This week the BUSY Lab connected with LMP hematology administrative assistant, Heather Stevenson to learn a bit about what she does to keep herself going and shape her personal health and wellness. The theme: Sewing.
“For me wellness isn’t just about your mind, your body, your soul,” says Heather. “It’s about being able to give and do things for others less fortunate.”
Heather was first introduced to sewing by her family, who for the most part could all sew and make clothing. They went on to enroll her in lessons so she could properly develop her skills – and at just 13 Heather made her first two articles of clothing: an apron and a dress. The sewing program also made the students model their finished products at the local mall, so the stakes were quite high for Heather, despite being a beginner.
“I was interested at first because it was a family affair that went generations, but once I finished those first pieces of clothing it gave me an amazing sense of accomplishment,” says Heather. “It’s not for everyone, but if you can choose something easy, stay committed, and see the project through – you’ll be rewarded in the end.”
Heather now gets a sense of relaxation as she goes through the process of choosing patterns, fabrics, and designs. She’ll put on Classical 96.3, layout the pieces, and peacefully begin to cut and sew. The whole process can take as few as 4-5 hours start to finish.
“It helps with controlling and improving your mental stamina and patience,” says Heather. “It also teaches you to accept failure as a learning opportunity – because it doesn’t always work out how you planned.”
Now, what started off as a creative outlet introduced to Heather by her family has grown into a sustainability initiative connecting Heather to her native country of Grenada. She has garnered support from friends and family and has helped acquire donations including a sewing machine and assortments of patterns and fabrics so young Grenadian girls and women can learn how to sew. With that skill, Heather hopes the participants learn the value of what they’re doing, and find themselves able to earn money for the clothing and products they produce. So far 16 women have gone through the course.
When asked how a newbie should go about starting sewing, Heather says to first take the sewing machine out of storage, then start with an easy project, and stay committed to finishing.
“It can be important to give yourself a deadline,” says Heather. “It’s so easy to walk away from the project and never complete it, so challenging yourself and encouraging yourself to stay committed is key.”
What do you do when you need to feel “BUSY”?
What’s that thing you do that makes you happy (“Bliss”),
or helps you relax (“Unwind”),
or makes you feel like you can take on anything that comes your way (“Strength”)?
Heather might sew a shirt for a friend. What would YOU do?
Check in next week as we hear from another LMP staff member about their BUSY activity. We hope these stories may remind you about your BUSY thing, or even inspire you to try something new!