My new obsession

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook at all lately, you’ll know that I got into colouring this summer. I first saw an article about how it’s the new thing for adults (mostly women), and I immediately knew I’d love it. But I didn’t go out and get a book because I had just spent a bunch of money on sewing. I have this tendency to start projects and not really finish them — you may have noticed this as you’ve followed this blog.

Finally back in July, I was feeling pretty crappy and in need of a vacation from my life and I was staying at my in-laws. I was perusing a Chapters and I just went for it. It had been months since I was ogling these books.

I started colouring and I don’t think I stopped for weeks. Those few weeks I was at my in-laws it was basically all I did every waking moment. I would nap Jack, change him, feed him, and otherwise let my in-laws play with him any other time he was awake. Call it neglect, or self-care, or whatever, this mama got a holiday and it was BLISS.

Most of these colouring books claim they’re for stress, or zen, or mindfulness or whatever. There’s lots of articles claiming about the anti-stress benefits of colouring and why so many people are taking it up. I’ve heard of girls getting together to having colouring parties, and other people like me do it while watching TV or in church (It helps me focus!).

Why do I like it?

1. It keeps my hands busy

I enjoy doing two things at once- watching TV and colouring, listening to podcasts and crocheting, listening to music while cooking. Colouring is a great mix for TV and podcasts because I don’t need to focus so much on the craft, unlike crochet. I may have coloured with a friend while FaceTiming before….


2. It helps me think

One of the surprising benefits for me was how much I ended up thinking and processing while I was colouring. If I sat quietly and focused on the colouring, I would think through hall kinds of different life problems etc.

3. It stimulates my creative side

I’m a creative type who likes pretty things and so this has been the perfect fit for me. It doesn’t require too much concentration (like crochet) and I have all kinds of control over it because it’s easy (unlike sewing. Or it has yet to become as easy as colouring). I was never great at doodling because things didn’t always come out pretty. But I can colour nicely!

4. It’s helping me learn to just be.

As I sit and colour, it’s challenging me because I’m not doing anything important. I’m not changing the world, raising a child OR worrying about not doing these things. I get to sit quitely, enjoy life and beauty, and just be. It’s really good for my soul.
Some of my favourite books are:
It’s pocked sized so its easy to stick in your purse and do on the go. I only have a few more pages and I’ll be done this one!
stained glass 11325250_491167211043419_1419628379_n
This one is based on actual stained glass windows in churches and libraries. There is a legend at the back of the book to tell you where each is from. I usually look up the original on google images and copy the actual stained glass.

Try it out!

Chapters/Indigo have a great selection that you can check out online. And if you’re a dude that thinks it might be fun, don’t fret. There’s one on cities and a new one on Game of Thrones just announced. Or you can find some free printables online to test drive the idea. I prefer using markers but lots of people use pencil crayons (apparently this is a Canadian term? I guess it’s coloured pencils for my neighbours to the south).

Building habits to help you conserve energy


The first time I really noticed a serious lack of mental energy was the final weeks leading up to my wedding. By the week before I was experiencing serious decision fatigue. I was so tired of weighing pros and cons and deciding what was best. It was extremely taxing to do so by that time. Shortly after my wedding New York Times published an article called Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? It was really enlightening. A few minutes later I realized that I was again struggling to have enough mental energy at work. As I evaluated what was going on, I found that I spent a lot of time making decisions. Since I’m in charge of my own schedule, decisions I had to make every ranged from ‘what will I do today?’ ‘what are my priorities’ ‘what should I eat for lunch?’ ‘what should I make for supper?’ on top of having intense meetings with people and speaking more and more in a second language. By November I was really tired of all the decisions I had to make all the time. I’m a really low structure person, so I love the freedom I have in my work, but I was finding it was stealing energy from my most important tasks: meeting with people.

The Power of Habits

Back in October I listed this interview in my weekly must read. It helped me figure out how to manage some of those problems I had last year. If you don’t have time to watch the interview, here’s the key thing I took away from it: your brain actually powers down when you’re engaging in a habitual activity. That’s why smoking is so hard to quit. It isn’t necessarily the nicotine so much as it is the rest your brain gets while doing that habitual activity. I bet you know where I’m going to go with this now.

Developing Habits to Conserve energy

Last year I took a step towards controlling my life and decided to do meal plans. I found that I was so tired after work that the idea of thinking of what to make was just too much, even though I really enjoy cooking! So Sunday evenings I make a meal plan for the week and go grocery shopping on Monday evening after work. Then I post the meal plan in our kitchen so I don’t even need to think. I’ve already decided what was best to eat what day based on what we were doing. Setting aside 30-40 minutes to meal plan and grocery shop every week at the same time saved me a lot of mental stress. It was a real turning point for me. This one switch had a real impact on my life.

Practically speaking

This might mean different things for different people. Some might benefit from the meal-planning idea. Others might benefit from having a set schedule every week at work (if their jobs are like mine) where they have allotted time for their various responsibilities and keep that pattern every week so they don’t have to think ‘what do I do now?’ after an appointment. For business leaders it might mean sticking closely to your Strategic Plan, instead of changing and rethinking it every month. If you focus on executing, you’ll have more energy to do just that. If you’re a mom, maybe the habits that would be helpful to build is a routine/schedule with your kids so you have more energy to deal with their meltdowns.

The point is, when you’re not making 1000 decisions a day about what’s next or what your priorities, you have more emotional energy for the people/things that matter most.

So what about you? What habits or routines do you think would be helpful for you to incorporate in your life/work to avoid decision fatigue or wasting mental energy? Click here to leave a comment.

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