We're more than just InterWorkers with mad professional skills. We also have hobbies, and this blog series explores what they are and how they help us stay healthy and grounded.
Subtract the rush of busyness and the freedom to gather with other people. Add an overload of technology during the day and a global pandemic. What do you get? A lot of time on your hands and a desire to return to simpler things. This installment of our hobbies blog series presents: cross-stitching.
A Way to Slow Down and Be Present
What is one hobby you really enjoy?
Rachel: Cross-stitching. I’m currently cross-stitching something I’ll be framing for a friend of mine who just recently had their first child.
Above: Karlee’s big box of cross-stitching supplies
What do you find so fulfilling or rewarding about this hobby?
K: Cross-stitching is rewarding because it takes a lot of concentration and time. It is fun to see a project come together knowing you created the entire thing. You can also create anything – witty, funny, encouraging, art, you name it!
R: There’s something to be said for creating something. It’s very therapeutic. Also, this is a hobby that allows me to listen to things at the same time. I’ll listen to a podcast I’ve been meaning to or watch a documentary (I just binged Wild, Wild Country this weekend while working on this).
Above: Rachel’s cross-stitching project
Resetting Expectations for Yourself
How is this hobby helping you during this time of quarantine and social distancing?
K: It keeps me distracted! I am an extroverted person, so being in the house 24/7 is tough! It also is nice because I can make something for other people and send it to them in a care package to let them know I care for them (type 2 Enneagram over here!).
R: I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling unsettled during this time. There are so many unknowns, including, but not limited to, when can we stop social distancing and quarantining, and when can life get back to “normal”? Cross-stitching can be a very slow process. There are times I have the feeling of “I’ll never finish this. It’s never-ending. I’ve spent 30 minutes here and have finished two leaves.” But then I’ll step back and realize that I’ve gotten further than I thought. Also, I’ve been feeling very disconnected. I’m an extrovert by nature, and this has definitely been a trying time for me. Doing this cross-stitch project as a gift for someone is helping ease that a bit.
How does this hobby help you in your day-to-day role at InterWorks?
K: From day to day, it helps me turn my brain off. I am super goal-driven, so having 24/7 access to my computer can be hard because I just won’t stop working! This hobby is nice because I can’t think about who I need to email or who I need to take care of when I do it. Plus, it is so calming that I usually fall right to sleep later!
R: It has helped me to realize that to stay efficient, I should set smaller goals and to celebrate when I meet these small goals. Finished a leaf? That’s awesome! Finished a color? Look at you go!
Above: Karlee’s first ever cross-stitching project
Finding Balance and Rest
Why is it important to have hobbies/personal projects?
K: I think everyone should have something they love. And you can have multiple things! I love golf, going to the farm, baking, working out and more! It’s important to do something you enjoy to help you realize what is important and let your brain relax. We put ourselves under so much stress every single day. Having something where you can turn off the screen and just be present is crucial.
R: We all need a distraction right now. Being glued to the news is not good for my mental health, and I’m guessing the same can be said for many. We need to stay informed, but 24-hours a day can begin to do more harm than good. Focusing on something else can help bring you back to balance.
What has this taught you about yourself? What can hobbies in general teach us about ourselves?
K: Cross-stitching has taught me how to be patient with projects. You don’t always get instant gratification, but it is so fulfilling to see a project come to life. It also has helped me realize that I don’t need to check my email all night long – because being present matters!
R: Hobbies in general can teach us what we need to recharge. People always talk about how extroverts vs. introverts recharge, and that’s always centered around people. Extroverts recharge by interacting with people; introverts recharge by taking some alone time. However, for some, those ways of recharging have been removed. Extroverts who live by themselves can’t interact with people, and introverts who have roommates they are quarantined with have more difficulty getting the alone time they need. So hobbies can serve as the replacement. Do you recharge by learning something new? Creating something visual? Composing music? Exercising? Whatever it is, go do it!
Above: The beginnings of a new project for Rachel