Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Hunt for a Hobby

I recently started having anxiety attacks, seemingly out of the blue. I went to a counselor to see what I could do to stop having these awful panicking feelings. She taught me some awesome breathing techniques and mindfulness exercises, and she also asked what I do to take care of myself.

I didn't really have an answer. I said, "Well, sometimes I exercise and I try to eat healthy...?"

She said, "But what do you do for fun?"

I said, "Well when I clean the house and organize things, it makes me feel good."

She said, "Well what's the thing that you can do and you don't realize it, but two hours have passed because you were so enjoying what you were doing?"

I thought about that and "cleaning and organizing" was definitely not the answer to that question. I couldn't really think of anything, besides hanging out with friends and family, but that didn't really count for this.

She explained that we are to "Love one another as we love ourselves," and many times we miss the point about loving ourselves. There are three parts to love and nurture in ourselves: body (exercise, eating, etc.), spirit (relationship with God), and soul (something you enjoy, a creative outlet, etc.).

So my homework was to breathe deeply and slowly, notice things in the present, and to find some things that I enjoy doing and do them, even if the kitchen sink is filled with dishes or I should be sweeping the floors, catching up on laundry, getting the mail, walking Addie, or returning the "guaranteed not to fall" shower caddy that scared me half to death in my sleep last night when it fell off the wall.

I got home last night and asked Geoffrey what my hobby or activity should be. He had actually told me last week that I should find a hobby. Geoffrey is The King of Hobbies. He golfs, plays guitar, paints pictures, backpacks in the woods, home-brews beer, smokes meat, plays video games and Fantasy Football, makes jerky and dried herbs, drinks fancy tea -- you name it, he probably does it! And even he couldn't really help me with hobby ideas.

So I Googled, "What should my hobby be?" I found a little quiz (love quizzes) and I answered all the questions. It came back saying I should be a Tea Connoisseur (hence why I included "drinks fancy tea" in Geoffrey's hobbies) -- didn't know that was a hobby, but good to know. As much as I like quizzes, I'm not sure if I am buying the Tea Connoisseur hobby - still thinking on that one.

I decided to Google, "List of Hobbies." This came back with a long list of some pretty interesting hobbies and was very helpful. I wrote down the items that I am going to consider for my hobbies - tea connoisseur, reading for leisure, writing, crocheting, journaling, quilting, gardening, drawing, running (maybe walking!), thrift shopping, meditation or yoga. It's a pretty nice list with some things I might feel comfortable doing and some things I definitely won't feel comfortable doing, but I could end up liking these things!

When I was telling my mom and Mary about my hobby dilemma today, they said, "Your Blog!!!"

I had completely forgotten that I used to enjoy blogging. Life got busy and the blog went on the back burner after college. But here I am -- trying out this old hobby that I forgot I ever had, and I think I like it!

P.S. I am also going to try yoga and then gardening in the Spring.

Some other soul-nurturing things to think about doing:
Take a walk in nature and notice everything.
Create a scrapbook with your favorite photos.
Sing in the car (of course with the volume loud enough:).
Listen to soothing music (shout out to the New Age Relaxation Station on Amazon Music).
Savor every single bite of your meal or dessert.
Bake a cake.
Watch a comedy and laugh.
Do a random act of kindness.
Journal about your day.
Have tea with a friend or your spouse.
Play with your kids or your dog.
Read a good book.

I hope you will purposefully do something today that nurtures your soul, and don't feel guilty about taking a little time for yourself!