... With a little help from your knitting.
Slowing down isn’t something that comes naturally to me.
To me, multitasking isn’t just a necessity to get all my admin done, or something that sounds good to put on my CV, it is a way of life. But lately I’ve experienced a few life changes that have given me the opportunity and the motivation to take things a bit easier for once, and knitting has proved to be a massive aid.
Slowing down = feeling guilty?
I don’t know whether it’s guilt or boredom, but I’m not very good at just letting myself enjoy some downtime. When I have time to spend a few hours doing something purely relaxing, I somehow manage to fill it with things I ‘should’ be doing. I’m looking at you, dirty washing basket.
I’m not trying to do a sly boast, because many people, especially women, are like me. My husband has no trouble enjoying a few hours to himself watching Netflix or playing a game of Fifa, I doubt that he has any guilty feelings associated with sitting still while the ironing pile is mounting up. However, I know that switching off is something a lot of other women in my life struggle to do.
They don’t like feeling that they are doing something purely restful, relaxing or for lack of a better phrase ‘being idle’. I don’t know about you, but I think subconsciously, I worry that I’m not going to be able to fit in all the things I think I should be doing.
We’re having a baby! Yay!
Right now, I’m four months pregnant. I couldn’t be happier, and I’m so excited to see my body change and to think that next year my life will be a lot different, as we start our little family. However, being pregnant has also meant that in some small ways I’ve needed to change how I live my life.
I’m not just talking about giving up alcohol and resisting the temptation of a baked camembert though, I mean having to admit that I can’t do all the things that I am used to being able to do. In the first three months of my pregnancy, I was so exhausted, but keeping our news a secret meant that I tried to go about my day as if nothing had changed. By the time I finished work, I was ready to head for my bed.
Now that I’m getting bigger (and by bigger, I mean massive!) my body just won’t do the things it used to do and I’ve found I need to take more care over simple, daily tasks that I wouldn’t normally think twice about. Long walks, carrying the Tesco delivery boxes to the kitchen, changing the duvet, climbing a long flight of stairs, all things I would normally do without question, all things that I now need to take more time with (or delegate!).
Basically, I need to remind myself to slow down and take a bit of time to look after myself. After all, my Mom is right in telling me to make the most of this ‘me time’ while I can!
I lost my job. Not so yay
With the best timing ever, the company I was working for until a few weeks ago has become insolvent and we have all, suddenly, been made redundant.
At first, this was a massive shock, and something I had not prepared for in the slightest. I thought it completely changed the plans we’d made and would leave us high and dry. However, after the initial shock had worn off and we had time to sit down and really think about it, things were so much better than we first thought. Okay, so some of our plans needed altering, but my husband’s job is stable, we can pay our mortgage, and we have some savings to fall back on if we need to. Things could have been a hell of a lot worse!
The result of these two life changes is that I now have the motivation to try and slow down and relax, and while I’m without a job, I have the time to do it too.
Should it really have taken pregnancy and redundancy to give myself permission to chill out a bit? Probably not, but it has helped me look at things a bit differently.
Something that has helped me slow down? Knitting
If you read women’s magazines, they’ll tell you that the best ways to relax are by treating yourself to a nice bath or learning to meditate. To be honest, that sounds like a load of balls to me. As someone who isn’t a natural 'relaxer', spending an hour in a bath is not something I often do, and I know meditation is just not for me right now.
Something that has helped me relax, however, is my knitting. I can still give my body a rest - sitting on my sofa in front of the TV with something on Netflix - but my mind is active and I feel like I’m producing something useful and lovely.
Knitting has allowed me to give myself permission to chill out, and as a slow craft in itself, is something I can work at gradually over time and see slow, but satisfying results.
What I’m trying to say is give yourself permission to take it easy when you need to. You don’t have to wait until you’re four months pregnant and unemployed to slow down, pick up your knitting and enjoy a bit of quiet.
If you have any tips for relaxing, or find it difficult to switch off like me, then let me know below!