Coffee with Esther (May 2022)

Hi Everyone,

April’s Virtual Coffee Breaks have been very enlightening, with loads of topics covered. One of the topics we talked about was hobbies. So, here’s a question for you: “Why do we feel guilty about having a hobby when we have a chronic condition?

This is a common feeling amongst us all, because we feel we are doing something we shouldn’t be doing. Internally we think, “If we can do a hobby, then we should be doing the housework, going to work etc.” However, I think a hobby should be part of your care plan. People believe the hardest part of a chronic condition is the physical symptoms, but we forget about the mental and emotional side effects they can cause. But doing something for short periods of time can be just as beneficial to you as pain relief. 

Never feel guilty about spending some time on a hobby that makes you relax, unwind, and most importantly, helps you with your mental health.

OK, there are some hobbies that you won’t be able to do. And you need to accept this and move on. This can be difficult, but this is the time to try new things. Find a hobby that you enjoy, but most importantly, are able to do. 

I started my Up-Cycling Art, as a therapy to cope with my emotions. And it was a great way to distract my mind for a short period of time. You have to learn to pace yourself, you should do short stints at a time, and make sure you rest afterwards. (I’m still struggling with that concept! 😂). 

We all have good days and bad days, and that’s why it’s so important to have a hobby. There are days I need to push myself, just to do a few minutes on a project. To clear my mind and concentrate on something else, instead of the pain I am battling with.

Gardening seems to be a common hobby. From reading and learning about the plants, to growing them. Gardening can help with positive emotions and give a feeling of joy, creativity, and calmness. This is a perfect hobby for distracting your mind. I know most of us can not spend hours digging and weeding. So think about looking after a pot garden, or raised beds. There are a lot of aids you can buy to help you with gardening. You don’t even need a garden to get this sense of well-being – house plants do the same job. 

Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash

Any kind of hobby can have a positive effect on you. It gives your brain another distraction, rather than just overthinking things, which could lead to stress, anxiety, or depression. 

So if you don’t have a hobby, now is the time to look into one. 

Here is a list of hobbies some of the Virtual Coffee Break members have mentioned they enjoy doing.

  • Photography
  • Swimming
  • Cross-Stitch/Knitting
  • Learning a New Language 
  • Historiography
  • Pottery
  • Meditation
  • Woodwork
  • Yoga
  • Painting/Drawing
  • Rock Painting
  • Walking
  • Flower Arranging 

So stop feeling guilty. That hobby is helping you cope with your condition. Enjoy it! 

May and June Virtual Coffee Break Dates and Times: 

  • 12 May at 2pm GMT
  • 19 May at 6pm GMT
  • 9 June at 11am GMT
  • 16 June at 2pm GMT
  • 23 June at 6pm GMT 

If you would like to come along to our Virtual Coffee Breaks, please visit the Support Group on Facebook for up-to-date information.  

Hope to see you all soon.

Esther Martin-Moore

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