Knitting self-care is our secret weapon! So much being written about taking care of ourselves, and it seems like just another thing on our to-do list, but we can turn to knitting, an excellent form of self-care!
What is “Self-Care”?
Self-care -- Gad I hate that term. So cliche and so undefined.
- knowing who you are and your limits
- getting the sleep you need and knowing how to rest
- making sure that you’re well fed
- finding a way to decompress throughout your day
- giving some thought to changing a difficult work situation
- taking time to get to know you better
- identifying what you enjoy doing and what’s fun for you and make a serious effort to integrate it into your day
- knowing how to decompress after a day’s work
- feeding your spiritual self
- taking time to love yourself
I borrowed the author’s list. I think those are good guidelines for any of us to use for finding the perfect self-care. Notice that none of those things require expending money. You should always balance spending with the return. Personally, I don’t value getting a massage much, so that is not a great form of self-care. I am happy to pay for Pilates because it gives me exercise, helps me get out of my head, and I love my instructor!
What is Not Self-Care?
I do not have a tight relationship with my phone. I love it for its camera, use it to make necessary phone calls, use it for apps I cannot use on my computers, and otherwise ignore it for most of my waking hours. It is both a wonder and a curse.
Your phone is designed to distract you and it is well designed to do just that! I find I want to pick up my phone when someone on the screen is using their phones on whatever we are watching. Every time you pick up your phone, I bet you spend more time on it than you intended. It is a double-edged sword: you are using it to do things you need and want to do, but it is also likely to be distracting you from doing those very things!
At my desk I tuck it behind my computer screen. I never have notifications on for anything and I rarely have the sound turned on. I have been known to leave my phone downstairs or outside my office when I really don’t want to be distracted. When I am knitting I usually don’t use my phone to track my pattern, preferring paper. If you use your phone for that or other things, you need to use discipline to not get distracted.
Self-care is also not things you are doing for others (unless you want to). Consider what you do every day and then consider if you can delegate any of those things to others. Then, once delegated, let it go. It doesn’t matter if that other person does it exactly the way you do it. Let them do it their way (I always rearrange the dishwasher after Mitch loads it, but I really appreciate that he gets things off the counter!). I do most of my cooking on weekends, then I can put meals together in 15 or 20 minutes on weeknights. I am so happy I spent that time over the weekend as it lets me get to my knitting faster!
Knitter? Yarn Buyer? Both?
Knitting encompasses two hobbies: knitting and yarn buying. We use them both as treats, but knitting is probably more attuned to self-care than yarn buying.
Stash building is momentarily satisfying, but often ends up causing long-term stress, so buy what you need and are likely to use, then focus on the knitting. Yes, you are likely to miss out on some yarns, but there are always others that might better suit your needs and knitting. Focus on why you want the yarn, what you actually will do with it, and what you get from owning it!
Mitch once said to me that there seemed to be no correlation between yarn in my possession and what I needed for my next project. I took that to heart and have been very careful about accumulating yarn ever since. No yarn guilt here!
That said. Nothing is better than squishy mail, so enjoy it when you indulge! If you feel at all guilty, don’t buy yet.
Knitting Self-Care, Anyone?
Personally, I look forward to my knitting time every day. I try to tailor my knitting to what my knitting needs are:
- A project to work on when I am tired,
- Do I need distracting?
- Am I going to be reading subtitles?
- Am I imbibing alcohol?
- Is there a knitting problem I want to solve?
- Do I just want the easiest possible knitting?
- Something for when I am wanting to be challenged,
- Do I just need to get rows/rounds accomplished to hit a goal?
I always recommend having a couple or more projects going so there is always something to pick up that suits. The other evening I had to put a project aside to wait until I figured out the neckline numbers. There was another project that was asking for some attention. Then I moved to making a swatch while waiting for time to do that pattern work.
Can you pick up your knitting, stop to admire or take a photo of it, or read ahead in your pattern? All of those are things you can do throughout your day. I often think about what I’m going to do during my knitting time, or consider my knitting in other ways to give me a break from thinking about my job of writing, designing, and jill-of-all here.
Of course you can go on Ravelry or other sites and look for patterns! Whenever you hit search it can become a sinkhole rather than uplifting if you aren’t careful.
Other Ways to Make Knitting Self Care
I realized as I was mastering new things on my computer that learning new things is another way to get self care. I hate doing it, but it was sooooooo satisfying to get it! It made me think in new ways about what I could do with what I was learning.
Experiences tend to be more satisfying over time than things we consume. Make that knitting project an experience!
- Take time to enjoy planning it,
- Enjoy each step.
- Set interim goals, then celebrate meeting them!
- Take Photos to document progress.
- Envision the finished project.
- Plan the finishing
- Buy buttons, notions
- Enjoy it as a finished item.
Notice what you enjoy, and don’t enjoy. It will help you identify what is a satisfying experience for you, which you can then duplicate!
I love noticing how much I can accomplish on a project during any knitting session. If I know I can get 16 rows/rounds done in a session, and I have 104 to work, I can figure out how many sessions I will need to finish which is concrete. Can I finish in a week? Maybe. Knowing the reality takes a lot of stress out: the goal is then to show up for those knitting sessions!
Routines as Self Care
Jamie and I were talking about how, because I can resist doing even things I want to do, I make things routine. This has saved my sanity and made me more productive (which I love!).
Anything that I can make a routine I do. Then I don’t have to think about it. I do have things I really struggle with routinizing. Often that is because I haven’t taken the time to break them down into steps or stages. It is freaking impossible to tackle “Keep the house tidy”. It is possible to break “keep the house tidy” down into steps that can be made into achievable routines.
So keep your focus just ahead of you and it will help you knitting be supportive. Enjoy each step (or figured out a way to make it feel like you are accomplishing things). Don’t put it aside without a plan for picking it back up. Unfinished projects are stressful.
I got this in a newsletter on Monday. Perfectly explains why breaking things down into smaller parts works as a strategy.