I was talking to one of my mentors a few weeks ago, and I was sharing how burnt out I felt. I’d been learning to use my time more efficiently, but unfortunately that just meant I was crowding more tasks into my day. I told him about my 4 different writing projects, my study habits, and my three part-time jobs.
“What do you do for fun?” he asked.
“Okay…what do you do as a hobby?” he offered.
I tried my best to think of something. “I read…before…bed?”
He laughed. “No, Callie, I mean what’s something you can invest in that has nothing to do with work or school?”
I had nothing to offer.
After dozens of suggestions, he zeroed in on something I used to love to do but hadn’t for years: sewing. But we’re on a budget, I protested, and I can’t afford a sewing machine. He wouldn’t have it: having a hobby that I love would dramatically improve my mental health and I knew that. He was right. I did know that.
So with my ridiculously supportive husband in tow, we went and picked up a machine, thread, fabric, and about 10 other items. Aside from sewing a bunch of practice squares, half-circles, and right angles, I’ve made a tote bag, a skirt, and a matching shirt. Even as we speak, a friend is getting the pattern printed for my next project: a jumpsuit (swoon).
I have definitely noticed an improvement in both my mental health and my productivity. I can be really focused on Monday and Tuesday, but by mid-week I start getting burnt out. So I’ve started making Wednesdays my chores and sewing days: laundry and cooking in the morning, sewing for at least two hours in the afternoon. I sometimes sew on other days after a lot of morning cerebral work depletes my ability to think straight. I also try to make some time on the weekend for it.
Why am I sharing all this? Because you need a hobby. I have a hard time doing things just for the enjoyment of them: I should write to bless or to make money, I should study to master content and get closer to my career. I should email and message to help and encourage and do work and accomplish. But sewing? I sew because I enjoy it. I like some of the things I’ve made; others, not at all. I have no goals for Etsy (such a goal would destroy the enjoyment for me immediately). My stitching is often not that straight, and I fold the seam allowance the wrong way sometimes. But there is something re-creational and restorative about that time.
If you’re like me and you fill up your days with lots of good and productive things, I encourage you to find, make, create a hobby that is just for you. Because in helping yourself, you’re both happier and able to help others more.
If you’re interested in sewing, let’s talk! I’ve started using this curriculum to learn and it is so, so wonderful. I don’t know a lot, but I’m happy to guide towards resources that have helped me 🙂