Art of distraction: Adult coloring books provide escape

At the ripe ol’ age of 15, I often look back nostalgically on my days of school-mandated naptime, the addict-like rush of joy that comes with recess, and most of all: insurmountable collections of coloring books. In kindergarten I was fond of scribbling lines of crayon into the printed outline of Disney princesses and random zoo animals, both inside the lines and out. There has always been something about coloring books that takes an insane amount of focus and determination for a young child, and shoving a crayon into a child’s hand and putting a coloring page in front of them has proven to be one of the most effective ways of buying parents and teachers a few moments of silence.

Even though I am no longer a young, crazy child in need of something to keep me quiet while my parents take a breather, I do still enjoy sitting down at a pile of blank outlines of my favorite animals and characters with a box of colors at hand. As a teenager, there may come a time when feeling content with coloring in the Technicolor dress of a vaguely European princess or the red and blue body suit of an agile superhero gets a little old. Often I would wonder about a somewhat more sophisticated option than the typical coloring book in hopes of finding an outlet for prime time-wasting other than watching entire seasons of the FOX television series, Glee, on Netflix in one sitting. Not soon after my thoughts of an evolved coloring book did my mother come home with a bushel of books in one hand and two 64-piece boxes of gel pens in the other saying, “Let’s color.”

With the craze of the adult coloring book buzzing around bored housewives and stressed civilians, craft stores like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby have prepared their arsenal and filled their shelves with coloring books chock-full of zentangles of everything ranging from famous cityscapes, picturesque under-the-sea and Sahara landscapes, and random circular mandalas all intricately designed to take up lots of time and focus to color.

Of course, some may wonder why these adult coloring books are gaining so much popularity. Sure, they’re fun to do and are a great way to kill time, but aren’t adults busy enough as it is? The truth is, these wildly popular books are a way to destress and distract from the crazy world that surrounds life while also providing a little piece of paradise far away from the hectic lives of busy adults and stressed teenagers.

If you’re the kind of person who dismisses any passing fad as something that seems like a waste of time or just something that kids are up to these days, give adult coloring books a try. Chances are that these coloring books will help with whatever crazy stress you’re dealing with at the time, whether it’s a busy testing season or a calendar full of PTO events, adult coloring books are a great and creative alternative to any other unproductive avenues of de-stressing.