I think I did a post on hobbies before, I can’t remember if I did or not, if not then maybe I’ll do it next week as I have a good list of lower energy hobbies that I’ve tried that are great for low energy days or if you’re more severely affected.
Before I had ME most of my hobbies seemed to be around sports and actually doing things so I ended up not being able to do them any more. Years ago I used to draw a lot and liked to paint, I only really stopped doing it so much because of studying and the fact that I had a choice at GCSE between Graphics where I was told I’d get an A or art where I was predicted D so it kind of got lost somewhere along the way. Since having ME I have ended up drawing and painting more again, as it doesn’t take too much energy and you can stop and start it as much as you like.
It seems like a lot of people who have ME used to be quite sporty, or at least when I was in contact with more ME sufferers it seemed like most of us had been on teams and playing sport regularly before we got ill and having a hobby and something we enjoyed being taken away from us was quite a big thing. It’s like the things you do make you who you are and then they get taken away so you’re left without them and have to find something else to fill it. I’ve always liked art but it got pushed to one side so I decided that, now I don’t have the energy for what I used to be able to do more, I would give it another go. I did give it a proper go a few years ago and then the OU took over, then last year I started a bit and the OU took over again. This year I’m doing it more again and, although I am mainly focussing on starting the business, I have more control over when I can do things with less strict deadlines and am making time for this.
I think that’s the main thing about hobbies, whether you have a chronic illness or not, is making time to be able to do these things that we enjoy and can take us away from whatever problems we have at the time. It seems a bit odd probably to people who aren’t ill to say that we have to make time to do art or any hobby when we’re not actually doing anything most days but we have to make sure that if we do these things it won’t impact other areas of our life and take our energy. It’s another part of the planning and pacing thing but putting half an hour or ten minutes into a day where we can enjoy this with a break on either side for a rest I think it worth including in plans if you can, depending on energy and time restraints. I’m not saying it’ll be art for everyone but I thought I’d do a post about it as it’s something that I like and I’ve seen a few ideas on arty things to try that are low energy and give some nice looking results even if you’re not the best at drawing. Sometimes it’s the memories of actually doing it that make it worth keeping, or if it’s not something you want to keep then it’s something to do in the time where you might not be doing anything.
Recently mum has got into art, especially since the beginning of this year so I decided to dig out my acrylics and some of the unfinished paintings and have a go. One of them has been sitting in my drawers for over two years, I started it and did about fifteen minutes at a time to get to one point and then ended up getting to a point where I wasn’t sure what to do or I had too much OU work. It probably doesn’t help that nine times out of ten the times when I feel motivated is three in the morning, not great for helping my sleep pattern.
When it comes to art there are so many low energy ways of doing it, probably the easiest to me is the colouring in books around, there are lots of line drawings available on the internet as well if you look hard enough and want to try it out. Colouring pencils, pens and watercolours all work well with these. I also like the idea of finding some nice motivational quotes, printing them out in a font on word and then decorating around them, I’m planning on doing some of them or maybe writing them on postcards to stick around my desk area.
Just doodling in general I find really relaxing and fun, especially when you don’t actually try to draw anything in particular and you just sort of draw random lines, if you use different colours it can give quite an effective look at the end of it. Bright pens are especially good for this as they’re so bright.
Cutting things out to make a silhouette is quite effective, especially using black paper. I’ve done some before where you paint a lot of colours on the background piece of paper, a rainbow background or one with a gradient or random splashes of colour are really bright and cheerful if you put them up in your room.
If you like making things with your hands there are a load of low energy things to do that are less traditional art things. I’ve seen a lot of Hamma beads around (I think they’re still called Hamma as that was the make when I was little) and some really nice pictures made with them. You put them on these boards with lots of pegs sticking up to make a picture with the coloured beads then iron one side and they make a pixel art style picture. I’ve seen some really nice looking things done with them, I have a couple of my old round ones used as coasters at the moment in my room so they can be practical too. Sticking things onto paper to make collages is fun, it can be all sorts of bits, maybe some things from a day that was special. I made a few before for things where there were days out, like a scrapbook almost, with the tickets and odds and ends from the day, even things like the sweet wrappers we ate in the car. Making little models with Fimo or air drying clay and then painting them can be lower energy, with the air drying clay you just cover it up with a damp cloth if you’re part way through and go back to it later.
There are a lot of little crafty bits available around now to make art from, places like the Works sell big sets of things for fairly cheap so you can just buy them and have a go at whatever you feel like or feel up to on the day.
Not a specifically arty thing I’d think of but I have seen a few people post some photos of really nice sand art which is really easy to do if you have a shallow tray and some sand. You can get coloured sand or there are recipes out there for colouring your own sand (I think it’s either paint or food dye used) and then it’s just drawing things with your fingers and having someone take a photo of it. This can be good if you don’t have the energy to sit up, or if you know someone who’s too ill to do that then this can be a way you both do something different together if they have the energy.
The main way I paint things is copying pictures I like, which means you end up with something that looks kind of like what you started with. I am not so good at coming up with original things, the few I have started (like this purple Hobbit one) are work in progress so I’ll have to see how they actually end up. Landscapes I’m fine at but people I’m not so good so I’ve gone for them more to practice and try to actually make a recognisable face. I think no matter how good you are at actually drawing or painting, painting can be quite relaxing, especially if it’s something like acrylics where if you mess something up you just wait for it to dry and go over it again (parts of my paintings end up four or five layers thick normally).
I tend to find painting in short bursts is the best, it means you don’t use too much energy and you can just do one area or a big space and leave it till the next day when it’s dried. I also tend to do one colour at a time because I use acrylics and mix it on the page, it does make a bit of a mess sometimes and the colours are unpredictable at times but it’s more fun to make it up as you go along.
With painting or anything if you keep the thing you’re doing small enough, like an A4 piece of paper, then having everything you need on a tray is an easy way of keeping it all in one place and then you can just put it all to one side when you’re finished for the day or get someone else to take it and put it somewhere safe until you’re next up to it. I also find that small pots, like the ones from Lush as I use, are a good way of saving whatever point you’re at with colours and things if whatever you’re using dries and can’t be used again. Watercolours don’t have this problem as you just add water and you’re fine but acrylics and oils do and other arty things like clay might have a similar problem so small pots are very useful and they can be anything that seals fairly well, old butter tubs work ok too, they’re just a bit big for what I need and I have so many of these pots lying around I thought I might as well use them.
I’m not sure if this post has helped anyone, I just wanted to write about finding something again that I had given up before and rediscovering it because of ME. I know a lot of us tend to lose hobbies we had because of it so I think it’s great if we can find a way of doing something we used to love or trying something new and see if we like it. Do any of you draw or do anything with art? I’ve tried quite a few different crafty things but I will admit that when it comes to art I’ve been less adventurous and tended to stick with similar ways of doing things as I did before so anything new people can recommend is good.
I think I’ll do a general hobbies post next week as now I think about it I don’t think I did do it before. It was in my original list when I started this section but it seemed to have got lost somewhere along the way. I love how it seems recently crafting has become more popular and you can get bits for it anywhere that are easy to use even if you don’t have much energy just to be able to do something different and creative but I guess that’s another post.