Mental Health

Wholesome Content*: Colouring Between the Lines

Sometimes the only thing I want to do is come straight home from work, make a cup of tea and sit on the sofa doing my colouring. This isn’t a euphemism for a heinous new sex act, I’m afraid. I actually mean colouring shit in. On my phone. For hours on end.

Or rather, if I had my way it would be hours on end non-stop but my wrists start to seize up after the third or fourth picture – and I have to go and shake it off for a few minutes. Which reminds me of the time I got tennis elbow from being on my phone too much. What a modern condition!

So yes, I’ve swapped my first nights in Brighton in LGBT+ clubs, drinking shitty Spanish red straight from the bottle – to colouring in on an app in front of the BBC iPlayer. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. Like most things we really enjoy doing, it is wonderful for good mental health and really helps me relax.

When I first got into colouring, I did it the traditional way, I bought a mindfulness colouring book and some fancy-arse felt-tips, and it was good. I upgraded to a rude one that had pretty patterns curling around the ‘C’ word – that was the one I had to hide at work.

But I’m a weird perfectionist in no other area beyond this one – if I made even the smallest mistake, if I slipped and went outside the line, or the flow of the felt-tip stroke was off – then I had to start a new one.

This means somewhere on my desk are half a dozen colouring books with half-finished pages in them – it’s a terrible waste. And then I found my app.

We (the Happy Color Massive) get ten new pictures a day and often, for an extra special treat, I will save up a couple of days’ worth so as far as the eye can see I have fresh drawings to paint. There’s no freedom in colouring this way, the colours and where they go are decided for us – but I kind of love that structure in my life.

You never know how a picture is going to look until you’re finished. Sometimes you can doubt it will be all that and then – boom! – a highlighter or a dark outline comes along and it turns out perfectly.

You can’t go over the lines because you’re just tapping sections on the screen, so you don’t get ink on your new mani. The colours never run out and the app is 10% free – unless they release a very rare colouring pack – there hasn’t been one of them for a long time.

If you ever wonder about your life and how maybe you need to get one – remember this post in which I managed to type just under 500 words on the joy of colouring in. And you’ll feel better.

What are you doing to relax?

*Guess I’ve got a new series featuring all my favourite Wholesome Content then!

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