WFH & Maintaining Balance: Part 4 – arts, crafts, hobbies
This is the fourth post in a five-part series providing tips and recommendations to adjust to our ‘new normal’ of embracing the home office and keeping COVID-19 at bay. The stress and anxiety the circumstances of self-isolation, social-distancing, and lack of physical contact has caused need to be managed and easily undertaken for them to stick with each persons’ unique self/ daily routine.
One of the first things, for me, to become deprioritized when stress comes are things like nourishing my mind & body with arts, crafts, and hobbies. I’ve found over time that not taking the time to be present on something that brings you joy is a big flag in how the rest of my well-being is being managed. I’ve divided these into things I’ve remembered to focus on - from the small to the more challenging - with some ideas/resources to spark your imagination for finding (or maintaining) calmness, positivity and balance to working from home this winter, or more generally, self-isolating.
In a previous post I talked about giving yourself permission for external self-care, the balance of course is to incorporate and not neglect the internal self-care (not therapy, although that is important), but our relationship to arts, crafts, and our passion hobbies (even if still trying to find one that sticks for you) is equally important. The winter months are a great time to carve out time for them and try something new.
COVID has ‘robbed’ us of many of our in-person standard experiences that are part of our lives, but as we all struggle to adjust and adapt there are still a ton of resources to explore and immerse yourself in while safe and warm inside. Many performing artists have (and continue) to re-adjust to life “off-stage” and with a little searching on YouTube/Instagram/TikTok you can find some great professional performances to feed your artistic cravings such as: the symphony, ballet, dance, theatre, opera, live music, etc. If museums and art galleries are your style you can virtually tour some of the greatest in the world from the comfort of your couch.
Some companies and individual artists are continuing to explore bring us their talent as we navigate the pandemic, and they could use our support as patrons. Taking time for more than just Netflix can help clear your head and spur your own creativity.
Crafts, as well as arts, play a crucial role in our lives and in our natural evolution since pre-historic times. There is no denying how satisfying making something yourself feels, no matter how large or small. While we’re working from home it’s easy to focus so fully on only our work and our personal lives, we forget to take time to carve out for connecting with our personal interests. I’ve taken up baking (relatively successfully so far) using cookbooks & the Food Network and am attempting to learn to knit via YouTube and a craft channel subscription. I’ve long wanted to do both but never found the time. It’s much easier to find the time once you’re on lockdown if you set about looking at your day as blocks of time without a commute. Of course, this entails setting personal and professional boundaries, which is a must when WFH in any event.
I also have a side project interest in craftsmanship and have been exploring various ‘history of’ and master crafts videos and shows during my research journey. There are so many options to explore for any interest you may have, and at any stage of your journey. Learn to: make soap, bicycle baskets, furniture restoration, quilt, woodwork, a backyard rink, painting, improv, candles, photography, out of so many avenues to explore depending on who you are.
My traditional hobbies are singing, poetry, dancing, and blogging. Over the past few months, I’ve decided to add knitting to the mix and discovered a great site I recently signed up for which can teach me much needed kitchen knife skills as well. Whatever your hobby jam is – calligraphy, writing a Tumblr about stamp collecting, composing music/ playing an instrument, TikTok creativity, restoring classic cars, jewelry – making sure you block out quality time for it as much as you can. Working from home does cut out commute time which can be shifted to your passion projects; it doesn’t have to be, nor should it be a chore, even a couple of hours a week can help keep things in perspective and allow you to connect with yourself.
I’ve also found inspiration in watching communities come together, spurring my own thoughts of backyard rinks neighbourhood sign-up sheets, or community/family ‘COVID journey’ quilts.
It’s easy for me to say all of this of course… ask me how far along I am in knitting 2 months later. But I do get it in my to-do list, try and make time, and do other hobbies as well to keep the balance going. One of the things I’ve found while writing this series is how interconnected all of these fundamentals are to our sense of being a whole human. They interlap, cross-over, nudge up against each other. Cooking as an example is an art, craft, could be a hobby, involves movement, mindfulness, and food. My point being that there is no one ‘right’ answer if you’re keeping these truly tried and true (updated for our digital COVID-age) concepts in mind.
Which brings me to… cooking also requires exploration, learning and potentially formal education.
Co-incidentally, the last post in this 5-part series is about: exploration, learning, education.
Some inspiration to explore:
Toronto Symphony Orchestra (they have kids programming as well)
Twelve World Class Museums You Can Visit Online (Google virtual virtual arts & culture is linked here too)
Crafts & Hobbies –
Food Network Kitchen (learn to cook with your fave chefs – paid subscription req’d)
Craftsy (I have a paid subscription)
Basic Cabochon Wrap Wire Wrapped Pendant Beginner - Oxana Crafts – (this is quick & simple enough for kids!)
[as always, none of the links in the post are sponsored or affiliated]
Until next time, I hope you found this helpful – yours from home in lockdown Toronto,