UH Optometrist Sews Masks at
Home for Health Care Workers
HOUSTON, March 27-- For 15 years, Moriah Chandler has been a sewing and quilting enthusiast. Now, the clinical assistant professor of optometry at the University of Houston has found a way to put her hobby to good use.
She’s dusted off the sewing machine, pulled out the fabric, looked up a couple online tutorials, and she’s creating masks – personal protective equipment – to give away to front line responders and medical personnel treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As an optometrist, my job is to help people and right now I can't really do that, so this is one way to help people and feel like I’m contributing,” said Chandler, who is working from home where her two children, ages 5 and 9, are participating in online classes.
Chandler’s sewing is not only good for those who receive her largesse, but also in line with what psychologists say are good ways to fill down time: taking on neglected projects and seeking creative projects. Ultimately, Chandler said, she benefits from sharing her work, and her sewing closet gets organized at the same time.
"I can be in the moment and be present with the project, but also get to think of how it's helping others."
“We all have household tasks such as decluttering, donating unused clothing and household objects, home improvement projects and deep cleaning,” said John P. Vincent, director of the Center for Forensic Psychology and co-director of the Center for Couple’s Therapy at the University of Houston. “It is best to break down bigger projects into bite-sized chunks. We get a small burst of the neurotransmitter dopamine in our brain’s reward center when we complete small tasks.”
Chandler’s contribution may be cottage-industry sized small compared to companies who mass produce protective gear, but it is important.
"I like serving a purpose, it helps calm me down,” said Chandler. “With so many things out of our control, when I'm sewing, I can be in the moment and be present with the project, but also get to think of how it's helping others. It’s a win-win.”
To learn more about this story, visit the UH College of Optometry.
A communication by the University of Houston Division of University Marketing and Communications.
Photos courtesy of Moriah Chandler.
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