Finding Refuge in Hobbies: 3 Tips

paint-1432766-mSometimes it can feel like a conspiracy.  On top of the business of being a patient (pain and fatigue are a full-time job), there’s so many stressful things (and people) to deal with.  Medical bills and the myriad of financial problems  sick people experience.  Difficult coworkers.  Relationship problems.  We all need refuge from the madness.  Yesterday, I returned to my safe place, painting.  

I don’t get to paint that often.  I can’t paint if I have any paper cuts (because they can lead to infections) and I sometimes don’t have the coordination or stamina to paint (because of my neuromuscular autoimmune disease, Myasthenia Gravis).  I finished my last painting in December 2012.  With this polar vortex winter, I decided to focus on something warm.  Something that would make me smile.  For me, painting allows me to travel to places I may never get to see.  It is an escape.

3 Tips for Making Your Hobby Work:

1959292_596782987073060_1651973263_n1.  Find something that makes you smile:  There are many things I can’t do anymore that I used to do (salsa dancing or cooking come to mind)  but I’m thankful for the things I’m still able to do.  I buy calendars every December and January of landscapes I would like to paint.  That’s how I stumbled on this picture from the calendar, Sunsets 2013.  I have no idea where this beautiful picture was taken but it makes me happy.

2.  Put your phone away:  Yesterday I realized that if I were to vicariously travel to wherever that sunset is, I had to escape the cyberworld that follows us wherever we go.  In our hyper-digital world, we share so much that there are few private and sacred moments .  I left my phone in my room and didn’t pick it up when it rang.  I tuned it out.

3.  Adjust your standards:  If I compare myself to the way I was before my autoimmune disease, painting would be stressful.  Yesterday I told myself that the objective was to have fun–not to create a perfect painting.  To that end, I cut off several inches from the 11 X 17″ watercolor paper making my painting 9.5 X 13.”  This is an odd size but it made the process of painting less intimidating and more fun.   My clouds weren’t as precise as they could be because I wanted to have fun listening to Jessica Sanchez and painting.

1554555_596783173739708_779824320_nI’m very happy with my finished product–it really makes me smile!  When times are hard, I look forward to getting lost in this sunset.  I also sell stationery of my paintings.  If my painting can make someone else smile, that makes me feel great too.

Readers Share Their Hobbies

On Facebook, I asked Fashionably ill readers what hobbies they use to fight stress.  Here were a few of their ideas:

  •  Scrapbooking
  • Making hand-made greeting cards
  • Yoga
  • Knitting
  • Writing
  • Shopping
  • Gardening
  • Reading–one reader even started a book club after getting sick
  • Listening to music
  • Praying
  • Soduku
  • Spending time with grandchildren
  • Playing with pets
  • Singing and/or playing instruments
  • Volunteering

What hobbies can help you manage stress?  Meet other warriors online–“like” Fashionably ill’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fashionablyill 

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–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno

 

JessicaGimeno

Hi, I have five illnesses--bipolar disorder, myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular autoimmune disease), polycystic ovarian syndrome, asthma, and psoriasis. Most of the organs in my body are affected. I'm dedicated to being a stylist for sick women. As someone who has experienced changes in my appearance due to my 12 meds (including Prednisone), I know how hard it can be when your face and body change overnight. (In fact, because of treatment, between 2008 to 2010, I went from a size 0 to a size 10. While I lost the weight, there are permanent changes in my face and body, which I've grown to appreciate.) My blog will also help women deal with other issues like surviving chronic pain and fatigue. Healthy people can also use this blog as a window into what life with illness is like. Let this website be a place where we can draw strength from each other despite our illnesses and find solutions to our everyday challenges!

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