The ability to manage stress has long-been touted as imperative for adults. In this fast-paced world we are living in, where our smartphones are always within reach, work deadlines are constantly looming, and the kids need to be driven to ten different places after school, it’s no wonder most adults are bleary-eyed.
Exercise, meditation, listening to relaxing music, sipping on a hot cup of tea, and getting outdoors to experience nature are all excellent ways of de-stressing, but as of late, another fun and effective form of stress-relief has popped up: coloring!
Coloring as a child is a favorite pastime – you’re learning to stay inside the lines, marveling at all of the bright crayons available at your disposal, and beaming with pride as your parents hang another one of your original works of art on the refrigerator.
The whimsicality of coloring still exists as an adult, except you’ve pretty much mastered staying inside the lines, and the patterns are far more detailed and intricate than the giant Mickey Mouse you used to adorn. Adult coloring requires focus – sure, you can be watching a TV show while scrolling through Facebook, but when you’re coloring, you’ve got to give your attention to the task at hand. The aforementioned detailed patterns take quite a bit of time to complete – at least an hour – and in order to do so effectively, you can’t really concentrate on more than choosing your colors and watching them sweep across the page.
Adult coloring can also be thought of as a form of meditation. Perhaps you’re aware of all of the benefits of meditating, but you’re not great at sitting still for more than, say, 30 seconds (guilty!). The meditative-like state you can get into while coloring accomplishes the need to slow down, de-stress, and focus only on what’s in front of you.
Finally, while coloring and zeroing in on a particular pattern, you may find that once you’re finished, another issue that’s been plaguing you all of the sudden becomes much more clear. That’s because coloring allows you to clear your mind, at least for a short time, and once you come out of your coloring daze, you may be able to see the bigger picture.
Adult coloring books can be purchased at most bookstores, as well as craft stores and online. Consider hosting a coloring night with friends, complete with healthy snacks and good music. The combination of coloring and camaraderie could do wonders for your stress level!
Alternatively, if you want to explore the benefits of coloring but don’t think you can turn it off long enough while at home, consider heading out to your local library for an adult coloring night. Deanna DiCarlo, manager of adult & outreach services at Upper Hudson Library System (UHLS) recently stated, “Numerous UHLS member libraries offer adult coloring programs because they recognize coloring’s healthy and creative benefits for adults in our communities, and the library is a perfect gathering space to relieve a little stress, increase focus, or simply relax and color together.”
- Schenectady Public Library hosts a coloring night on the second Wednesday of every month. Open only to those 14 years of age and older, this free event supplies you with the patterns and pencils, relaxing music, and hot beverages. Take an hour and get lost in the pretty patterns!
- Guilderland Public Library also offers coloring for adults. Sheets and pencils are supplied, but registration is highly encouraged, as space is limited.
- RCS Community Library – regular coloring nights are hosted on the first Monday and Tuesday of every month. One attendee, initially resistant to the idea of coloring, came to embrace its stress-relieving benefits during a particularly difficult time in their life, and is now a frequent library user. The coloring programs have been so successful, giant coloring sheets now adorn their front lobby, inviting library goers of all ages to take a moment and color.
- Castleton Public Library – in addition to providing coloring sheets from adult coloring books, gel pens, and colored pencils, the library also provides herbal tea and plays soothing music to create a stress-relieving experience for adults once per month. Library director Melissa Tacke commented, “The participants we have had at our programs have been enthusiastic. Several participants have mentioned that the process is relaxing, and allows them to have some restorative time in their busy schedules. One participant mentioned that it was a fun way for her to ‘feel like a kid again.’”
- Nassau Free Library hosts a coloring event once per month. They will provide the sheets, pencils, relaxing music, and refreshments to help guests unwind.
- East Greenbush Community Library, Voorheesville Public Library, Albany Public Library, Sand Lake Town Library, and Cheney Library in Hoosick Falls also offer periodic coloring programs. Keep an eye out for announcements of future dates.
Check out your local library’s event calendar to see if they offer a coloring night for you to participate in.
To help get you started, we’ve created a coloring page for you to download. Proud of your work? Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, and use our hashtag – #CDPHP!
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