Knitter's Survival Guide to Lockdown 2: 'Electric Avenue'
Many of us will experience these times differently, most stuck in their homes and the few of us still unfortunately are having to work throughout it; but as the UK rolls into the midst of Lockdown 2.0 it's important to check in with ourselves and ensure we keep ourselves and loved ones happy and healthy.
Whilst I'm one of the lucky/unlucky ones and still have my day job dragging me to work, I have still been feeling trapped, only travelling between work and home, so I've decided to write out my personal survival guide I've been using to help guide me through Lock down in Bristol.
I hope they help you. Though these times are unprecedented, remember we're all in this together and we can make it through together.
Work on your WIPs
Crack out that unfinished project or the one that you've been meaning to start and haven't. Or even scrap all of those and start a new one, do whatever makes you happy - and for knitters that's knitting.
Crafting is a guaranteed boredom buster and can help ease feelings of unhappiness and anxiety. Crafting can help people get into a flow state, where you don't notice time-passing. You can release your worries and overthinking and secure your mind on the task in the present- in over words it helps you be more mindful.
Start something New.
Keep it fresh and liven up your routine occasionally. Whether that's picking up a brand new hobby or even just trying a new technique. There's hundreds of kits and how to videos available online to help you learn something new - I've written a few of my favourites from local Bristol makers in a previous blog post. Teach yourself to cross stitch, spin your own yarn, sew your own clothes or punch needle crafts.
I've recently picked up the mantel of teaching myself to sew my own clothes, I've been meaning to for years but last the lock down and closure of clothing shops gave me a push.
If you don't fancy learning something completely new, you could try teaching yourself a new knitting technique. Can you knit continental style? Or have you tried knitting fair isle or brioche before? What about knitting magic loop? There's plenty of videos online that are perfect for explaining new techniques. I recently taught myself to knit my first pair of socks with Magic loop using YouTube videos for guidance.
Go to bed.
Just because you can stay up - doesn't mean you should. Getting good quality sleep makes a huge difference in how we feel in ourselves both physically and mentally. I know I personally get incredibly cranky when I don't maintain a good sleep schedule. It's important to get enough and regularly too. Keep a sleep schedule and set yourself a good old bedtime- stick to it.
Set manageable Goals
I've always hated this term every time it's thrown about, but there's no getting away from it. Set SMART goals.
It's no good setting gigantic goals that wouldn't be achievable with all the time in the world. Set yourself little goals, but don't stress yourself out over them. Remember you set them, you can break them too, there's no real rush to finish anything at the moment. Take it one step at a time.
Set a Routine.
This pandemic has made massive changes in routines to everyone, across the country. Working from home or without our normal daily routines blur one day into the next and make it difficult to feel like we have control over our lives.
Try to create a shape to each day and week. Create a timetable for yourself - it doesn't have to be exact, nor should every minute be counted. Try to do a few of the same things at the same time every day.
I've started giving myself an hour a day in the afternoon to watch West Wing and work on my current WIP before my other half gets home and we cook dinner.
Why not schedule in some dedicated knitting time every week? Or perhaps go for a walk at a set time every day.
Watch Knitting Podcasts
One thing I picked up and got obsessed with during the first UK Lockdown was obsessively watching knitting podcasts. Watching them and listening to them in the background whilst I sat knitting made me feel less alone. It was like being on a one sided Knit Night with chatter in the background. I'll list my favourite in a future podcast, but for now here's a few to check out. (Heather & Hops; The Corner of Craft; & Woolen Forest Knits)
You can even try making your own, and film them on your phone's camera and upload them straight to YouTube. The comments section of my own personal podcast videos have really helped me feel connected to the wider world.
Find your Community
We're all in this together. Whilst some are stuck in homes alone, you're not going through this alone. Find your tribe, catch up with old friends and family - keep talking and be open about how you're feeling. Maintaining healthy relationships is important for your mental wellbeing, and during this time keeping yourself stable will be more difficult, so don't make it worse by isolating yourself completely.
Can't find your community? Build your own.
Don't be afraid to send friendly messages to fellow knitters on YouTube, Instagram or that talented person in your local Facebook group. Slide into their DMs, but be polite and friendly - if they're not interested say thank you and message another. Don't be a barnacle clinging onto the side of their messenger boat- there's plenty of other fish in the woolly sea.
Make a WhatsApp group, set up a zoom call Knit Night, start a project together or even bring back letter-writing and go with snail mail. (Actually that sounds like fun if anyone fancies it, I'm in)
I really hope this helps some of you during this Lockdown; and any subsequent lockdowns to come. We're all in this together and we're all in it for the long haul. Try not to feel isolated and alone, and keep going. If you ever need to chat , just want to rave or rant about something, please send me a message. I love hearing what everyone is up to and working on.
Got any of your own tips? Leave a comment below.