Is there a particular activity that makes you feel relaxed and productive? We all have certain pastimes which are enjoyable, but aren’t necessarily useful…like playing a game or reading a fictitious book. But what about a useful activity that you really enjoy?
I don’t work in the wood shop consistently, but when I get the chance to make a spoon I always wonder why I don’t do it more often. It is positively therapeutic to carve away smooth, curly slices of wood from a block of wood with a razor sharp chisel. It is so rewarding to sketch out a rough idea of a new utensil on a chunk of Black Walnut and see it turn into a fine utensil with graceful lines and a smooth, glossy finish inside of a few hours. I’ve been known to get into an unmotivated rut at times. You know, one of those times when you feel depressed because you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything important, but you don’t feel like doing anything either? One of the best things I can do when I feel unmotivated is to sit down and do something. Not something that I dislike and that takes a great deal of determination, but something relaxing and rewarding. For me, wood working is one of those things.
Another less work oriented, but equally useful pastime for me, is spending time outside. I don’t know about you, but if I spend too many days without a good dose of fresh air and sunshine I start feeling cagey. Even if the sunlight is lacking, like in the winter time, a short walk in the chilly wind can give me a fresh, invigorated outlook on life. Sometimes getting outside to unwind is more important than getting the housework done, or finishing a project, and it can help to get you back on track with your “to do list” if you don’t feel tense, stressed and unmotivated.
Something else that relaxes me, and that sometimes is, and sometimes is not actually useful, is writing. I honestly express myself best when I have the chance to do my writing outside. If I can’t be outside, then I like to sit where I can at least see outside! I’m inspired when I am out of doors. Maybe it’s because many of my goals and dreams are wrapped up in “the farm”…and to me, “the farm” is more of an outside thing than an inside thing. But that inspiration and refocusing usually carries over to the inside part of the farm…because canning and bread-making and fresh butter and gingham tablecloths and clean, sunny, streak free windows are all inside things that I love about farm living. Writing helps me capture that inspiration and make it an active part of my life. It helps me to organize my feelings into useful thoughts and ideas. It helps me to understand myself better than I would otherwise.
What about you? What activities help you relax and refocus? What inspires you the most?