Since our lives are all on hold for a minute and everything is increasingly stressful, I’d thought that I would write about how to find peace in all of this nonsense. Ugh, I know. Here’s the thing though, extra stress is going to damage your immune system, and you need to be healthy enough to last through this. It’s even extra hard for people who are now laid off, not knowing when they’ll get back to work or how they’ll pay rent.
I’ll make this about knitting, since this is my knitting blog, but you can take all of these practices with you- as you go about your quarantine and beyond.
Take a few deep breaths as you’re working on your project. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold it for 3, breathe out for 8, hold for 3, and repeat. Breathe through your nose, as this will help you get more oxygen into your lungs. It’s been researched that slowing down your breathing can help your brain release the relaxing chemicals like serotonin and dopamine which helps lessen the feeling of anxiety. Breathing like this has definitely helped me with my depression and anxiety and has, slowly, helped me become a more productive and affectionate mother/partner.
Or, in my case, meditate. If prayer works for you, please do it. I don’t pray to anyone anymore, but I love meditation. The act of sitting down and trying to just exist. Meditation and knitting often go hand in hand (heh heh). When you sit down with your project, think about the person that you’re making it for, and think of all the good things that you wish for that person- think about how much you love and admire that person. Then, as your muscle memory has established the pattern in your hands, let your mind go blank. One thing I like to do is to deconstruct what I am working on as I am constructing it: Looking at my half finished thing, looking at the color, thinking about the person who made the color, thinking about the person who spun the fiber, thinking about the sheep that donated the wool, thinking about the lamb that was the sheep, thinking about it being two single cell bodies living in two completely different universes- and when I get there, I let my mind go blank- letting myself just exist.
Yes, it’s strange, and it’s okay. I like strange.
This is the perfect time to host your stitch and bitch on Zoom of Facebook Chat. No one is working (unless you are and for that all the rest of us thank you and where do we buy you a drink?). With most of us home, it’s really not hard to find a time to call people we like and love and continue to connect with them. This is what I love about connection, you don’t have to be in the same room or timezone to be a friend. Everything is hard right now, we need our friends and family more than ever. Call your mom. You know you need to.
Someday we will be allowed to go to the mall again, someday we will be able to share hugs and lively conversations among friends. Right now, it’s our job to stay home and try to stay sane. It’s hard, especially if you have kids, and/or you’re an essential worker, and/or recently laid off. This can’t go on forever, though. You will make it through this. Take this time to rest and rejuvenate as best as you can.
Be kind to yourself.
Notice how none of this was about finishing anything or being “productive”. I think sometimes we need to learn what it means to be people without this need for productivity.
You are worth it no matter what.
And if you do need to talk to a counselor, many practitioners are doing teletherapy. There is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist- and it’s almost as easy as calling a family member.
Love you friends. Stay okay.