Being Happy #2

Just as I have been a slacker with Pinterest I have been a slacker with my New Years Resolution.  But….I am vowing to get back on track. The second activity in my happy book was about hobbies.

This was called when hobbies attack. Often we start a hobby to have fun or because it takes away stress.  But sometimes hobbies can backfire and make us even more stressed The book gives the example of taking up knitting but then becoming overwhelmed with Christmas projects.

So the idea is to take a step back and list my hobbies and why the process of creating is something I love.  It’s no secret that at any one time I have a lot on my plate. And usually I don’t mind it, I strive when I am busy but there are times that my hobbies do attack. However, as I created my list and thought about the why I do it – it all made sense and truly did give me a feeling of happiness.

Cross-stitching – as I child my mom taught me how to do stamped cross stitch – she tried to teach me counted cross-stitch but neither of us had the patience for it (her teaching it, me learning it). Whenever a family member or friend was having a baby I immediately went out to find the perfect cross stitch design for them. Every baby needs a bib right? So it’s the perfect gift. One of the stresses that I sometimes felt was finding the right bib for those people who wanted to be surprised. There aren’t a lot of gender neutral options. And it would definitely go in spurts, sometimes I could leisurely work on one or other times there would be multiple projects going – especially for all those friends having multiples. As I think about this craft it makes me happy to know it was something my mom and I shared together. It also makes me happy to do something personalized for the parents to be and shows I committed my time to to something for them.

Crafting/planning for showers – I would call this a hobby. I love to plan and put special touches on the occasion – such as baby shower centerpieces that double as gifts (baby lotion with diapers wrapped around it and a balloon) or photo booth with props with wedding props for a wedding shower. It shows that not only that I want to celebrate your occasion but I want to personalize it to you. Sometimes these might be just little touches you as the honored guest sees; but that doesn’t matter as long the person we are celebrating feels special. The thing is that sometimes I go overboard with the little touches – like when I tried to make clothespins to look like baseballs for a baseball themed event. And that can cause stress when you saddle yourself with so many little projects while juggling the bigger pieces of the event. But to me these little pre-event stresses are worth it when everyone that attends has a good time and walks out with a smile on their face -plus there is always cake at my events. 🙂

Looking at these hobbies above I can see what makes me happy is that I can give my time as gift. I might not be able to give the biggest baby shower gift or throw the most elaborate showers but  I can put my whole heart into these to make them as special as possible. I am happy because I know these things will make others happy. As another bonus I get some “me time” as well. When I am crafting I am shutting out other stresses in my life and focusing on something I love to do. The key is to not let the stress of finishing the bib on time or making sure I have a different centerpiece for each table control my life. I need to concentrate on the purpose of the event and remember why it makes me happy.

Crafting for our home – another hobby I have is making things for our home to put a personalized touch into our decorating. While this can be fun it can be stressful if the project doesn’t turn out the way I think it should. The questions begin in my mind – what will people think of this decor, where will I put this, does it really reflect us? I need to step back and realize that not every project will be picture perfect and that I can always change our decor if need be. It makes me happy to put our own personal touches on our home and this is what I need to remember.

Blogging – I started my blog not really knowing what to expect. It has given me an outlet to say how I feel or just post silly things or even to market special projects I am working on – Trivia Night –APRIL 18, 2015 -GET A TABLE!! But it does cause me some stress, especially once I heard that people were actually reading it! I worried about not posting enough or posting short posts. However, when I look at my blog the overwhelming feeling I get is happiness. I think it helps me stay creative and pushes me to experience more. When I came up with my 50 new things new years resolution a leading factor was that I could blog about it. Also, this year’s be happy campaign blossomed out of wanting to blog about being happy.  The key to keeping this an activity that makes me happy is to remember this is MY blog. I control the frequency of the content and that the world won’t end if I go weeks without a post. I didn’t think I would enjoy writing as much I did and that makes me happy that I found something that I am kind of good at and can develop.

Running – this used to be my nemesis! Several years ago as part of my 50 new things list I tried running and fell in love with it. I have completed countless 5K’s and 3 half marathons.  There is truly a runners high you get from running and completing races. But the training can be stressful and I still experience some self doubt from time to time. You see runners on the trail who are much older then you who are passing you or moms with double strollers running and passing you.  When I see these things I try not to let them enter my head but think about this – I am lapping everyone who is sitting on their couch. I am making a difference in my health one stride at a time no matter what my pace is. It’s easier to do this now than it was at the beginning, but with several races under my belt my confidence has improved. And it’s this confidence that also makes me happy. I am happy that running helped me lose weight, I am happy that running gave me an outlet to reduce stress, I am happy that running has helped me make new friends and I happy that running showed me even though I had an injury I could get back out there!

One of the over arching themes of all these hobbies is that they make me feel productive. I have found that this truly makes me happy, don’t get me wrong I love to have the lazy days where I binge watch Netflix and drink way too much Diet Coke. But this is not something I can do all the time and still feel fulfilled in my life. We all differ in what makes us happy, being busy and doing things for others makes me happy. While it may stress me out from time to time I able to look past those stresses and see the good.

I hope that you have hobbies that make you happy!

~E

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