mental health awareness

Why Quilters Should Care About Wellness & Health

Let’s take a journey to be our strongest, brightest, most healthy selves by not only practicing healthy self-talk when we’re quilting, but by developing a whole host of healthy habits to enable us to live with confidence.

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Why Quilters Should Care About Wellness & Health with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
 

Physical and mental health are topics I run into around the edges of the quilting world a lot (Instagram stories of food here, ladies out for a run there, a yoga class at QuiltCon, etc), but I haven’t seen anyone talk directly about why wellness should be a key conversation among quilters or make wellness a key conversation. I myself have been dabbling in understanding wellness for a long time, but, while I still have lots to learn, I decided that it’s high time I brought y’all in on the journey.

I’ve been quilting for about 4 years now and doing so professionally for about two. In that time, I’ve made two key observations that inform my firm belief that quilters need to talk more about personal health. This first one is really a shocker, so hold on to your hats:

Quilters are people (mostly women)

With all the curation, editing, and the like on social media, it can be easy to forget that all of us, including those of us who make quilting our job rather than a hobby, are people with a life away from the sewing machine. We have kids, spouses, pets, insecurities, hopes and dreams, etc. This means that we have all the usual worries about wellness that anyone else has:

“I wish I could lose 20 pounds.”

“I hate being sick all the time when it’s cold out.”

“Stupid bum hip (knee, elbow, etc).”

“Oi, I’m sore after all that free motion quilting.”

“I don’t even know how to start eating healthy; much less stick with it.”

“I’m just so stressed out.”

“I haven’t felt the same since baby was born.”

“Is it hot in here??”

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And I don’t know about you, but feeling anxious about all this stuff takes away a lot of quilting energy, and then I’m frustrated not only because I don't feel my best but also because I didn’t get any sewing done (or, maybe even worse, tried to sew and couldn’t seem to do anything right).

Many of us turn to quilting to cope

It could be grief, overwhelm, stress, cancer, anxiety, depression, or just about anything else, but most of us consider our sewing to be a haven (why do you think so many quilting groups, including my own, prefer to put the kibosh on topics like politics?). In a wild and uncertain world, quilting is, probably for all of us to varying degrees, very much therapy. But what about when our health concerns or other struggles interfere with our quilting? Or when we just keep feeling hopeless that change is coming but we so.desperately. want to make changes in our health?

If you are a member of the Quilting Rockstars, you’ve had a front row seat to my passion for “doing life together” as quilters. The focus of the group is quilting, certainly, but I count it a blessing when you choose to share other parts of your lives with me too— both griefs and joys— and I love sharing with y’all. I’ve noticed some themes among the Rockstars, and a huge theme is how many of us use quilting to support our mental health.

 
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I’ve talked openly about my journey through postpartum depression after Ian was born here, here, and here. While these posts only talk about the first six months, if you’ve been around lately, then you know it was a dark two years before I felt like I made any progress out of the shadows at all, even though from the outside all seemed well. Healthy habits— fresh air and exercise, community, healthy food, drinking lots of water, creativity, gratitude practice, essential oils, and more— were all crucial to my journey through that time and for the rest of my life. As I’ve talked with more and more quilters who have been effected by depression, anxiety, and a variety of other mental health challenges, I have realized that I cannot ignore these real challenges we face nor can I pretend that quilting can fix it all (quilting is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but there are a lot more pieces to the mental health puzzle). Thus, I’ve added this Live with Confidence blog.

Here you will find a lot about essential oils (a vital component to both physical and mental health in any home) as well as posts about eating well, moving your body, positive self-talk, and more. I’m not a doctor, a therapist, a nutritionist, or a guru, so I’ll simply be sharing from my experiences and inviting you to join me as I seek to and seek to guide you to quilt and LIVE with confidence!