In the midst of our busy lives, it is easy to get overwhelmed and disoriented. There is so much that we are expected to do by society, and then there are expectations we put on ourselves. If, like me, you are also a person who strives to do her very best in everything and wants every job done “right” then there is even more pressure at every turn. I’m watching my 11-year-old recently feeling so overwhelmed that she doesn’t know what to do first, or what to do next, or what she even needs to do! We have deliberately not taken on too many activities this year as she finishes her last year at primary school and has a school leadership role. She has only one sport and one musical instrument in a society where many kids have 5 or 6 activities beyond school work. But I can see her struggling to study and practice, so we are proactively starting to teach her coping strategies. We really want to teach her how to deal with her worry and overwhelming feelings now before she hits the even higher pressure environment of high school. One of the strategies that I have learnt has worked for me in coping with life and it’s demands is to ensure that I have time out to do things I enjoy. It feels like time out “for me”, but it only works if I spend that time doing something that makes me happy. Hence I write a blog about sewing and crochet and quilting – some of the things I enjoy doing and help me slow down each day. My latest activity is colouring in. I know this seems like a kids’ craft activity but there are more colouring books appearing for adults with beautifully detailed drawings. I had seen them around and I know they have been associated with the mindfulness movement, so when I was in the bookstore recently with my kids I picked up this beauty: Secret Garden by Johanna Basford. (affiliate link) The illustrations are gorgeous, the detail incredible after years of only looking at children’s colouring-in pages. The pages are beautifully thick so I’ve been colouring with Faber-Castell Connector Pens without any seepage to the next page. We have a huge 100 tub of these so I grabbed them to get myself going, but I also want to colour with pencils at some point. For now I’m just getting started and making myself sit quietly as I colour. It is a great opportunity to sit with the kids while they do homework, or on the couch while they are practising their clarinets. (Yes, we have two clarinets at our place. Yes, it is kind of loud sometimes.) But mostly I’m trying to spend my colouring time thinking, reflecting on my day and things that have happened. Yesterday I worked through my feelings about an email that was not so nice from a reader, and that was really valuable time. I can see this being a new crafty love! If you’re curious to see more of this book or Johanna’s other book, Enchanted Forest, click the pictures below to take you through to Amazon where you can “look inside” them. I’ve also linked to the Connector Pens that I’ve been using.