I found a great new stress-reliever

A couple weeks ago, I shared how the warmer weather was taking me back to an early-quarantine mindset, inspiring me to do activities like baking and crafting again.

This past week, I tried out something new from the craft store: a painting project.

And not just any painting project (because trying to create a masterpiece from scratch when you are a beginner can be stressful in and of itself), but a paint by numbers kit.

You’re probably asking yourself, aren’t those for kids? To which I say, maybe… but who cares?

The one I picked up was actually a bit fancier than the ones you might have done in childhood. It has more than 30 different colors, more than 1,600 spaces to color and it is on a piece of canvas as opposed to paper.

What I found calming about getting this project started was I could easily (and mindlessly) paint within the lines without having to exert any mental energy on being creative. It felt much more rewarding than scrolling on my phone for hours because I was actually working toward a goal.

It was also forced me to slow down. Some of the spaces are tiny, so I had to take my time to make sure I was keeping things neat. It also took some time. In about an hour, I only got through about two colors. But, I don’t mind – that means there are more hours of stress-relief ahead of me!

How to be more mindful with your phone
What are you really looking for on your phone?

Most of us don’t reach for our phones with intention, writes my colleague Alia E. Dastagir. We reach thoughtlessly, reflexively, craving a satisfaction we believe the phone will provide. The phone is an easy retreat, and it has in many ways helped us access information and gratification, helped us forge and maintain connection. But it has also narrowed the spaces where we seek pleasure and possibility. This shift pre-dates the pandemic, though a year of lockdowns, quarantines, and distancing further limited our engagement with the wider world.

Alia spoke to experts about how to make picking up our phones is a “conscious choice.” Catherine Price, author of “How to Break Up with Your Phone” and founder of Screen/Life Balance said we should be asking ourselves these three questions before picking up a device:

What for?
Why now?
What else?
To read Alia’s full story, click here.

Today’s reads
Disneyland fans, the wait is over: The park has reopened with masks, reservations and more COVID protocols.
If pandemic-era amusement parks aren’t your thing, here’s advice summer road trips.
It’s officially May, which means the ‘It’s Gonna Be May’ memes are going strong. Here’s why the meme became so popular.
Planning your summer reading list? Here are 17 books that are becoming movies in 2021
Girl Scout cookies delivered by drone? A Virginia troop teamed up with Google Wing amid COVID-19
Today’s pet
Meet Panther and Goose.

“This is Goose, the orange cat. My grandchildren named him after the cat from Captain Marvel. His brother is Panther, named after the Marvel character, Black Panther,” writes Veronica Dykas of Gig Harbor, Washington. “They love to cuddle on butter bear.”


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