Woman struggling to drag a large ball of yarn along behind her

Adapting What I Love to Do

All I wanted at that moment was to finish the blanket I was crocheting. My hands were screaming in pain from hours of work. I wanted perfect, but it was taking forever. After hours of work, I stopped to look at all the rows I completed and saw how sloppy they looked. I wanted to scream.

Psa can make hobbies challenging

Psoriatic arthritis can make favorite hobbies and activities challenging. Something that you used to love and do with ease can become painful and frustrating. It’s tempting to drop projects when you don’t feel well. Or worse- because you’re disappointed in the quality of your work.

Yet, it’s so important to have activities- especially during the painful times. Not only do they keep us active, but they give us pride and joy. Pain shouldn’t have to suck the fun out of the things we used to look forward to. In my opinion, you shouldn’t have to give up your hobbies- but you may need to adapt them to how your feeling.

Find the right tools

Half the battle is finding the right tools and methods. It can be challenging, especially for hobbies that aren’t associated with the elderly. For example, I’ve seen lots of chunky handles for crochet hooks and gardening tools. But supplies for painting, biking, or carpentry? Not so much.

It takes a lot of trial and error to find what will work for you. And keep in mind, sometimes the best solutions aren’t ergonomic tools. For example, you may prefer sponges to paint brushes (my personal preference). I’ve seen people create their own grips for tools out of cloth, hot glue, and even putty. Get creative, listen to your body, and see how you can adapt!

It also helps to ask others involved in the same activities for advice. You never know what you’ll learn until you ask! I’ve found it helpful to ask people who have years of experience, and also on online groups where people are willing to share links to products that work for them.

Listen to your body

You may even need to modify your practices: the way you grip, positioning, or duration. Don’t be afraid to experiment! And as always, give your body a break when you feel you’ve overdone it.

Accepting limits

Pain has a profound effect on our lives. And sometimes it’s visible in our projects or passions. There may be shaky lines on a drawing, or yoga poses we just can’t quite do right because our body won’t let us.

Years ago, I would spend hours slaving away at projects that weren’t “perfect.” I would rip out rows from afghans and tediously redo them. But that wasn’t healthy. Not only did I exhaust my body– I discouraged myself to the point it wasn’t enjoyable anymore. What was the point of doing this if all it did was stress me out?

Today, I’m still just as critical of myself. But I’ve learned to take it down a notch. If I see a big mistake in my work, I’ll fix it- tomorrow, after I’ve had some rest. Little things? Eh, it gives my piece character!

There’s no right way

The point is, doing what you love shouldn’t stress you out. Anyway, is there really a ‘right way’ of doing anything? Of course not! The only thing that matters is that you’re doing something. It shouldn’t matter if your scarf has a few dropped stitches or if your yoga form isn’t perfect. And who cares if a project took a lot of time complete? Hey- you did it!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

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  • J.Nunga
    6 days ago

    I’ve always loved cycling, but have found it becoming more and more difficult. Rather than giving up something I love I bought an adult tricycle with electric pedal assist. I now ride everyday and can even take my dog. It’s just a matter of looking at things from a different angle.

  • Leanne Donaldson
    2 weeks ago

    Oh my Elizabeth, you are speaking my language! Knitting, crocheting, drawing- these were all my JAM (to use an old school word 😉 ) Since PsA, these have become so much more difficult, especially when I (like you) am so critical of myself. I hate when my projects turn out less than perfect and end up sucking all the enjoyment (and stress relief) out of them. I have a long way to go to get the enjoyment back and accepting my skills as they are.
    But your article give me hope that I can get there one day. I’d love to get back into my yarn crafts- (your Insta pics make me SO jealous!) Maybe I’ll give it another shot someday soon, but I’ll certainly keep your tips in mind! 🙂 -Leanne

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