Video: Sewing and Mental Health

July 31, 2019 9 Comments

Video: Sewing and Mental Health

July 31, 2019 9 Comments

Can sewing play a role in improving our mental health? And if so, what are the key factors in sewing that can help us feel better?

And can sewing even be used as a preventive measure when it comes to mental health issues? In this video, I talk about my own mental health and struggles, and how I use sewing as one way of lessening the burdens of life.

I also think that hobbies as a part of an overall mental health program is really undervalued, and I still hear some stigma around spending time on “frivolous” activities. So I think it’s time to reframe that guilt, and instead see it as an investment in our well being!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and if you too has found sewing and other creative pursuits being helpful when it comes to mental health.

Johanna Lundström

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  • Rebecca Howard July 31, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    I couldn’t agree more Johanna. I have been sewing for 50 years. There have been times when I have been less focused on sewing up new things rather than mending but there has always been a sewing machine stashed ready to be brought out, and always at least a few homemade items in my wardrobe. If I don’t sew for any length of time I certainly feel more anxious and just less satisfied with my quality of life in general. The joy and satisfaction of focusing on producing a 3D item out of something that begins as 2D is a great tool for releasing tension and anxiety.

    • Johanna Lundström August 2, 2019 at 9:56 pm

      I find it so fascinating that a hobby like sewing can be such a key component in our all over well being, and that so many of us share the same experience. I think this is a topic that we need to talk about more in regards to mental health, and how it can benefit us. I have seen this in friends who have been on a downward trajectory, and then find something they truly care about and how that has helped them heal themselves and feel more energetic about life again.

  • Jessie Sams August 1, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    This is so so true. I just went through an experience with our house flooding. To make a long story short, much of our home, including my sewing room was inaccessible. About a month in, I started to really feel that loss. Wow. I had never thought about it before! I have long periods where my life was very busy with work and other things that I didn’t have time to do much more than mending (maintenance sewing that I don’t love so much!), but at least I knew it was there and available. The thought, that I could not make something if I wanted to became heavy on me. I was getting depressed and pretty stressed out. I kept thinking that if only I could just have some time in my sewing room, I would feel better. The ordeal is almost over and things are getting cleaned up, but I learned that this truly is a need for me! What a great topic! Creating by sewing is very cathartic for me.

    • Johanna Lundström August 2, 2019 at 9:59 pm

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear about your flooding. I can imagine that caused a lot of stress! And I agree with you, I think we as humans need a sense of purpose and being active and creating things, it helps us build up mental stamina, and Gawd knows we need that stamina in life! Happy to hear that you are finally seeing the end of the tunnel of the flooding, what an ordeal!

  • COREY HILL August 1, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Sewing for me has been a great hobby, keeps me out of trouble. Certain sewing projects I get tired of: altering rtw, hemming etc. I am also growing tired of constant home decorating projects. However I did like seeing the end results for all the cushions for the outdoor furniture. It turned out so much better then buying it. I find making clothing still a mostly enjoyable process. I like to whip up things that I can wear the next day and over time i have moved away from tailored clothing to sportswear that I wear every day. Sewing all day on saturdays while watching movies, midsommer murders, father brown and other british tv shows is enjoyable and relaxing. Sometime I put on club/disco dance music for something different. My sewing space is big and I am able to have nice lunch breaks in my sewing studio and take breaks with no one else around.

    • Johanna Lundström August 2, 2019 at 10:01 pm

      Yes some sewing is definitely more rewarding than others, but sometimes we plough through and it turns out is totally worth it. I too watch a lot of British murder mysteries when sewing, I find that combo so relaxing and cosy. How fun that we share this 🙂

  • COREY HILL August 2, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Johanna, you need to do a post on the topic of: styling. Styling – featuring the clothing that you make, like it would be featured in a fashion magazine. Good examples ‘j’adore beaute’ she does an awesome job at looking like runway fashion and . The other topic I would like to see you address is: wardrobe capsule, making a collection of clothing that all works together from pieces to fabric and color choices. It would be like being on project runway for the final collection show at bryant park in nyc. I see these 2 areas are so often overlooked by most home sewers. Corey for Maximus the Westie

    • Johanna Lundström August 2, 2019 at 10:03 pm

      Those are great bloggers for sure, and I do love making fashion style stuff. But with my limited time, I have focused on tips and teaching, rather than glam 🙂 But someday it would be fun to do more of that too, I do love fashion as a visual pursuit and wardrobe planning.

  • Peggy L August 3, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    I was so glad I found you & your book on mastering the coverstitch. I have told you before, it’s exciting to find a teacher you can really learn from. Now we have more in common. I had the same anxiety most of my life, just daily struggles etc. Eighteen years ago I got very ill & ended up with an autoimmune condition, chronic pain & horrible fatigue. Then came being bedridden & severe depression. I was in my early 30’s with 3 small children. It took many years to fight back to get somewhat on my feet, mostly in my home. Nobody can figure out how I did it, I say I was fighting to live for my kids. Anyway, without my 20 year career of nursing & stuck home, I refreshed my sewing skills from when I was young. Thank god I had something to turn to. As the kids got older & now I am headed to my empty nest, I have something of my own to use my brain, accomplish real end results, both garments & quilts & I have the opportunity to help myself feel better. I still have pain & fatigue & can’t sew every day that I’d like to, but I have a skill that I can be grateful for that brings me back to mindful living & not just focusing on an illness, Thank you for sharing again Joanna, you still inspire me to keep learning!

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