I draw. To me, the catharsis happens in the laying of the line work. I started using pencil a lot in past years, but ink will always be my favorite. Good ol’ fashioned ballpoint pens. I know there’s erasable pens in the market, but I really enjoy those that you can’t erase. I like drawing a couple of lines and knowing that I can’t erase it. I either have to make it work or turn it into something else. I start out with a basic shape (which became a game at some of my workplaces. Yelling accross a room: “I need a shape!” “Square!” “Thanks!”), then just keep adding lines and shapes at random. The resulting doodle can be big, small, pretty, ugly, and usually confusing to anyone but me. I’ve lost the practice of it, and definitely need to get back to it and unwind.
What do you do to relax?


2 thoughts on “Color outside the lines

  1. Kas says:

    I like to read to unwind, but I’ve been reminding myself more and more that I need to be creating and not just consuming. Writing has become that “me time” for me. I write down scenes, thoughts, reading notes, etc. I’ve also started knitting, so when my brain won’t quite work that way, I can still sit down and create something. I’ve been intrigued by adult coloring books, though. I think I may give them a chance and see if I get that meditation feel from them. 🙂

  2. igniteyourcreativespark says:

    I have to admit that I love the idea of adult colouring books but something is stopping me actually doing it. I have tried zentangling and that’s very satisfying but probably mostly lately I’ve become obsessed with hand sewing a la passacaglia quilt. It will take me a lifetime to finish I’m sure but it’s like a kaleidoscope effect, ironically a lot like the Mandala style adult colouring books. I find it extremely relaxing.

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