In this episode, I am talking about how you might judge yourself when you sit down with your cross stitch and I want you to ask yourself if you’re really relaxing when stitching?
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Are you really relaxing when you cross stitch?
This year I became more aware of what was happening in my mind and body whenever I practised self-care.
I am very good at taking time for myself. I no longer feel guilty or selfish when I take the time which makes me actually take it.
However, a new feeling started coming up that was replacing the guilt – judgement. I started feeling like my thoughts were overtaking my time and all I could think about was all the things I had to do after I finished relaxing/stitching/reading etc.
“I could be doing the laundry now”, “I could be hoovering up” etc. In the past, those thoughts would stop me from taking time for myself. Now I stay put and I do take the time but those thoughts weren’t leaving.
Even if I wasn’t always thinking “I could/should be doing this” I would be thinking “after this time for myself I have to do … hoovering, cooking etc”.
It was like a mental to-do list of things to do later. And this is not relaxing! It almost defeats the point of taking that time for ourselves. We have to try and relax our minds.
I think so much. I live in my head and I have a very vivid imagination. And this does serve me and I love my imagination but sometimes it’s not helpful like when I’m trying to relax.
I have some solutions for you though if you can relate to any of this.
When you start your self-care time and these thoughts come to you, you can use a notepad and pen or your phone and brain dump everything that comes into your mind as soon as you take a pause.
For me, a lot of the time these thoughts come because I’m worried I will forget something. I have a pretty bad short-term memory (especially when I’m stressed) so my brain going over and over what needs doing is its way of trying to help me.
So if you keep a notepad near you you can write down those things that need doing later so you won’t forget.
You might think this is taking away from the precious short time you have for yourself. And it is, but this is about quality over quantity.
10 minutes of truly relaxed, peaceful time is much better than 30 minutes with your mind racing.
Another thing you can do as soon as you’re about to start your hobby time is take 3 deep breaths. Check-in to see if there is any tension that needs to be released from your body. Relax your jaw, shoulders, hands etc. Just settle into your seat for deeper relaxation. (If your self-care involves sitting down).
You can also remind yourself that now is not the time for these thoughts. You don’t need to worry about what will happen in an hour, you need to bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on it.
You can do this by using the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method. You name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
If you’re cross stitching, really focus on the feel of the fabric and hoop, name the colours you are using.
This is basically just practising mindfulness and also kind of meditating if you try and release all of your thoughts. But I don’t try and release all of them, just the ones that aren’t serving me in the moment.
I like to try and remind myself that the only moment we truly have is now so I don’t need to worry about later. Especially when I’m trying to purposefully relax. I know this is easier said than done, especially if you suffer from anxiety, which I do sometimes, so I get it.
Question your thoughts
I also like to question my thoughts and tend to quickly realsie how silly the thing I’m thinking about actually is.
For example, if when you sit down and relax you start thinking about the cleaning you have to do later, do you really need to be reminded about that? How many times do you actually forget to clean your house?
Usually doing this makes me laugh and I realise it’s not something I need to overthink.
Accept what you need
What this all comes down to is judging ourselves. And I know you reading this now are probably not judgmental towards anyone else. I know I’m very rarely judgemental towards anyone else.
But I was judging myself a lot for relaxing. So I had to release this and maybe you do too.
The way to start is to begin by accepting yourself. Accept that this is what you need in the moment. If you’re going to take the time for yourself then judging yourself is kind of pointless because it’s not going to change what you’re doing. And you’re not doing anything awful – you’re relaxing/having fun which is fine and needed and good.
This is something I have been practising and integrating this year and it has made a huge difference.
I just want you to really enjoy the moments you do get for yourself and you can’t enjoy them if you’re constantly worrying about the future.
Extra episodes and posts
- 3 Reasons It’s Important to Have a Hobby
- Meditation, Mindfulness and Cross Stitch
- Hobby vs Interests vs Exercise vs Work