Little Cabin Knits Episode 9: Stress knitting




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Ravelry Group: Between Knits and Purls

Facebook Group: Between Knits and Purls

 

Raise A Cuppa

· Been working furiously on a new program to Strengthen the Family Unit within my organization

· AndersMill Knits has now officially been changed to Between Knits and Purls

On the Shelf:

· Ear Savers: crocheted over 100 of them!

o I designed them

o Knit with various cotton blend yarns

· Machine knit hats

o Used my new knitting machine to “knit” up 4 hats

§ 2 out of Fishermen’s wool by Lion Brand

§ Used the sample yarns they sent a long with the machine for my first hat

§ A mystery left over skein of fingering weight

 

On the Couch:

· Darkwatrer sweater by Jennifer Stiengass

o Revelry Link: Ravelry: andersmillknits' Darkwater

o Knit with Cascade heritage Sock in the colorway 5605 Plum and

o Long Dog yarns colorway New growth

o US needle size 5 and 6

· My second cast on of the Alaska Skirt by wee_ewe_knits

o Knit with my own handdyed worsted weight silk and wool yarn in a sky blue and purple pink.

o Knit with size 5 and 6 US needles

o Knitting size 6

· Marshland by Tin Can Knits

o Knit with Knit Picks

o US size 7 needle for gauge

o MC: Knit Picks Provincial Tweed Worsted weight in Grey

o CC: Frozen Pond, Caremel, Black, and Salsa Verde

o Jeremy’s wedding sweater


 

Personal Skill Set: The Stress of Responsibility

Responsibilities are a part of life. We are obligated to work, to do our chores, to care for our loved ones.

Our responsibilities in life can be seen as obligations or as gifts. It is all in the mindset to which we view them. How ever we view them it cannot be denied that our responsibilities create stress whether it is something we enjoy or not. Let’s talk about stress in general for a moment. (before proceeding I would like to note that if stress is causing physical or psychological distress to you please seek help from your physician or a mental health professional)…..

Stress


Some people cope remarkably well with the pressures in their lives. They know when to take time out, look at the situation differently or turn to others for support. Unfortunately, many more people cope with stress in ways that are actually self-destructive.


There has been no definition of stress that everyone accepts. Probably the most common is, “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension”. Another popular definition of stress is, “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.”


Most people consider the definition of stress to be something that causes distress. However, stress is not always harmful since increased stress can result in increased productivity and motivation. When we talk of stress we must also embrace this type of healthy stress, which is usually ignored when you ask someone about their definition of stress.


 

4 Types of Stress:


Acute Stress

Fight or flight. The body prepares to defend itself. This occurs when the individual feels threatened, and our base instincts are activated. This type of stress response usually lasts about 90 minutes. After which the body is worn out (almost as if you just ran a marathon), and the metabolism returns to normal when the response is over. – Most people feel worn out and exhausted after an instance of acute stress.


Chronic Stress

This is the cost of daily living: paying/managing bills, kids, jobs…This is the stress we may try to ignore or push down. Chronic stress is long term and as such if left uncontrolled this stress affects your health- your body and your immune system. Yes stress can actually morph into an actual physical illness if not cared for!


Eustress

Eustress is the stress of daily life that has positive connotations such as: Marriage Promotion Baby Winning Money New Friends Graduation

This stress response causes a reaction in the body of adrenaline, positive emotions, motivation, and deeper connections to those around us.


Distress

Distress occurs with larger, more negative life changes or occurrences rear their head. These can include such occurrences as: Divorce Punishment Injury Negative feelings Financial Problems Work Difficulties


Have you ever noticed a decline in your ability to manage the smaller daily tasks when these negative changes occur? Or that your emotions are rocky, and you may struggle to control them. Recognizing that these symptoms are in direct reaction to the negative stressor can assist you in gaining back control over your emotions and situation.


