I had always thought that colouring books were for kids. I bought tons of them for my own kids when they were young. Well, let me tell you that I have been introduced to the world of colouring books for adults.
These books do not have drawings of Mickey Mouse or superheroes or Dora the Explorer. These have intricate designs and 1960’s-style psychedelic patterns just ripe for exotic colouring. The title of my colouring book is “Colour Therapy: Anti-stress adult colouring book; colour for peace and relaxation.” Amen.
I use colour pencils and not magic markers, felt tip pens, pastel crayons or watercolour paints. Of course, I use mostly hues of blue, purple and deep greens. I’ve tried to use the pink, orange and yellow colours, but I always end up disliking what I have created and throwing those pages out. So, I stick to what I like and it make me calmer and quieter.
Right now, my nerves are stressed from family stuff and my editing job is overflowing with work. Sometimes, I cannot calm down enough to relax. In addition to increasing exercise, watching the sugar and fats in my diet, drinking more green tea instead of coffee at work and listening to soothing music, I colour in my book. I used to do it only at home, but let me tell you folks, spending your tea break or lunchtime colouring clears your mind. You can think about your work calmly and let your fingers work off the anger, fear, stress, fatigue and mental mush of the day.
When I can’t come up with fresh writing topics or have lost my energy for correcting the horrible grammar of yet another young writer, I colour. I also play computer games and crochet afghans and sweaters and that helps too. But, colouring is something finite and immediately gratifying. You don’t have to ‘beat a level’ to advance or master a new stitch that must be perfectly done, you colour the picture you want, as you want and for as long as you want. Total control over your efforts means ‘calm’ in my world.
Colouring taught me what a Mandala is. Mandela you say? NO…. Mandala. It is a spiritual and ritual symbol in the Indian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, but it has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern. Let me make it simple, it is a swirly, twirly pattern on paper with lots of groves, small curves, lines and circles, heart and amoeba shapes and paisley designs that you can colour with super sharp pencil skills and make a lovely soothing picture.
You can find your adult colouring books at any stationary shop in town. I bought a nice artists’ pencil set from a specialty shop in Klein Windhoek. But, you can get nice colouring pencils from anywhere. As I mentioned before, I am a blue fan and wanted a wide range of blue hues (from sky to cobalt to royal to navy) for my pictures, so I went nuts a bit but, bought lots of pencils. Don’t forget to invest in an automatic pencil sharpener, unless you want to wear out your hand using the manual kind.
Get the colouring book (maybe N$60) and some pencils (N$100 or so, depending on your wallet). Put on some soothing music and go for it.
Here’s an idea! Make it a family-time event. Invite your kids or significant other to colour while lying on the floor with you. They will love it! Frame your final efforts alongside theirs.