Tips on Creating Joy and Nurturing Wellness ~ A series from the staff of Chester River Behavioral He
I have sewn nearly all my life. I began as a child making clothes for dolls. As I grew older, I began to make things for myself and while in high school and college made virtually all of my clothes. Doing so has always given me a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Having a goal and achieving it has always given me a sense of pride. I continued to sew while my children were young, but stopped as they got older and things made by Mom were no longer cool.
In the past few years, I have begun to sew again. But the focus has changed. My sewing now is primarily for others. My daughter had a sewing business, and she needed help with a large project. I was keenly aware that our usual roles were reversed: she was in charge and I was the helper. Working together, our skills and opinions meshed seamlessly. We were each impressed with what the other could do, and the feedback we shared allowed us to improve the dresses we were making. Helping my daughter that day is one of the peak experiences in my life.
When my niece graduated from college and wanted a means of preserving her favorite T shirts, I found myself volunteering to make them into a quilt. Even though I had never done this, I had fun with the challenge of figuring out how to do it and enjoyed the skills needed to turn cotton shirts into a warm, cuddly quilt. Since then, I made and have given items to friends and family members. I even helped with costumes for a play.
I am proud and have a sense of accomplishment when I begin a project and see it through to the end. Sewing connects me with family; I have my Grandmom's pin cushion and my MomMom's high school sewing bag. My daughter sews. My niece has the quilt I made for her. My mother, sisters, husband and children have nice linen bathrobes. Positive psychology tells us that the three activities happy people engage in most are physical exercise, gratitude and philanthropy. Sewing is one way I give to others. It is a thread that connects me with all those who use their craft to enrich their sense of self and as a means of expressing love and appreciation for those in their lives.