Life and knitting
Some good friends of mine have been discussing mental health this last week, mostly sparked by this article. It has really struck a chord with me. If you're present anywhere at all on social media, and follow any knitting-related accounts, you're sure to have seen one of several links to stories connecting knitting with positive mental health (i'll link to these in a moment).
Understandably it's not something people like to talk about, either their own experiences or those close to them. I have so much respect for those that take a deep breath and share their story, telling the world how it is, enabling others who may be struggling to seek help.
One thing I tell people all the time, is to take care of themselves. To knit selfishly because you deserve it. Take time out, breathe, treat yourself (to nice yarn, of course). And then I don't take my own advice.
The last three weeks have been an avalanche of personal and work events for me. After more than 4 years in business, i've learned that it is critical to take time out and pace myself so I don't turn in to a weepy heap of anxiety and stress. Thankfully I have a wonderful support network including excellent staff who can pick up the slack when I run away for a week to deal with a funeral, and again when I find that I haven't been taking care of myself, the stress is a bit much and I really do just need a break.
At times like this it is knitting that helps me pull it all back together. Making stitches occupies my twitchy hands, brings my thoughts back to a central place, and slows everything down. Knitting feels productive when everything else seems to difficult, and there is a simple joy in the tactile nature of beautiful yarn becoming fabric.
If ever I seem a bit frowny at work, it's because sometimes I feel a bit like this (trigger warning: anxiety). The wonderful thing about the community at Holland Road Yarn Co is understanding that everyone has their stuff to deal with, and we're all here to help each other out, stitch by stitch, project by project. It's why we have Knit Nights and Sat Sit & Knit, why we have tea and baking and comfortable couches.
And no, I haven't forgotten: here's the article on CNN about the connection between mental health, ageing and craft; The Daily Mail pretty much regurgitates the same article, with bonus picture of Ryan Gosling.
For more really excellent articles on mental health, take a look at what The Wireless is covering this week.