Make stuff with your hands to disconnect

For a long time, my typical way of unwinding over the weekend has been to watch a movie/ meet up with friends / watch something on Netflix/ try and find something interesting to do like a hike or a show. A lot of times, Netflix wins out (I know, terrible).

As I’ve gotten into book binding, I’ve realized the tremendous joy one gets from making something that you can touch and feel. Pretty much everything in our lives happens on a screen these days – meetings are over Zoom, work happens in Google docs and various apps, entertainment happens on the screen, shopping happens online. Our entire life takes place in our head, and we make such limited use of the rest of our body! And so to actually get off the screen and focus entirely on making something physical is tremendously gratifying – and a wonderful way to disconnect. I often find myself in a much more “zen” mood after spending an hour working on making a book. There are no distractions, your entire focus is on bringing this thing in your hands come to life. There’s no way you’ll be stressing over that bad meeting, or stressful day at work, after you’ve spent an hour trying to make something.

I made this journal! 🙂 I can use it and write in it! 🙂

There are of course a lot of other great ways to disconnect from the digital world. Sports, long conversations, family time, reading. But when you make something physical with your hands, not only are you disconnecting from the digital world, you’re also creating something new that didn’t exist before. There’s a joy that comes from the act of creating something, that is really quite thrilling. As a product person in tech, I work on products that ship to hundreds of thousands of users regularly. And yet, the joy that comes from creating something physical, even though its reach is vastly limited, is really quite different. I can spend hours admiring my creations 😀 (beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. I love what I make. My husband can’t understand what’s the big deal! 🙂 )

If you’re looking to pick up a hobby, I strongly encourage you to find something to make in the real world. The possibilities are endless, and you won’t regret it.

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