Published by Alison Cram

Categorised in Health & Wellbeing

What activities recall your childhood? Freewheeling downhill on your bicycle, perhaps, with your feet off the pedals and the wind in your hair? Singing along to a tune on the radio while you pretend your hairbrush is a microphone? Jumping into puddles just so you can make a splash?

I’ve been returning to my childhood in recent weeks, ever since a friend gave me a colouring book and set of pencils for my birthday.

I used to love colouring in when I was a kid – whether it was poster paints, felt tip pens or coloured pencils. But it’s one of those activities that you leave behind as you start studying for important exams, getting a job and other grown up things.

So I admit that when I first sat down with the book, pencils and pencil sharpener at the ready, I felt a little silly. Guilty even, at spending precious time off by doing something so childish. I was now a fifty-four year old woman for goodness’ sake and I was colouring in?

My hobbies are often things that have another purpose to them. Going for a walk (healthy), knitting (producing garments and accessories) or gardening (growing flowers and vegetables). But colouring in has no purpose at all, other than to produce pretty pictures that no-one else is going to see.

“Try it,” my friend had said, “I find it really relaxing.”

And you know what? She was absolutely right.

The great thing about a colouring book, as opposed to painting or drawing, is that I’m not confronted by a blank sheet of paper and under pressure to come up with something original. The picture is already there – all I need to do is pick which pretty shade of blue, green or pink I’m going to use to colour in the different shapes and watch the picture emerge on the page.

So what if I’m doing something with no bigger purpose? Turns out that doing something for the hell of it is just fine.

I’d forgotten that. As a carer there’s always something that needs to be done and I’ve lost touch with the ability to do something for the sheer fun of it.

So I recommend getting back in touch with your childhood self – whether that’s with a colouring book, a skipping rope or a ball of plasticine.  Go on, do something for the sheer fun of it!

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