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How to Eliminate Stress Habits for Good

If you’re anything like me, you might have a stress habit or two… or let’s be honest 5.  Well, I should say “had” since I figured out how to eliminate stress habits for good.  Maybe you don’t even think of them as stress habits and instead say things like “I’m an emotional eater”, or “I wish I could stop biting my nails”.  It’s possible that you don’t even notice that you feel stressed.  But, if you’re struggling to break these annoying little habits, whether you think they’re coming from stress or not this tip will help.

You NEED a Hobby

Ok… I know this sounds a little too simple but here’s the thing, it works!  You can use art to destress. And taking up a hobby that can keep your hands occupied is the secret to eliminating stress habits. 

Think about it, it’s pretty difficult to bite your nails, twirl your hair, smoke, eat, or pick at your skin if your hands are otherwise occupied.  The more enjoyable the hobby, the better.  Rather than sitting in front of the TV with a bag of chips you’ll grab your project.  So, what kind of hobbies would fit the bill and how can you get started?

Yarn Work

Knitting and crocheting are excellent hobbies to keep your hands occupied.  They don’t take an extensive amount of concentration once you get started so you can easily do them while binging your favorite show. 

Not only will yarn work replace your stress habit, but it will also alleviate your stress.  It’s almost meditative due to the rhythmic action.  And in addition to that there have been studies showing that knitting and crocheting improve brain function and help prevent arthritis.

It’s easy to turn this hobby into a side job or philanthropic activity.  You can sell your creations online, create custom pieces, or donate them to charity.  Baby hats and blankets are often highly sought items by hospitals and women’s shelters. 

Crochet is my personal stress habit elimination hobby.  I often make gifts for family members.  Handmade blankets, baby booties, hats and scarves are cherished.  I’ve even made a stuffed Groot as a Christmas gift for one of my kids.  It was love at first sight!

Needle Point

I have several friends who love needle point but even though I sew this one wasn’t a great fit for me (though I really wanted it to be).  There’s something so romantic to me about hand embroidery and I always thought needle point would get me there.  Maybe I’ve watched to many British period movies based on Jane Austin novels.  But I digress. 

Needle point doesn’t require a lot of materials, can be easily stored, and is easy to transport as well.  (Carrying a blanket, you’re in the process of knitting or crocheting can get pretty unwieldy).  In addition, you can also sell your crafts or give them as gifts.  And the variety of items you can create is endless.  I’ve seen everything from wall hangings, to Christmas stockings, to clothing. 

This is another craft that’s great for brain and joint health not to mention mental health and wellbeing since you’re alleviating stress and the harmful habits that go along with it.

Coloring

This is probably the simplest of the hobby options on this list and the most affordable.  You can pick up an adult coloring book almost anywhere, along with some decent colored pencils or markers.  You can even find supplies that accommodate grip and eyesight challenges.  My grandma loves the books with larger coloring space and thicker pencils. 

You don’t have to be super artistic to enjoy coloring.  It’s very relaxing, takes up minimal space, and can be done just about anywhere. 

Get Started

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Taking up a hobby that occupies my hands has not only helped eliminate my stress habits but also minimize my stress all together.  Sometimes keeping yourself a bit more occupied is the key to keeping your mind from wandering (or spinning).  And keeping your mind from spinning means a restful night’s sleep.  The payoff from something as simple as a ball or yarn and a crochet needle still shocks me.  And y’all, it’s SO easy to get started!  I learned to crochet by watching YouTube videos.  If none of the hobbies in this post are striking your interest or inspiring you, ask around to find out if any of your real life or virtual friends have a hobby they love.  My only advice is, make sure your hands are busy, and choose something that isn’t messy and doesn’t require a machine.  While hobbies like sewing, scrapbooking, and painting are excellent too they aren’t likely to replace your stress habits. 

Finding something else to do with your hands is a surprisingly effective way to eliminate your stress habits for good (or at least for as long as you do it).

What hobby will you be trying?

Posted in Health & Wellness, Nurtured Self, Wellness

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