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MOVING THE BALL: THE IMPORTANCE OF HOBBIES AND CREATIVITY
Not everyone has a job where they are able to do things that dig into their passions and creativity, and this can really hinder our spirit and even liveliness. Having hobbies with goals and originality can help tap into our own uniqueness and ability to share ourselves to the world.
The energy of our bodies mimic how we think we are feeling; if we want to slump down into the couch then we will have less energy and will be more willing to do so. If we want to go out for fun with friends then our bodies will get excited and have the energy to do so. As someone who works from home, I need to get inspired by everything I do or else I won't have the stamina to do anything.
Recently I have been trying to come out of a summer lay-in-bed-all-day cold, and without a traditional job to go to and force me to get up, dressed, and moving, I wasn't sure how I was going to do it. And then I realized how similar it is to my everyday problem of gathering the energy to do something. Just do it, that is the real answer. So I showered, put on real pants, and put myself to work.
Sometimes to get better, we just have to realize we're not sick anymore. And when it comes to depression, it can be incredibly powerful to understand that we are just going through the motions and symptoms of something perpetual. If we want to go lay down, and then do, it will always like something we want to do.
In living with someone who constantly has something fun they want to do, my boyfriend with his video games, building drones, and ten other things, I recognized that I needed something like that. A hobby that I could envelop myself in that wasn't just working or cleaning. Having a hobby that we can be passionate about is something that can be crucially helpful to curb depressive behaviours.
What I decided to do was the hobby that I distinctly remember enjoying when I was in middle school and high school, bracelet making. Taking long strands of embroidery floss and creating something beautiful with it. I have also dipped my brushes into paints in trying to find a hobby that calls me. And then I finally found a piece of what my boyfriend has in his hobbies, a piece of passion that I hadn't felt in a while. And it was because I decided I was going to be excited about what it is that I am doing.
After getting into one project, my brain naturally started filling in its holes. I was getting ideas for so many things that I had to write them down as to not forget. Once I started moving myself and my creative juices, I felt a shift in my being. In my attitude, in my behaviours, in my speed. I no longer want to take two hours to make dinner because I finally found something else that I want to do. Or to watch my boyfriend play video games just to pass the time. I found me again.
Without jump-starting this process, I would probably still be content watching TV for hours but now I feel urges to actually do things and sometimes not even with the TV on in the background. I can get so into what I am doing that I don't notice Hulu asking if I'm still there, and then I don't want to move and just ask my Alexa to play music. And then bam, we are working to music.
Often times we feel like nothing sounds like fun because laying on the couch sounds better than doing anything else, or worse, laying in bed. But this is only because we allow ourselves to feel good by doing nothing; it's not that we have to tell ourselves that we should feel bad about lounging, we just have to remind ourselves that there are other things out there that are a lot more entertaining as well as life full-filling.
There are probably millions of different hobbies out there. Mine include writing, painting, embroidery, and the list just keeps growing as I keep coming up with more and more ideas. I used to tell myself, "It's not a party unless there's laundry in the wash!" But now I have a new mantra, "You can watch TV but keep your hands busy," and this has helped immensely. I am not exempt from the error of distraction but I always snap myself back to my mantra during faux commercial breaks and this has proved incredibly useful.
Whether it be distractions or depressive weights pulling me down, repeating personally-set mantras can be especially beneficial. And in working from home, mantras are my lifeline to productivity. There are no bosses here to tell me to get to work and there are no moms here to tell me to clean the dishes, there is just me and my responsibilities. By being both my own boss and mom, it's hard to forget to do much of anything. And chores aside, this has to include my own happiness via having hobbies and creating things.
If life were like a giant marble ball, it is easy to see why we all slow down from time to time. It is heavy, hard to push, impossible to control, and all-around overwhelming. But like a giant marble ball, once you give it a good, strong push it is going to be really hard to stop it. Moving through actions will become more and more organic because the ball is already in motion. And then like a weighted ball going down a hill, stopping it would be difficult and, in this case, counterproductive.
Push the ball, start with something small, and formulate personal mantras that work for you. Getting back into motion was probably one of the most challenging things I could choose to do this summer, but four or five projects later and I am back to being the creative person that I was before college and for that, I would do it all over again.
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