Posted in self care

Self Care (iv)

Domestic Abuse is such a weak term for what it is.  For me, the word domestic conjures up household pets, organised homes, and, for my granny’s generation, service in a wealthy house; it’s also a term police used to use for a quarrel between spouses – one they did not take seriously, and rarely intervened.  Those of us who have experience of domestic abuse understand the chaotic, terrifying, grinding reality.  There are many terms used to try to name this reality:

  • Gender Based Violence (GBV) – violence resulting from the perception that women are the property of men to do with as they please; this has been prevalent for millennia. GBV doesn’t capture the lived experience and feels like an academic or legal definition.
  • Domestic Abuse – reinforces the idea that women are property, conjuring up household vandalism
  • Domestic Violence – is closer to the mark because it names the violence women experience, but what about those of us who have never been assaulted, and still live in terror, with limited power over our own decisions and actions; those of us who are financially violated, like the woman who is the only earner and carer in the family with a partner who contributes nothing, but expects everything?

There’s no adequate term, so I’ve opted for Domestic Abuse because it’s an umbrella term covering all forms of power and control.  When we leave an abusive partner, we are at the greatest risk of being murdered – in the UK, 2 women a week are murdered by a former partner.  This indicates the level of stress women are under as they leave, and self-care is essential.  I remember feeling like I was being ground down juggling all the plates I was trying to keep in the air, and was often desperate for a breather.  Constant vigilance about our safety and the well-being of my children meant having a mind flooded with concerns and responsibilities; finding ways to rest from this was essential.  One activity took me back to childhood.



We all have experience of colouring in line drawings as children; it was a relaxing activity in a busy classroom helping us let go of our worries about spelling and mathematics, and an absorbing activity on rainy days.  How often have you, as a grown up, sat in Pizza Hut colouring in the pictures offered to the children with you?  Well, we now have special colouring books with designs for adults and they are, in my opinion, great.  They are cheap, and can take ages to complete – I usually take longer than the 15 minutes we’ve allocated!

Here is a list of reasons why colouring is good for us:


One of the easiest ways to acquire pictures for colouring, when you are near a printer is to download them from the internet.  My favourite tool to search for anything is Pinterest.  Here are some links to save you some time:

Colouring Books for Adults


20 Free Printable Coloring Pages



In the Garden



When you don’t have access to a printer, but you want to colour in, the solution is simple; take a piece of blank paper and start doodling.  Doodling is as absorbing as colouring in, and you can colour your doodle when you finish.


How simple is that?  An easy self-care time-out for you!

4-up on 22-07-2017 at 17.17 #8

And here’s me taking my own advise!

I hope this has been helpful.  Please do comment, and share your own ideas – and don’t forget to share this blog!

Sending peace to you.


PS.  In case you are wondering – I’ve used both the British spelling of colour, and the American spelling of color because I am from the UK and the links are from both countries.




I am a writer and activist in the campaign to end violence against women and girls, often referred to as Gender Based Violence, or GBV. My book WITNESS was published in November 2016 and is available from,,, and all good bookshops. WITNESS tells Sarah's account of domestic violence together with the accounts and reactions of family, friends and professionals involved with her and her children. Extracts from WITNESS are published here. I live in a coastal village in the east of Scotland where I enjoy my glorious surroundings regardless of weather - Scotland is famous for having four seasons in one day! I love exploring ideas and beliefs, singing, reading and family & friends gatherings.

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