Knitting into relaxation

Diary, Mental Health

Something I struggle with, is being able to relax, to simply let my mind be free. I often find myself spending evenings still thinking about photography, projects, planning, researching, and ultimately becoming overwhelmed with my workload. I have somehow forgotten how to switch off and relax, actually allowing myself to put work aside and not feel guilty for doing so.
I’ve been thinking for a while, that maybe what I need is a hobby to relax with. Something completely unconnected to photography, that has no deadlines or connection to my daily work. I still love and enjoy photography, but I feel I need to separate work from downtime. Being a freelancer, it’s something I find incredibly difficult to do. I imagine I’ll still have moments where inspiration and desire overcomes, but the aim is to allow myself time to relax without the darkness of guilt lurking in my mind.
So what hobby? I’ve been thinking about making my own clothes, but having seen sewing programmes I think my attempt at relaxing with a sewing machine would be very misplaced. I used to knit when I was younger, with my mum, and with my gran who was especially good at most crafts, in retrospect I wish I’d paid more attention. I’ve decided to get back into the habit and relearn to knit and create sweaters, blankets, hats, gloves!
I bought some yarn and knitting needles yesterday and began practicing. Today I learnt seed stitch. A few more swatches to practice with and I’ll be making a fancy jumper in no time.
Knitting is strangely therapeutic, something I didn’t think it would be. It’s something purely for myself, I can complete and create in my own time with no pressures. It’s calming, keeps my busy mind occupied on creating rather than thinking about work long after I should have switched it off. My therapist gave me ideas about listening to music to relax to, but always emphasising on finding something individual that works for you. I think this could be my individual method of relaxation.
I’ve done a little research and apparently I’m not alone in this thinking!

As a psychologist I am always aware of the how things affect us on a mental / emotional level and I have always known, on an intuitive level, that making and creating things makes people feel good.

Author: Hilary Bruffell