A light-hearted look at health via needle and thread.
Health isn’t just about eating the right food and exercising. It’s about living in balance physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and nurturing ourselves on all those levels, regularly. Quite recently, I have found a new passion in my life, in the form of sewing, and whilst pinning up a pattern the other day, realised just how good it was for my health. Here’s why ………….
(1) Patience – not swearing at the sewing machine
Sewing has taught me patience, in bucket-loads. When the sewing machine jams for the umpteenth time or I run out of the right shade of green thread (the last 4 things have all been green!!), I know to take a deep breath and just go with the flow. After all, it’s not the end of the world.
Joyce Meyer: “Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
(2) Exercise – where sewing meets yoga!
Amazingly, sewing offers me a fair bit of exercise! I lay patterns and material on the bedroom floor and whilst pinning and cutting, usually sit in a squat position, which has traditionally been a popular resting position for those in the East, and is attributed to the low incidence in those areas of hip problems and arthritis, both of which plague the West. I also invariably find that my pin cushion is in the wrong place so have to stretch for it, and one day this week, decided to drop into a downward facing dog whilst I was at it. Where sewing meets yoga!! All this, together with the repeated arms up and arms down whilst I try things on and adjust iteratively, makes for a gentle workout!
(3) Mental workout – head scratching patterns
I’m currently learning new skills and trying to make head or tail of patterns, which come in their own language. All good stuff for forming new neural pathways and giving my mind a bit of a workout.
(4) Relaxation and mindfulness – slowing down time
Since mastering (1), I find sewing incredibly relaxing and de-stressing. Time seems to slow down, and it’s definitely an “in the moment” activity, a.k.a. mindfulness.
For one thing, whilst sewing, I’m not in front of the PC which has the habit of gobbling up time and making a day disappear at an alarming rate. This is my way of trying to restore days to their traditional 24 hours of 60 minutes a piece!
(5) Sense of achievement – Yay me !!
Whilst surfing the internet I am in reactive, being-entertained, mode. I don’t wake up in the morning with a burning desire to read up about bobsleighing polar bears in the Arctic, but am strangely drawn to an article that pops up in my Facebook feed. Interesting maybe, but a total distraction from what I intended for my day! When I sew, I have chosen to be proactive with my time, and am following my own heart and achieving goals that I have set myself. At the end of the day (or week and then some), I have a strong sense of achievement when I’m wearing a new dress, which I have made with my own hands!! What a confidence boost too!!
(6) Me-time – that elusive creature we all yearn for
It’s a fab way of carving out some precious me-time. I love it. Once I’ve got my head round what I’m trying to do (see – (3)), I can move from my head into my fingers. A bit like dancing, I’m moving focus from intellect to something more heart-based and intuitive, which leads me onto …
(7) Creativity – food for the heart and soul
I think most people are naturally creative in one way or another, to a greater or lesser extent. We just express it differently. I’m not talking Monet masterpiece level, but I think most of us respond to beauty, and feel a sense of fulfilment when we are able to self-express. It may be through how we dress or write, how we arrange a vase of flowers or our living space, or in my case, how I create something from raw materials.
It taps into my flow, which can get stunted by 21st century analysis and logic. Health comes from flow at all levels, and I believe any form of creativity is soul-food, allowing our soul to nurture itself and flow as it should.
Interestingly, I also find the downtime afforded to me by sewing is an excellent environment in which new ideas (not necessarily about sewing) can pop up into my mind, without my mind consciously seeking them out.
(8) Joyful living – something to bring a smile to your face
One of my lovely friends believes very much in doing things that make her joyful. Otherwise, there is no point in doing them. Sewing gives me joy, a much needed emotional booster, and is not just good for my heart but also every single cell in my body, which feels that joy!!
I’m not suggesting you all get out a needle or thread, but do encourage you to find something which brings you lots of joy, with perhaps a good helping of me-time!! 🙂 🙂