I launched my first collection of hand embroidery for sale almost a year ago. As my work has reached new audiences and demand for my artwork has increased, I've also spent many more hours of my day stitching than I had in the past. And let me tell you, stitching for hours on end can be very hard on your body! So in this post I wanted to address a few self care tips that I practice to ensure I'm still able to get up every day and stitch.
Use a timer.
When I am deep into a project, I can stitch for hours and hours without getting up. While this is great for making progress on a piece, it's horrible for my body and hands! So I use a timer that reminds me when I need to get up and stretch, switch tasks for awhile, or just take a general break. Granted, sometimes I just turn the timer's alarm off and keep stitching, but I'm trying to get better about actually stopping what I'm doing and take a moment. Moving the timer to a different part of my studio or even the hallway helps ensure I actually get up and move.
This cube is my favorite timer. I just flip the cube to whatever time increment I want.
Awareness of body and posture.
I really try to pay attention to my body and posture while I'm stitching. How is my neck positioned? Is my back hurting? Am I leaning awkwardly? I keep a little post-it note on the wall across from where I stitch that reminds me to check my position every so often. I sit on an awesome Aeron chair that has great lumbar support and adjust the height of the chair so it meets my stitching table perfectly.
Wear special gloves for hands.
From time to time, my hands can grow fatigued from stitching, especially if I am doing very detailed work like filing in a flower. I purchased these gloves awhile back and really feel like they make a difference. They are made of a stretchy spandex that slightly compresses your hand and eases the fatigue that can come from the repetitive nature of stitching. I don't wear them all of the time, but try to remember to put them on when I am working on a large project or if my hands start feeling tired.
Use a good light.
Another key component to my stitching setup is this sunlight lamp. The light emulates natural sunlight - it's a soft, white light versus the standard yellowish light bulb. It eases any eye strain and helps me see my hoop and stitching very clearly.
See professionals as needed.
I have a mini squad of healthcare professionals that I see regularly - an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, and a massage therapist - that help me stay feeling good. I don't know what I would do without them! I'm only able to stitch and continue to do what I love if I feel good, so I definitely prioritize visiting professionals that can work with me so I'm at my best.
Want more of my hand embroidery tips? You can find them here.
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