Sunday, January 11, 2009

Finding a Hobby

There are all sorts of suggestions out there of how to help contain the symptoms of depression and anxiety. One of the things that I have found helpful is to find a hobby that accomplishes something. I like to know that I can do something and get better at it. It also helps me feel like I can accomplish goals completely unrelated to my disorder. I have tried some that do not work for me at all. Either I find it more stressful than I do relaxing, I find that learning it through trial and error is too tedious, or what I thought would be fun just isn't. However, I didn't give up. I kept looking for something that I could do to relax in my spare time that would not involve becoming a bump on a log or endlessly looking at the computer and getting lost in some meaningless website.

I found something that I can enjoy and that works for me. I love to crochet. I love to make blankets and I am hoping to branch out to different things once I master being able to keep my sides straight and my rows consistent. It is a lot harder than you think to accomplish those two! I have enjoyed making blankets for my husband, as presents for different people, and even a very cute scarf to keep me warm in the wintertime. The other thing that I have found with this hobby is that I have an outlet for when I have nervous energy. When I feel like I am going to crawl out of my skin with anxiety and that I just need to do *something*, I can grab my crochet hook and start making something. This accomplishes two tasks. It allows me to do that *something* that I feel that I need to do and it allows my mind to focus on something other than myself. When I am anxious, I tend to turn inwards. When I am crocheting, I am thinking about the person that is going to be using it. I think about the colors I chose for that person and how much it will help them on a cold winter's day or night. This helps my feelings find a different focus than on the current crisis, whether real or exaggerated. This has helped me cut down on the anti-anxiety medication a great deal.

I also hope to start writing notes and letters to my family. Yes, I know, it is so much easier to get on the computer, type something up, and hit the send button. But, it takes so much more thought to sit down with some nice stationary and talk to the person using a pen and paper. What's even better is that the person getting the letter gets something in their mail besides junk mail and bills, which is always a nice break!

I know that these are rather girly hobbies, but hey, I am a girl and that's what I do. However, this does come with a good piece of advice. Get a hobby. You might find that you're anxiety goes down, too!