Color Me Fine
Why it’s important to make time for the things you enjoy.
- Written byAlina Orozco
We talk often of improving our diets, getting more sleep and carving out time for exercise—especially in the beginning of the new year. We make resolutions to improve our physical bodies but often neglect to think of improving our psychological health.
And soon enough we are spinning within the vortex of adulthood, inundated with emails, conference calls, family obligations and social commitments. Our lives are scheduled by the hour, with tasks we must cross off our ever-growing to-do list. That’s life, we say to ourselves. And we prepare to do it again tomorrow, maybe more efficiently.
That’s the trouble with adulthood. We’re convinced our precious time is designated only for activities that help us reach our goals, become more productive or yield monetary results. So we stray away from leisurely childhood activities that seemingly had only one objective: They brought us joy.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Now more adults are finding that adolescent activities are exactly what they’ve mistakenly left off their to-do list. That’s right, kid hobbies like coloring are gaining popularity among grown-ups. Countless adult coloring books are now on the market, and Crayola has even put out a special set of markers and color pencils to accommodate the growing trend.
Why are adults choosing to spend time on diversions that might not be the most productive? It’s a great stress-reliever. And besides, hobbies—those things that everyone used to do before Netflix and online retail therapy—are vital for the soul. They nurture our spirit and restore our physical energy.
In fact, hobbies can be so stimulating that a 2015 study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine found that people who engaged in leisurely activities were 34% less stressed, overall happier and calmer. Researchers also reported that it didn’t matter so much what the participants did, as long as it was an activity they deeply enjoyed.
Hobbies are a great reminder that not everything in life has to be about efficiency and productivity. Have you always wanted to learn how to play the violin? Perhaps decorate a cake? Start a community garden?
It’s not too late to take up a new artistic adventure. Actually, it can be a form of therapy no retail outlet can compete with. And making the time to experience art as pleasure can have miraculous benefits on your psychological well-being.
Whichever activity you choose—whether it’s coloring, drawing, sewing, knitting, playing the piano or cake decorating—it’s important to remember the goal is to have a mild distraction, a relaxing and pleasurable activity that doesn’t have to grow into life’s passion or monetary gain. You don’t have to strive to be a soloist at the South Bay Philharmonic or open your own bakery. That isn’t the goal here; your only objective is to make art a pleasure and disrupt your daily routine with a little kid-friendly fun … for a better, less-stressed you.
Alina is a freelance writer and lifestyle blogger published in both national and local magazines.