Sometimes, you’re stressed, depressed, exhausted, or just plain feeling crappy. What do you do? There are myriad ways to cope, some healthy, some less so. Here are five concrete examples of times when knitting might be just the way to go to get through it (whatever it might be).
Your boss just gave you an entirely unreasonable deadline, your cat broke your favorite tea cup, and you need a goddam break from reality. You can watch Star Trek, read The Hobbit, play World of Warcraft…, or immerse yourself in some knitting. My favorite is to knit (or crochet, or spin….) while I catch up on Welcome to Nightvale (If you’re combining TV or a podcast with knitting, just be sure to pick something without a chart or complicated directions).
You’re trying to do something new. Maybe you’re getting back into dating, or going back to school, or even ending a friendship. It’s HARD. You’re feeling small and you’re feeling scared and you’re feeling out of control. But you know what you can control? Yarn. Pick a nice, simple project, and give yourself the gift of remembering your own competence.
You’re on your way to a stressful event. Maybe it’s a family wedding, and you’re dreading questions about your relationship status. Or maybe it’s a big networking event, and you’re feeling more like Castiel than Crowley (in other words, your “people skills” are “rusty”). If someone else is driving, whip out a project that is absorbing – not so hard as to be stressful, but not so easy as to let your mind wander. It’ll soothe your nerves.
You’re waiting for the results of a big test – could be the bar, a biopsy, or peeing on a stick. The results are out of your control, but of course you can’t stop worrying about it. Channel that nervous energy into your stitching.
You have something you know you should be getting done, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it. Instead, you’re surfing Facebook, checking Pinterest, and reading questionable Sherlock fanfic on Tumblr. You’re not actually enjoying yourself, guilt is mounting….. and the dreaded task is still not getting done. Lean into your procrastination with some yarn. You still won’t be crossing anything off of your to-do list, but you’ll feel less like you’re hiding and more like you’re taking a calculated retreat from work. Trust me, it can work wonders.
Go forth, my stressed out friends, and knit your cares away! Or at least knit a cozy for them, so they are too comfy to give you much trouble (and more portable – everything is easier to carry in a custom made cozy, so if you’re going to carry some troubles around, you might as well make it easier on yourself, right?)
Boston remains covered in snow. Public transit is limping along, the sidewalks are a mess, and driving even more unpleasant than usual. I’d be lying if I said I was facing the situation with good cheer and a can-do attitude, so I won’t. Instead, I am knitting. And crocheting. And also spinning.
I’ve also been giving some serious thought to crafting habits that are good for mental health, versus those that are now. I’ll write more about it at a later date, but in the meantime, check out my preliminary thoughts near the end of the the video!
I’m going to be honest: I did not expect to record a video about my knitting successfully. At least, I didn’t expect it to happen at this juncture. In my non-existent crystal ball, I envisioned spending weeks struggling along, recording increasingly hopeless and frustrated videos, before a triumphant breakthrough.
But that is not what happened.
As I mentioned in the video, I think it’s as important to take a close look at what is going well as it is to analyze what is going wrong. While there is a lot to learn from struggle and adversity, figuring out why something is successful can allow you to draw more of that towards you in the future.
So I leave you with these questions: what is going well right now? And what did you do that brought this good thing or experience into your life? It’s worth thinking about!
I’m doing something a little different this week, and for some weeks hereafter: video!
After years of waffling, it’s finally time for me to learn to knit. Join me for the adventure! I’ll be demonstrating some of the ways that I use crafting as a coaching tool, using myself as the guinea pig, but you can tune in just for the schadenfreude. I imagine my frustration as this project goes on will be plenty entertaining.
Why do I expect to be entertainingly irritated? Because learning something new is hard, and it tends to bring up our stuff. That’s why I use learning to spin on a drop spindle as a coaching tool — it’s a fast track to all the thoughts and issues you usually keep a lid on, but which are quietly making you miserable.
This is just the first installment. I expect to add more as knitting developments unfold.
I want to be clear: I am not a therapist, and life coaching is not therapy. The help and support I can offer is different from that offered by a therapist, and is not meant to be a substitution for such. If you are in immediate danger, please stop reading this page and call a suicide hotline! You are responsible for your own actions, and follow any advice at your own risk.