We need to stop making our hobbies stressful
When I’m not sitting behind the sewing machine, I work full-time as a psychologist. This is why I every once in a while share a mental health-related post on this blog.
Have you read “6 Reasons why sewing benefits your mental health”? – I think you might enjoy it!
Lately I’ve noticed the sewing blogs quieten down a little. All life seems to take place on Instagram nowadays, which also seems to apply to sewing blogs.
I admit it wholeheartedly – I love Instagram. And there’s nothing wrong about loving Instagram, spending time on Instagram and sharing posts with others.
But the new habit of swipe, swipe, double-tap for a heart and then quickly continuing to swipe really changes the way we absorb information. In just a few minutes we can look at hundreds of projects, ideas, inspiration and quickly tap to show appreciation. Sitting down with a coffee, reading a handful of detailed project posts on your favourite blogs and then taking the time to type up a comment in the end – almost sounds like an inconvenience compared to scrolling through a conveniently condensed feed of pretty photographs.
The result-oriented, ever so efficient way of the world with its clean, neatly arranged flat-lay look has reached Handmade Land.
As I said, I’m not trying to throw shade on Instagram – I love it myself. It’s just a reflection of a far greater process. But I do mourn the slow-pace of the pre-micro-blog era. Not just as a blogger myself, but also as a reader. The result-oriented, ever so efficient way of the world with its clean, neatly arranged flat-lay look has reached Handmade Land. Not a big surprise, but it seems to defeat the purpose in a way, don’t you think?
Last year I’ve written a long article about how sewing can really benefit our mental health. Because, essentially, it’s about being mindful. Being mindful is very important in today’s ever-accelerating world in order to keep your balance and peace of mind. It gives a sense of achievement and helps increase self-esteem.
But what happens when we cut out the process and only focus on the final product? When handmade things must look store-bought (because you can buy things that look handmade, vintage and shabby chic in stores)?
A lot is lost when we squeeze a major project into a micro blog.
Hobbies are super important. Hobbies are there to balance out our stressful working lives. It’s where we find peace and quiet and sense of self. When we start to set the same standards on our hobbies as we are required to do at work, it becomes work. And your work-life-balance tips towards more of a work-work-balance. Once that happens, the stability of our mental health is at risk. Exhaustion, discontent, high stress levels etc. can quickly lead to more severe problems if we do not have something to balance these out.
And not just for mental health reasons – as a psychologist I keep going on about them – but also for the love of the slow-paced manual work that gets completely lost behind a shiny picture of the finished product. A lot is lost when we squeeze a major project into a micro blog, sadly.
We do not see the work involved any more. The hours and hours spent on the smallest little project. The nerves and sweat it sometimes takes. Or even the big-time fails. I have a big heart for big-time fails. We most often do not see those on Instagram. All we get is the shiny end product. It can make us feel pressured and sometimes sets unachievable expectations on ourselves.
I sometimes get overwhelmed by all that content and then lose my sewing mojo completely for a few weeks. What helps me get it back is shutting out the outside (or rather social media) world completely. I sit down in my sewing corner and as slow as can be start sorting out my table, tidying things, looking through boxes, touching and moving about fabrics. I take my time with my projects now. If there’s a couple of weeks (and sometimes months) without a blog post, then so be it. When I feel like it, we go and shoot some pictures of finished garments. Only then it’s fun and I enjoy looking at the images when I edit them for the post.
Do you sometimes get the feeling you “have to sew because you haven’t in such a long time”? You have a sense of fear of losing your productivity or even getting increasingly estranged from your hobby? I get that all the time and then feel really pressured. It’s quite silly, I know, but it happens often.
I now have a rule: hobbies are fun and you only do it when you enjoy doing it. If you don’t feel like it and don’t enjoy it, stop! It’s not work and this is why you are in control and allowed to do whatever pleases you. Don’t worry about losing your sewing mojo permanently. You just need a break, so take it and enjoy it doing other things you love.
A few years ago, sewing and knitting was more or less reserved for the elderly and it seemed an extraordinary thing when someone walked around in their own handmade clothes. With technology taking up more and more of your lives, there’s been a trend of finding a way back to our roots. Of filling the gap of manual skills and manual labour technology left us with. It only seems natural that we found our way back to sewing and knitting and making things, creating things with our own bare hands. We just need to learn to block out all the other things technology left us, too, from time to time. We need to ignore social media looking over our shoulders while we sew or blog or do whatever we love. Sewing is such a big resource of calm, quietness, sense of self and mindfulness. It’s a great way of connecting with others in a meaningful way. It’s our happy place. Let’s not get something in the way of that.
So for the love of blogs (and sewing), take some time to slow down again every once in a while. Don’t let yourself get rushed, pressured to keep up or overwhelmed by content.
What do you think? I would love to know your thoughts and views on the matter! Please share them and leave a comment below.
Now grab a coffee and enjoy your very own Handmade Land.
Stay in touch!