Stress busting childhood favourites

A woman colours in a book, illustrating the activities that were childhood favourites

Adult colouring books were clearly the mindfulness trend of 2016, but what other childhood favourites could be revived to become the next stress-busting craze? Three IoD members reach for an activity of old to see if it can beat the adult burnout

Emily Garnham reviews childhood favouritesPaint by Sticker book illustrating childhood favouritesEmily Garnham
Media relations and content consultant

What Paint by Sticker, £10.99

To unwind I usually go for a jog in the park followed by yoga or cooking while listening to a podcast, but I am very open to the idea of ‘adult’ crafts as a way of de-stressing. There’s something really therapeutic about making and doing and, as someone who occasionally dusts off her A-level art skills, I can see why indulging in crafts is not just for kids, but appealing to adults exploring new methods of stress relief – although I was once given an adult colouring book by a friend and I’m ashamed to say I’ve never used it.

Little expertise is required for Paint by Sticker – you peel off coded stickers and match them to their spots on a pre-drawn outline, much like paint-by-numbers. For me, it’s neither absorbing nor difficult enough to take my mind off work, as it requires so little concentration. For someone craving an easy task at the end of a stressful day, it may be effective. The completed artworks are striking and the book is well put together, but it is really quite dull to do. This is one ‘kids’ activity for adults that would be more fun to do with actual children.

Emily Garnham is a member of IoD 99

Pam Wilde reviews childhood favouritesStitch and Story knit kit to illustrate childhood favouritesPam Wilde
Marketing director, SSP

What Stitch & Story Luca Pom Hat Beginners Knit Kit, £35

I normally play the piano or run to unwind, so I admittedly felt slightly apprehensive about this activity. I had to learn how to knit from scratch and I wouldn’t normally have thought of trying knitting as a way of relaxing. But the packaging was very appealing, the instructions clear and the video support on the Stitch & Story website was a really nice touch.

It was a bit of a learning curve at first – in fact, to begin with it was more stressful than relaxing – but after a few goes I was more confident and it became more rewarding. I found it was a good alternative method of unwinding. I had to really concentrate on the task at hand and could almost stop thinking about other concerns. I think this activity is a good balance between being easy enough to do without being dull but challenging enough that it keeps your mind occupied. It also has the added benefit of having a practical outcome! The only barrier to this product is the price – £35 seems quite a lot – but if you are happy to make the investment then I would certainly recommend it.

Pam Wilde is a member of IoD West Midlands

Stephen Castell reviews childhood favouritesDot-to-Dot book to illustrate childhood favouritesStephen Castell
Chairman, Castell Consulting

What Ultimate Dot-to-Dot, £6.99

My free moments for mindfulness are snatched at odd times and places. So to carry around such a large tome (37cm by 26cm!) plus a pencil kit would be impractical. No real skills are required for this, but when I tried to ‘dot-join’ I found I’m just too thumb-achingly clumsy, and it was not as relaxing as my usual solo mind recreations of singing, meditation, Sudoku or smartphone games. It’s annoying trying to discern which dot to draw to next from a page covered with tiny crowded numbers.

Admittedly, I’m sceptical when it comes to children’s activities being given an ‘adult’ upgrade as a method of de-stressing, but even saying that this had little appeal. If I wanted to pick up a book to mindfully relax, I’d rather read an ink-on-paper novel. Reading to the grandchildren, of course, transcends almost anything for sheer joy, and helping them do some dot-to-dotting could be blissfully mindful, pleasurable and relaxing. I must try that! But the dot-to-dot trend seems physically awkward and more stressful than relaxing.

Stephen Castell is a member of IoD East of England

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About author

Hannah Gresty

Hannah Gresty

Until she left the magazine in August 2019, Hannah Gresty was the assistant editor of Director. She previously worked on a local news website and at a fashion PR company before joining the Director team as editorial assistant in 2016.

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