by Christy Gualtieri
When I was in high school, my mom had her own collection of coloring books. It relaxed her, she said, to be able to color just like she did as a kid. Her coloring didn’t look like a child’s; the crayon strokes were smooth and even and inside all the lines, and each filled coloring book came to resemble a collection of real art.
She was also into Tetris. When she’d get home from work she’d take her spot on the chair in the back of the living room, turn on the overhead light above her, and bring out an ancient yellow Nintendo Game Boy. The familiar theme music would fade as she’d mute it so she could hear the evening news, and she’d spend the next hour or so getting to level 100 or some other similarly impossible feat for the rest of us.
It sounds silly, doesn’t it? A woman in her forties taking time out of her days to sit with a 64-count box of crayons or with a handheld video game system that had been released in the late 1980s. But it was a great lesson to me – when life gets stressful, or even for no good reason at all, it doesn’t hurt to have fun.
Take a minute to think back: what did you like to do most as a kid? Was it tinker with electronics? Play video games? Go to the playground? Maybe you liked exploring your own backyard, or sitting in your room with a pile of books. Do you still do any of those things, or do you feel like you “can’t,” or “shouldn’t,” because you’re an adult now, and adults should know better?
I loved reading when I was a kid – still do. I read everywhere: at the dinner table, standing outside the classroom before class started, even on the school bus. But now, as an adult, the weeks in between books that I read now grow longer and longer. It’s hard to find time to sit and read a novel the way I used to, but I suppose it’s not too hard to try to find time for a chapter before bed now and again. I find that when I do, I feel more relaxed, more like myself.
Think again about what you loved to do as a kid, and if you haven’t done it in a while, maybe take a few minutes to give it a try. You might find yourself feeling better about your day – and anything that can take stress away from you can’t hurt, right?
Until next time, be well!
Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at asinglehour.wordpress.com, and tweets @agapeflower117. Follow PghPsych on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, inspirational quotes, articles, and different events and causes related to good mental health!