Sew over Anxiety

September 10, 2014 in News

As I talk to my friends, it turns out many of us have something awful in common from time to time…anxiety! Stupid ol’ anxiety…it takes on different characteristics from person to person and how it affects each of us physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has the ability to interfere with our day to day, how we think, how we feel about ourselves, and even how we breathe.

For me, it’s like a giant rubber band has wrapped itself around my chest. In my lifetime, I had never felt the anxiety I have as an adult…I think it may have something to do with bills, houses, cars, responsibilities, kiddo’s schedules (and temper tantrums), balance, and well, life! There’s never enough hours in the day. What’s so silly is, I love what I do (as a seamstress mommy blogger) and sometimes the anxious pressure strikes at weird times…so silly and so irrational…SO IRRATIONAL! I can tell myself over and over that it’s no big deal…why are you fretting, Stephanie? And yet, that constricting rubber band holds it’s ground!

I feel as though my anxiety is somewhat mild compared to many, and also, pretty well curbed when I work out; I have never been the victim of an anxiety attack. However, I do know someone who is very near and dear to me who has been attacked by anxiety since she was a child. She left for college a couple weeks ago and we could not be more proud of her! As I was thinking of what to get her or make for her before she left…I had, what I thought to be, one of those oh-my-goodness-I-can’t-wait-to-give-this-gift ideas! I love those…they don’t come often…it makes them pretty special!

I did a little research on natural ways to help reduce/relieve anxiety and filled a basket with them…just to give her something extra if she needs it. Of course, a few of the goodies were home sewn!! Hopefully, she won’t need to reach for it because of an anxiety attack, but maybe use it to keep stress at bay! 🙂

Totally Stitchin': Sew Over Anxiety

Here are the ideas I found and some things I included in the basket:

1. I read that lavender can be very relaxing/calming. So, I made a lavender aromatherapy pillow. Find the tutorial here! It might look silly, but, it’s so awesome! It’s filled with rice and dried lavender and you can warm it up in the microwave (or keep it in the freezer) and place around the neck (or even on an aching muscle) for soothing relief. After I finished hers, I gave it a try on my achy neck (I knew she wouldn’t mind) and it was almost instantaneous relief…looks like I will be making a second one for myself! 🙂

Totally Stitchin': Sew Over Anxiety

2. I purchased some lavender essential oil, as well. I’ve read that you can place a couple drops on your feet and on your pillow as you are lying down for the night for calming to sleep. I thought that perhaps instead of putting oil drops on your pillow fabric (I feel like that could stain?), I could make some cute little embroidered “patches” with my Baby Lock Esante that she could place a few drops on and pin to the sheets on the side of the mattress close to her head. I ventured out (and, I would say, was successful) with Madeira Glamour embroidery thread on this project!! These turned out so cute! Tutorial here!

Totally Stitchin': Sew Over Anxiety

3. I heard chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm (learned about this one through a podcast) teas can be very calming, as well. I’m not much of a tea drinker because I just don’t like the taste, but, one of my friends suggested adding some honey when the taste is less than desirable. So, we threw some honey in. We found some teas to place in the basket and purchased a cheaper ceramic mug (and, attempted a sharpie mug…all over Pinterest…hopefully, it doesn’t wash off)…so fun!

Totally Stitchin': Sew Over Anxiety

4. I read that staying hydrated is really important to curbing anxiety (something I, personally, am really trying to work on)! So, we got her a cute tumbler to go with her room decor.

5. Work out! We found a fun Jillian Michael’s workout DVD that had 2 or 3 cardio workouts on it. I read that research shows that 21 minutes of exercise daily does a lot to relieve stress/anxiety. I believe it, since I have gotten more serious about showing up at the gym or doing a workout at home! It has been a tremendous help! A yoga DVD might be a good one to get, as well!

6. A note I threw in the basket: “Try turning up the music and singing your heart out…if you really want to sassy, dance along.” One time I caught myself thinking too much and I started to feel the stress of it while I was driving. So, I turned up the radio and sang the entire 20 minute drive…focusing on the music and lyrics (well, driving was the first focus, obviously) rather than thinking about the daily hum drum and what needed to get done still…I seriously, felt so much better when I arrived.

7. Another note I included: “Take a break and pamper yourself. Focus on your breathing.” I got a lavender facial mask to include in the basket and included some cutesy homemade upcycled washcloths. Look out for the tutorial soon! I threw in some nail polish and a sassy file, as well. Another thing to take a break for: SEWING!! She doesn’t sew, but those of us who do know how therapeutic it can be! 🙂

8. I read that journaling can be calming for some. So, I got a journal with an uplifting phrase on the front and included some new, fun, colorful pens in the mix…who doesn’t love new, fun, colorful pens? And, of course, wrote a special message on the first page.

Totally Stitchin': Sew Over Anxiety

9. We found a lovely, lavender diffuser to include (of course, she may have to check with her roommate that she’s cool with it). I chose a diffuser, as opposed to a candle because dorms, typically, don’t allow candles.

10. Magnesium bath flakes or oil can be helpful. I was listening to a podcast about tips on raising healthy kids and they had some unique tips…even outside of parenting. One tip was that a lot of people are magnesium deficient and we absorb magnesium better if it’s through our skin. Having enough magnesium can help you feel better, calm you down…interesting! We got some magnesium oil to try. A college student in a dorm wouldn’t be able to take a bath; so, this was a better option to include in the gift basket. Here is another article on the importance of magnesium. (Side note: we got the magnesium flakes for our household for baths…I think I personally, like the bath flakes better than the oil).

11. Lemon scent is known to be uplifting and a warm shower can always be relaxing. So, I included some lovely lemon shampoo and conditioner by Dessert Essence (side note: she and I have super oily hair and this is a clarifying shampoo for just, dry hair may not respond to this lemon shampoo well). I didn’t have time to find some body wash, but, that may be a nice thing to include.

12. She’s also been asking me to sew her one of those wristlet key holders. I finally got around to it!! Tutorial to come soon! It turned out so great; I embroidered an encouraging reminder on the inside and bedazzled it on the outside with a pretty bead/embellishment I found in the jewelry section of Hobby Lobby.

Totally Stitchin': Sew Over Anxiety

13. Probably the best part of this gift basket was the little zipper pouch (we didn’t have time to make, just purchased a basic blank canvas makeup bag from Hobby Lobby…I know they take like 1 minute to make, but, I still had to make the aromatherapy pillow discussed above) and my 4-year-old daughter decorated it with some bright colored fabric markers. Our dear friend found it heartwarming-ly special. And, of course, my daughter had to tell her all about the story behind her artwork! 🙂 Here’s a really cute, simple zipper pouch tutorial.

14. I wanted to include some comfy, cozy socks to relax in…it wasn’t quite the season for those fuzzy plush foot coverings yet. There wasn’t much of a selection.

Anxiety is too prevalent and it’s so uncomfortable! As I was learning though, it made me want to try a lot of these!! Obviously, I’m not an expert…these are just a collection of some ideas I found (researched) or thought of to try! In the end a sweet gift to give; we wish her all the best for her college years away from home! Hope you found some fun ideas to keep your stress at bay!

Have you found something that works for you? Kindly share your ideas in the comments section!


2 responses to Sew over Anxiety

  1. This sounds great! It seems it would also be beneficial for someone in constant pain. I’m going to put together a basket using some if your ideas for a friend with bone cancer. I’m going to add bath salts and sugar scrubs I made from recipes found online.

    Thanks for the idea!!!

    • Yes, I agree; that is a very sweet idea…and I love the homemade recipes; great idea…makes it more personal and special! Prayers for your dear friend!!

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