29th January 2017: Day 10 - Colour Me Relaxed?

Today’s challenge was to do some colouring.

No, I didn’t have a childhood that was so deprived that we couldn’t afford colouring books and pens so it isn’t strictly something I’ve never ever done before. Nor can I say it’s something I’ve never done as an adult because I used to find myself colouring while sitting in meetings, usually as I started to get bored and it was usually an unconscious thing, a bit like doodling. I would start by filling in the o’s and zeros and then the loops in the letters and anything else that could be filled in until my minutes, or agenda was just a paper with filled-in blobs. So what I decided to do today was to try what I had seen people doing on trains and sometimes in cafes which is using colouring pens to colour in an adult colouring book. Why not, it’s Sunday, Sunday is a rest day so give it a go it’ll be relaxing.


To me the idea of sitting around colouring in a colouring book seemed like a complete waste of time so it took me forever to get around to it. In fact, instead of relaxing I started to find bits of work to do to delay the moment I would start colouring. Instead of relaxing I spent a couple of hours doing some research I needed to do. Sending a couple of emails I needed to send and watching couple of YouTube tutorials that I needed to watch. So it wasn’t until about 6.30pm that I finally ‘allowed’ myself to do some colouring. And it got me thinking and remembering other things I wouldn’t ‘allow’ myself to do.

I wouldn’t ‘allow’ myself to sleep in past 8am even if it meant I would have to go back to bed in the middle of the day.

I wouldn’t ‘allow’ myself to get a second helping of food even if it meant I went to bed hungry.

Crazy huh!

Anyway I don’t do that anymore. In fact, in the last year I’ve changed my diet completely so that I eat two big meals each day so I’m full – and I lost about two stone. I’m usually up before 8am but if I’m particularly tired I let myself sleep in a bit longer (especially at the weekends) and I have more energy and staying power through the day.

When you work for yourself you have to discipline yourself to do the work you need to do but you also have to discipline yourself to relax and take a break when you need to. My intention today was to relax and have fun and it’s strange that I couldn’t do that.  I guess I see colouring as a child’s activity. It didn’t seem to be a constructive use of my time. But that’s the whole point isn’t it? To spend some time doing something that isn’t necessarily productive (except you do get a pretty picture if you do it right).

I’m sure you gathered that I didn’t really enjoy sitting here colouring in a book and I think it was the context. Because I associate that activity with meetings and being bored I didn’t want to do it because I felt it would be boring. It’s as though the idea of it bored me so much I couldn’t think of anything else to do to relax - watch a movie, maybe or read a book - writing about it doesn’t feel particularly inspiring. But I may have a solution.

There are other times I don’t colour, I doodle, and that’s when I’m listening to something interesting, sometimes it’s in a meeting or my writing workshop and I just sit there and doodle. I’m not bored, I just need something to do with my hands.I don’t like to just sit around and listen to the radio, for instance or listen to music – I’m always doing something if I listen to music – so I could try colouring while I’m listening to something and see what that does for me or maybe not.

Today’s challenge wasn’t inspiring but it’s reminded me of the importance ‘allowing’ myself to do things that are good for me, including relaxing, especially if I’ve been working hard all week. That can be difficult if, like me, you’re doing something you enjoy, but it’s important so I’m going to make time for it.

Are there things that are good for you that you don’t ‘allow’ yourself to do? What are they? Do they make sense? Who told you you couldn't do them? Would your life be easier if you 'allowed' it?

OK, so I’m going to challenge you to try one. Pick one, any one and try it. See how it feels and if it feels good then I want you to try it again and again until it becomes a habit.

Go on, you know you want to.


Taiwo Dayo-Payne