How Creative Hobbies Can Help Prevent Ill Health
“Do you find yourself craving a little creativity in your life? Turns out, tapping in to that creative energy can actually improve your overall health. It might sound too good to be true but engaging in creative behaviours (even simple tasks like colouring in) improves brain function, mental health and physical health (Forbes 2019)”.
Our personal mental health is so important, and we often overlook it as we have such a fast paced life. Many of us often keep on going until we either reach burnout or we fall ill. This isn’t a healthy way to live and I can honestly say I have been there myself. It’s taken me a long time to work out how to truly look after myself, slow down, recognise the signs of when I’m pushing myself too hard before I reach that burn out cycle.
I’ve also recognised I need creative hobbies and experiences in my everyday life, this for me is my ‘self care’. I truly switch off when I’m taking part in a creative activity like art, gardening or making something for my home. I fully get immersed in the experience and all the busy thoughts that are flowing through my brain switch off. This is one of the reasons why I took up upholstery as a hobby. I loved going to my little workroom to work on a project, put the radio on and leave the worries of the day behind.
I wanted to share another story with you. Helen Hill, founder of Unlikely Genius, experienced one of our upholstery workshops in September 2022. I had previously met Helen at a work weekend away. We instantly hit it off chatting about our love of crafty experiences and she said she would love to come and experience upholstery and she did. Helen’s a busy lady running multiple businesses and award winning author of Falling of the Ladder.
Here, Helen shares her story:
“I’ve been involved in crafts and participated in workshops every now and again, but I can safely say that I had never previously made anything as big as a footstool!
Speaking frankly, Emma’s upholstery workshop came at the perfect time. I was feeling burnt out and overwhelmed from running three businesses, as well as from putting in stupid hours at work.
I even turned up with a laptop and planned to sneak in the odd email; however, I was so engaged with the task in hand I didn’t look at my laptop at all! The atmosphere was so calm in the chapel… ‘Restorative’ is the word.
What Emma did particularly well was to manage everyone’s working speeds effectively. There were moments where I could step away from the workbench and play around with my camera whilst I was there… Something I love and haven’t done in ages.
My biggest take-away was the headspace. The whole experience made me step back and reevaluate how much I have done and how much I missed taking time out from work. I had this moment of realisation: ‘If I am going to be on my laptop, then I should enjoy the things I am doing’. The week after the workshop, I ended up sacking two clients!
Working with the materials and tools also made me appreciate how much I miss my physical crafts. It made me want to experiment more with weaving and reignited that desire within me to try different things. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to book that kind of crafting experience at least once every three months, and I’ve even thought about making a footstool for my mum!
I didn’t tell my other half what I was doing. I just turned up at home with my ‘make’. When I walked in, he said: “That’s a proper, really nice footstool! It’s allowed in the living room…” That’s the biggest compliment I could get!
I hope this story has inspired you to make some time for yourself, maybe even explore starting a creative hobby if that is the right thing for you.