I am currently on my year abroad working in a primary school in Paris, and whilst browsing book shops in French capital over the past few months, something strange has stood out to me - the huge amount of colouring books! No, I didn't accidentally wander into the children's section; with entire shelves devoted to adult colouring books and large displays in shop windows, it seems that France is finding colouring fashionable.
Labelled as an 'anti-stress' activity, the colouring books for adults are being marketed as a means of relaxation. I have fond memories of carefully colouring in pictures when I was young, so perhaps it is the nostalgia of a childhood activity or trying to colour 'inside the lines' that provides a new form of therapy to help us de-stress.
These 'adult' colouring books are designed to be a lot more challenging than a child's copy. All of the books that I have seen have very intricate and detailed designs, and as they are becoming increasingly popular, hundreds more of the books are being published to cater to every taste imaginable. These range from elaborate gardens and royal palaces to city skylines or wild beasts! Even editions of Monet and Picasso paintings are available for you to add colour to.
Wanting to see what the fuss is all about, some friends and I decided to buy an adult colouring book for ourselves. At first it felt naughty doing an activity that I would usually see my students doing, but after a few pages of very neat, silent colouring we started to use our imagination - a purple giraffe with green spots, and a black and white polka dot taxi! It was nice to have a period of relaxation without the constant buzz of my phone and the modern world fighting for my attention.
By doing something out of the ordinary that required patience and attention, for a few minutes I had forgotten about all of my stress and worry from the day, and even stretched my imagination. I even had a pretty picture to pin up in my room. Maybe the French are on to something after all.
What do you do to avoid stress? Do you think colouring is only for children?