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Free Coloring Pages for Relaxing & De-stressing

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by Heidi Hanson

artist, writer, trauma survivor

Calm down and color!

I’ve been working on some coloring pages to include in my book of self-healing exercises for PTSD.

I’ve finished this one design and added three different backgrounds. I have another design I’m working on of fish underwater which I will add to this post if I can finish it.

1. Coloring Page “Breathe” with Simple Striped Background

This is the basic, simple version of this coloring page design. You can decorate the oval frame any way you like or just fill it in with one color:

Free Coloring Page "Breathe"

2. Coloring Page “Breathe – Japanese Background”

This one has a background of Japanese circle/wave imagery:

Free Coloring Page "Breathe - Japanese Background"

3. Coloring Page “Breathe – Fun Background”

The third one has a fun checkers and polka dot background:

Free Coloring Page "Breathe - Fun Background"To download one of these coloring pages, click the image. When it opens by itself in the window, right click the image (you don’t need to zoom in but you can if you want it will work either way), click Save As, and save to your computer. This is a letter size jpeg file so it should print correctly onto letter size paper.

About These Coloring Pages

This particular piece of artwork for coloring is a reminder to BREATHE. Yes, behind all the trees and vines there is the word BREATHE. When you color it in you will be able to see it! When you’re done you can hang it up as a reminder to stop whatever you’re doing and take some deep breaths.

This drawing also contains reminders of “containment.” The leaves are surrounded by three layers of containment. The oval frame is a container for all the vines. The flower petals of the flowers in front are held within a shape as well. I emphasized this “containment” feature in this piece but the fact is all coloring pages have dependable, unbroken containers in which you color. I feel that this is a subtle reminder that we can become safe and contained both physically and emotionally.

This artwork was inspired by the beautiful font “Mama Love” by dcoxy, which has the ends of vines intertwined into it. I expanded those vine ends into complete vines with leaves and flowers. I give thanks and gratitude to the font creator artist dcoxy for this font.

The beautiful Japanese patterns are from “peterplastic” on Brusheezy.

If you’re going to do some coloring here are some tips:

Coloring Tips

1. Have a coloring party – it’s more fun with a group!

2. It doesn’t matter what color you put where. The main point of this activity is to focus and settle, allow your breathing to slow and find a peaceful natural rhythm, relax neck and shoulders, and forget for a little while about all the stress. After you get more experienced coloring, then you can choose sets of colors that match or that you really like before you begin, if you enjoy the aesthetics/beauty of the activity as well.

This coloring page is actually the first coloring page I have colored as an adult, so I’m just learning the ropes and coloring “at random” until I start to get the hang of it. I’ve colored in parts of four printouts so far and I’m just starting to get curious about what colors to put with what other colors, but in a kind of gentle way. The point is not to stress about anything, including what colors to use. I’ve been just jumping in with random colors I like. Honestly, anything goes as long as you’re relaxed, focused and breathing calmly and naturally. This is not grade school; there is no teacher or grade involved; it’s just to chill out. Here are my first beginnings of coloring:

Free Coloring Pages for De-stressing

3. You can color over colors with other colors! It just creates a new color.

4. Lines Shmines. Sloppy Shmoppy. Allow yourself to be sloppy if that’s where you’re at. And allow yourself to be tidy and careful if that’s where you’re at.

5. It’s fine to leave white spots if you want to. Things in the world are colored white too!

6. If you do find you want to create a “palette” of colors and see what happens, this is a fun tool to play with.

7. Remember to breathe while you color. You can even count in-2-3-4, out-2-3-4 slowly.

8. Listening to calming music or nature sounds while coloring makes it even more relaxing.

9. Even better, going outside in a park or yard can add some grounding to your coloring activity.

10. For intricate designs like this one, I recommend using sharpened colored pencils. You can also use watercolor or thin markers but it may warp on plain paper – printing on a thicker paper would accommodate them better. You can use glue and glitter as well if you want, just use a thin bit of glue so as not to warp the paper too much. I like metallic colored pencils as well.

Enjoy coloring!

…and always remember to Breathe!

For more free coloring pages, check out my Pinterest Page “Coloring Pages.”


Heidi Hanson is an artist and writer in Asheville, North Carolina currently working on an illustrated book chronicling her journey healing from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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