The art of coloring is no longer a fond memory from our childhood. Buy yourself a coloring book that interests you, grab a set of colored pencils, and go to town. Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore.

The art of coloring in the lines is an effective tool for relaxation. When you sit down and color, your focus lies only on that activity. This type of focus pushes the stress in your life aside when pencil (or crayon) hits paper. You tap into your creative side and activate your imagination through your color choices and even choice of coloring page.

The Women’s Center encourages mindful stress-relief techniques. In our welcome kits for the orientation resource fairs this summer, we included coloring cards with bonus stress-relief tips on the back of the card.

Print out our coloring cards  and give them a try for yourself!

Maybe you don’t have time to sit down and color today. Do you really think you can’t possibly take time to decompress? Try our suggestions for relaxing when you’re limited on time. And find time to color another day.

2 minute stress relief

You only need 2 minutes to:

  • Get up and stretch!
  • Let your mind wander
  • Look out the window
  • Draw a doodle
  • Say no to taking on a new responsibility
  • Spend time with your pet (or ask your Mom to text you a picture of your pet)
  • Compliment yourself!
  • Stop what you’re doing and take a few deep breaths
  • Acknowledge something you accomplished that day
  • Share your favorite joke or internet meme with a friend

5 minute stress relief

Between classes you do have enough time to:

  • Put on your favorite song (don’t be afraid to sing along!)
  • Go chat with someone
  • Jot down your dream from last night
  • Hydrate!
  • Watch the trailer for a movie you recently heard about
  • Take a snack break and eat without distractions
  • Read or watch something that always makes you laugh
  • Get up and walk around your area
  • Write down the things you’re looking forward to that week(end)
  • Instagram something that looks cool

10 minute stress relief

In the 10 minutes it takes to worry about school, you can give yourself a break that leaves you ready to tackle your work. Try these:

  • Write a journal entry or blog post
  • Call a friend to catch up
  • Clean out your inbox or backpack!
  • Find and put on a playlist you can groove to (and groove to it)
  • Step up your doodle-game:  draw a cool picture
  • Visit your favorite blog or website
  • Strategize your day. What’s left to work on? What’s left to look forward to?
  • Go outside and get some fresh air
  • Read that article you keep seeing people post on Facebook

30 minute stress relief

Even if it’s only once a week, you’ll be glad you found the time to:

  • Exercise!
  • Grab lunch with a friend or fellow Club Clem. member
  • Light reading and a treat in a coffee shop
  • Go for a walk around Grounds or hang out on the Lawn
  • Check out the shops on the Corner
  • Enjoy the Women’s Center’s Room to Breathe
  • Watch an episode of your favorite show
  • Take a power nap (preferably not in a library)
  • Have dumplings. They’re worth the wait!
  • COLOR!


Read one U.Va. student’s perspective on “Why Shutting Down is as Important as Powering On” on our Iris Magazine site.