We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Hungry Caterpillar, colouring-in books, finger-printing, the sandbox...
Oh to be little again.
Well, actually, there's no need to magically transport yourself back to Nursery.
Colouring books for adults is now the latest craze. Apparently, the Tate Modern now stocks colouring books for adults, as does Waterstones and Amazon. It may sound utterly ridiculous, but some actually think it's a fantastic idea and have been singing its praises. It's said to be a great stress-reliever.
With essay deadlines looming, I decided to give it a go. (Here's hoping I can colour inside the lines now.)
So I didn't feel quite as stupid as I thought I would. Actually, I got really into it. It definitely helps to relieve stress and focus your mind and concentration. There's also something incredibly satisfying about finishing it. I now have a beautifully coloured garden (or something like that.)
So, I'm not Picasso. But, as someone that often grapples with stress, it really helped. Some have also said that colouring-in is also beneficial for boosting creative thinking. It's good to get out of a static routine and try something new and a little different every now and again. It's also good to get back-to-basics and put that smartphone/tablet/laptop away for half an hour.
If you're stuck on an essay, struggling at work, or just in a bit of a rut, take half an hour and do some colouring-in.
However, if colouring-in for adults just isn't for you, then here are some more tips on how you can reduce stress:
Reading. If you're in the middle of revising or writing essays, then this may be the last thing you feel like doing. However, reading has been proven in helping with stress. The act of reading focuses and concentrates your mind, and a little bit of escapism could be just what you need on the grizzly commute home.
Taking a walk. I don't mean 6am power walking to Kate Bush's Running up That Hill. A gentle stroll outside in the fresh air can be just as beneficial for the mind as more rigorous exercise. Try to take in the sights and sounds around you.
Talking! Sounds rather obvious, but talking your stress through with friends or family can be really helpful. Having to describe and articulate how you're feeling can help you to order and break down what's troubling you, and having someone listen and offer words of advice and encouragement can also help you to feel more relaxed.
Reducing alcohol and caffeine intake. This is not my favourite tip. By any means. But, alcohol is a depressant. That massive glass of wine might make you feel instantly better, but this feeling will soon lift. Alcohol also disturbs and breaks your sleep, and a restful night's sleep is key to easing worries and stress. Caffeine is a stimulant, so whilst you might feel wired and ready to revise and write essays, it can leave you with a racing heart and increased levels of anxiety. If it's just the coffee taste you need, try de-caff coffee. Herbal teas are also great. Try camomile tea as this can help with stress and also can help to aid sleep.
Treat yourself to something. Whether it's something big like a trip away, or something small like a bar of your favourite chocolate, dinner with a friend or a candlelit bath, having something to look forward to can be really helpful in keeping you focused and calm.
Take some time out of your day. It doesn't need to be hours, fifteen minutes will do. Try to reflect and think about the positive aspects of your day. If you've had a particularly bad day, try and think about what you can learn from it.
Lastly, and most importantly, be kind to yourself.
Give yourself a break! Remember that regardless of Facebook/Instagram posts, no one's life is absolutely perfect. Everyone experiences bad days, and everyone goes through difficult and stressful times. Just try to keep this in mind, and remember that tomorrow is a new day.