I’ve recently started colouring. I know that trend started years ago, ready-made for people like me who are riddled with anxiety, have a hard time relaxing, and thus need relaxing the most. But, I’m usually slow to a lot of trends as I’m more like an 80 year-old man who is set in his way and yells at kids to get off his lawn. It took me years to even fathom the idea that I would wear skinny jeans and now I scoff at any other type of jeans that make my legs look flabbier, shorter and larger, while I wiggle and struggle into and out of my super skinny DKNY denim ensemble.
But, yes, I’ve recently started colouring. When people were freaking out about colouring books and mothers, teenagers and stressed out students were doodling in expensively crafted books made just for adults, I dismissed the idea and figured they were the same types of people who started pools in the office for the Bachelorette and still watched Survivor. I mean, some of them probably are. My opinion was so high and mighty and so very against it. When I ordered my FabFitFun box and gleefully opened it up – once the post office stopped keeping it hostage – my mood faded and my heart sank just a little to find a colouring book and pencil crayons in my crafted box full of items I was excited to use (see: exfoliator; hair serum; adorable blanket scarf and mug). I shrugged and took it as a loss as you do when you order surprise subscription boxes; you’re not always going to be happy with everything that comes in it, like this one.
I put on my lip stain/primer/gloss, happily used my exfoliator, planned on using the nail polish the next time I was set to paint my nails, and stared at the colouring book. This was about the time we were right in the thick of the Christmas Season and I had been away from the office and working the max of 20 minutes a day during the holiday season. I didn’t think I could be more relaxed, carefree, and happy. But, after being away from the office for a week, my house was clean, I was relaxed, Netflix was caught up on and I was starting to wonder what else I could do with my time (what a problem, I know). So, I flipped open the pages of the book, decided the prints were pretty adorable (points for the nature inspired theme), loved the brightness of the pink pencil crayon and thought ‘what the hell’. I started shading in some flowers thinking it’d be nice to see this cute colour on paper. Time went on, my boyfriend came and went to get food and water and continued on with his own Netflix-marathon. And, still I sat, shading leaf after leaf after flower, huddled in my Hudson’s Bay blanket and feeling…dare I say it…relaxed and happy. My finished product actually looked pretty good and my mood had improved tenfold.
I figured I could jump on the band wagon, I mean, even Vogue has a colouring book! It did feel good to sit and chill out for awhile, not thinking about the next thing that needed to be done or what I was going to do the week – or months – ahead. Sitting on an airplane with nowhere to go, people surrounding you, can get a lot of people feeling anxious. Putting in some headphones, wrapping yourself in a soft blanket and colouring away can take the stress out of flying. With only so many things to do in airport ‘lounges’ (after you’ve read three books and five magazines during one of your long-haul flights, staring at the written word can feel a bit…hostile) bringing along a small colouring book that can entertain you for hours is a no-brainer. Sitting in the middle of the ugly carpeted floor and meditating or doing a few yoga poses is not for the shy; sitting in a chair and colouring, letting your mind feel free and at ease, is.
I was surprised by how relaxed I felt after colouring, and adding a cute book to my carry-on bag is on my next packing and to-do list. I may not be as mindful as when I meditate on a dock or in a quiet room, but it still feels calming. If anything, it gets the creative juices flowing and lets your mind filter through the million thoughts and ideas that are bumping into each other just begging to be let out, sorted and examined.