5 Tips for When You’re Overwhelmed by Your Hobby | S3E104

In this episode, I share 5 tips for when you’re overwhelmed by your hobby and I share some of your thoughts and tips too. You can listen to the episode below or keep scrolling to read the post.

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5 tips for when you’re overwhelmed by your hobby/hobbies

Usually, we think of overwhelms as something that happens when we are too busy in our daily lives. There are too many events, too much work, too many chores.

But sometimes even something fun can be overwhelming. I experienced this quite recently.

I am someone who has many different hobbies. Usually, I narrow them down for each season for example, in winter there was lots of reading, stitching and Lego building. But some of my other hobbies are gaming, drawing, baking, jigsaws, roller skating and colouring. 

This Spring I didn’t narrow my hobbies down and a few weekends ago I was in the mood to do allll the hobbies. I had a spare few hours but I just couldn’t decide what hobby to choose. Even though I wanted to do them all, I knew that couldn’t happen. I ended up cleaning while I waited for a decision to come to me, but it never did. 

You can also get overwhelmed even if you just cross stitch. You might have lots of projects on the go at the same time and struggle to know what to stitch next. This is something Louise from the Cross Stitch Club shared a couple of episodes ago; she wishes she knew how overwhelming it would be to have so many projects on the go at the same time and not be able to finish them all.

So if you have ever felt this way, I hope these tips I’m sharing today help. The less time we spend being overwhelmed by our hobby and deciding what to do next, the more time we actually get to do the thing we love.

1. Narrow down by season

I have past episodes where I share what hobbies I’m planning for that season. You can listen to my Autumn hobbies episode here. I share these to give you some ideas for hobbies and also so you can plan and narrow down too. As much as I believe we all deserve to have and do as many hobbies as we want, the reality is that if we have a lot of hobbies we won’t always have time for them all.

I like to narrow down by season because some seasons are better for certain hobbies. For example, jigsaws are great for the colder months because you can do them inside whereas I prefer to rollerskate in the warmer months. Not just because I can do it outside but it just feels better in the sun even if I’m skating in my kitchen.

There are some hobbies you will do all year round. For me, that’s cross stitch and reading. But at the start of a new season, I like to add on a hobby or 2.

So decide on your core hobbies and then swap out a couple extra each season. 

My hobbies this Spring (now that I’ve planned them) are cross stitch, reading, gaming, writing and hiking. I don’t hike for exercise so for me that is a hobby. This is a little more than I would usually do but my kids play out a lot in the Spring so I have more time than I do in any other season. 

3. Just Start

Even if you have narrowed down your hobbies you might still get overwhelmed in deciding what to do that day. If we go with the hobbies I’ve picked for Spring, I might get a free Saturday afternoon and let’s say it’s a warm day and perfect for hiking but I also am very excited about a new cross stitch project I’ve just started. This is typical of the overwhelm I feel.

Trying to decide in your mind will never work (trust me I’ve tried… alot). You have to do the thing and see how it feels once you’re in it. Back to the example, if I gave myself advice I would say just go out and start walking and if you’re not enjoying it turn around, go home, and start stitching instead. This is much better than sitting around for half an hour trying to make a decision.

3. Theme Your Days/Set Routines

I have a whole episode talking about theming your days here. But this works well if you are overwhelmed by how many projects you have on the go at the same time. You can stitch one project on a Monday, another on a Tuesday, another on a Wednesday and so on.

Or assign each hobby to a particular day. Using my examples again, I could cross stitch Monday – Thursday, write on a Friday, game on a Saturday and hike on a Sunday. Then there is no decision to make; you just have to remember what you do each day.

If you know exactly how much time you have free, another thing you can do is break it up. For example, if you have an hour spare you could spend half an hour on one hobby and half an hour on the other.

I have been stitching one per week with my cross stitch projects lately. I didn’t plan this, it happened quite naturally. This works well if you have four main projects on the go; spending solid time and focusing on them for a week allows you to get a lot of stitching done. But you don’t get too bored because you move on to another project the week after. 

The only time this wouldn’t work is if you’re taking part in a weekly SAL. But you could have weekends as free stitching to stitch whatever you want and Monday – Friday to work on one project.

Plan Your WIPs

Again, I have a whole episode about this here. But planning your cross stitch projects by season can help massively when you are overwhelmed by all your WIPs. I recommend a maximum of 5 projects you really want to stitch that season and just work on those.

To make this more effective, put all your others away. Out of sight, out of mind. Leave them in a bag/box/drawer until the next season comes around and you can decide if it’s time to get them back out.

Sometimes too much choice is a bad thing. It’s much easier to choose from 5 projects than from 15!

Just pretend for a few months that you only have your top 3-5 projects on the go and the rest don’t exist for a while.

5. Get Some Accountability

You can get accountability in many ways. One way to be accountable to yourself is to set yourself a challenge using just one hobby.

You could get yourself a challenge to do that hobby for a certain amount of time each day for a certain number of days. For example, stitch for 10 minutes a day for 5 days. I have a free challenge that helps you do exactly that which you can join here

Or a challenge to just stitch for any amount of time but do it every day for X amount of days. I tried (and failed) to do a 100 days of stitching challenge last year and I might try it again this summer. If you want to try this I share more about it here.

Another way to be accountable is to join a group for that hobby. There might be a craft group near you that you can take your stitching along to. Or a book club you can join. There are also online Facebook groups and memberships for all sorts of hobbies. I even found a membership for rollerskaters once.

And finally, you could join a SAL. This can help with the overwhelm of finishing a project because it breaks it down for you and tells you exactly what to stitch to stay on track. However, this can also not work if you already have many projects on the go and that is what is overwhelming you. Starting a new one may add to the problem. Or if you get overwhelmed when you see people stitch/finish faster than you then again, a SAL might not be best for you. I love stitch alongs, I think they are amazing but I know that if you join too many you can definitely get overwhelmed quickly.

Your thoughts and tips about hobby overwhelm


“My tips would be to focus on what is your favourite at the moment – if it’s a particular project then just stitch that for as long as you want to! Or you could do the complete opposite and plan one project per day Hannah style!”


“Sometimes I get put off when patterns require a lot of stopping and starting, and that’s probably because it challenges me to be an active stitcher rather than a passive stitcher (which is what I wanna be at the end of a long day at work). I’ve found that what works sometimes is to just force myself to pick it up and do a very small bit anyway — even if it’s 3 stitches. Bit by bit, the pattern will start to take shape and I find *that* to be the thing that gets me excited about it again.”


“If I’m feeling overwhelmed by one thing I will often stop that and do something else. It’s probably why I have so many WIPs and also read 4-5 books at once – I like to give myself options. Sometimes I will move onto organising my stash – either patterns or fabric.”


“I have many different hobbies. I just do what feels right at the time and work on that until the next hobby calls me. If I am really enjoying working on it I will just keep working on it.”


“I normally feel overwhelmed by how many stitch alongs I’ve started and the pressure to keep up. I’ve learned to enjoy the process and look to see which one I might be able to finish first. I know I will never finish on time but finishing one part of the pattern is a win.”

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