last supper
Cross stitch, Life

How a Hobby Helps You Stay Healthy

Do you have a hobby? Most people do. Some of us find a hobby early in life and continue it for years while others of us dabble in different things here and there. It’s also possible to do both! Did you know that having a hobby represents a creative and relaxing outlet that can help curb anxiety and depression while keeping our brains healthy? Hobbies are important for our health!

I have had many hobbies in my life–everything from collecting different things to crafting to oenology. The two that have seemed to stick with me since a very early age are reading and cross-stitching.

From Precocious to Voracious Reader

I learned to read when I was 4 years old. My father used to make me read the newspaper to friends and family; he was proud of my prowess at such a young age! Luckily it wasn’t only a sign of my intellect; it became something I loved. I still read every single night, finishing upwards of 50 books a year. I read everything from non-fiction to fiction, self-help to career and industry publications, YA to historical romance. I love it all! Reading is a way for me to wind down.

A great book or engaging resource transports me away from my current view and allows me to step out of my life for a bit, whether it’s 10 minutes or an entire Sunday afternoon.

A Stitch in Time Saves Everything

I come from a line of cross-stitchers. My grandmother stitched. My mother stitched. I now stitch. I learned when I was only 10 years old, creating small ornaments and tiny patterns from my mom’s Dimensions collection. I stitched a lot through high school but college created a bit of a hiatus for me. I picked it up again later in life and have been going strong ever since. I was inspired by my grandmother’s careful, precise stitching. The back of her projects were so neat and clean, something I have yet to accomplish myself! She always had a spot on her couch with her work nearby. That was where she worked daily on whatever piece she was preparing. She did them for herself and for gifts.

My mom was also always stitching something. She made Christmas stockings for all of us, a trend I continued in my own life. She also was always finding something to stitch as a gift, whether for a new baby, a grandchild, or her own children. Now that they both have passed, I continue their legacy. Having inherited all their floss, patterns, and accessories, I have quite the collection of resources! I have stitched everything from small gifts to the Last Supper (that got me through the pandemic!). There are pieces hanging in our home, too. Cross-stitching isn’t a common hobby in my small circle of family and friends. I use that to my advantage, enjoying making gifts for others. In the recent past, I’ve created coasters, bookmarks, and small, framed pieces for holiday or birthday gifts.

Stitching relaxes me. I know it may sound crazy to those who know how counted cross stitch is done, but it does! I try to stitch a little each night before going up to read before bed. The two hobbies together make up my down time. I love having something I can do that isn’t related to work, and that allows me to just be around my family in the evening. Lots of times the pets surround me, the fire is on in the fireplace, and one or more of the kids is nearby doing their own thing. It’s a wonderful, comforting atmosphere.

Hobbies for Health

Consider your hobbies. Do you have them? Are they are way to help relax you? If not, I encourage you to explore what you enjoy and find something in the way of a hobby that you can regularly participate in. Common ones include gardening, playing sports, vacationing, learning a new skill, or crafting. Find one that is exciting to you that you can use as an outlet for relaxing. You’ll be glad you did!

2 thoughts on “How a Hobby Helps You Stay Healthy”

  1. I want to believe this is true, but I suspect it’s only temporarily true. My hobby (writing) has been frenzied for the last six months and I have not had a depressive episode in that time. But I wonder if it’s just that i’m distracted and too busy. And when the frenzy abates, my old friend will be waiting for me. I don’t know, but it’s something I fear.

    1. One day at a time. Don’t think so far ahead and enjoy the moment and the writing process. THAT is how a hobby helps your health.

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