 

Reactions to Stress

When your mind identifies something that is a threat to you physically (a menacing-looking dog) or emotionally (a boss who threatens to fire you over a small mistake), you will physically and emotionally react to it. If it is a passing threat that quickly resolves itself (the dog turns out to be friendly) or a neutral one (your boss mistakenly sent you an email intended for another person), your reaction will be minimal. When the stressor is highly charged, you trigger what is called the stress response. This is your body’s way of mobilizing what happens next and where you ideally want to intervene in order to manage the stress response.


Unfortunately, many people have unhealthy responses that actually accentuate the stress reaction. Let’s look at a few of those unhelpful responses:


1) Denial:

One very common coping mechanism used to inhibit the stress-response is denial. It’s very hard to release tension if you won’t admit it’s there. Denial says there is no problem. A person in denial might say: “I’m not tense” or “These issues don’t cause me a problem, I just let them roll off my back.” Yet these are statements only try to minimize the mental, emotional, and physical tension that is mounting. This tension is stored in your muscles and causes you to be preoccupied with highly charged emotions.


2) Avoidance:

A close cousin to denial is avoidance. Avoidance attempts to side-step the problem by exchanging one thing for another. For instance, a person may acknowledge that they are upset about a particular situation but distracts themselves by funneling their energy away from the problematic person or situation.


Here are some common avoidance behaviors:


Overwork: If you are stressed and unhappy with your marriage, work can be a convenient excuse for never being home. The workplace may provide the esteem and control that seems missing at home. It’s easy to immerse yourself in work while mentally justifying your choices as necessary to “provide for the family.”


Busyness: Instead of facing the problematic patterns or behaviors in our lives, we can fill in all the spaces with incessant busyness. This is usually unconscious but ensures that we will have no idle time that might remind us of our unresolved issues. The more we push them to the side, the more stress accrues and the greater energy we put toward staying even busier. When we have free time, we distract ourselves with television or other entertainment to keep away from reflection.


Passive entertainment: Avoidance through passive entertainment is probably the most prominent form of “stress-management” practiced by most people. This is when you put yourself on auto-pilot and hope that as you immerse yourself in some entertainment, such as a well-loved TV show like Friends or Cheers, that it will take your mind off your stressors and it will all go away. At least for the time it takes for Joey in Friends to make you laugh till you cry. Again, this is keeping you away from reflection and problem solving.


(Again, I ask that if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of distress please seek assistance from your medical provider or mental health professional).


 

The Stress of Knitting


If you are listening to this podcast no doubt you are a knitter with a capital K. Therefor it is hard to imagine that our passion can also be a stressor. However, when your knitting takes the form of obligation knitting, or comparing yourself to another’s abilities we can fall into the “knitting stress trap.”


When I talk of obligation knitting, I am talking about when you set a goal of knitting socks for all your family members, or having an all handknit Christmas, or someone has asked you to knit them something and you just don’t know how to say no to them. (saying no and setting boundaries is a topic for another time). This and so many other instances can cause our knitting to turn from a joyful engagement to a stress monster that threatens to overwhelm us.


When my knitting has caused me stress, I find that I go into avoidance mode: If I don’t look at it then I don’t have to do it. It’s not real and therefore not a stressor, right?


Wrong, because as we all know the thought of the project is ever present in our minds and is like a revolving door of which we are trapped in.


Some may think the answer to all this is simple: Don’t knit for others! Knit for yourself and knit what you love.


But here’s the thing. We knitters love the idea of seeing our loved ones wrapped up all cozy and comfy in something we made just for them. The idea brings a jolt of joy through our system that is undeniable.

I know that when I see my loved ones: my Fiancé, my mother, my siblings; wearing the socks, sweaters, shawls and hats that I knit for them, I feel empowered, capable, and especially loved; because I know they enjoy wearing the items I knit for them.


So then if the answer isn’t to stop knitting for others what is the answer?


To that I am sadly going to say, “I don’t know.” I can only tell you what I do when I feel this way and what has worked for me.


Let’s take these sweaters that I am knitting for my wedding as an example. I have an image in my head of Jeremy and I being wrapped up in the wooly softness of these sweaters for our engagement pictures, and during the reception at our wedding.


In order to make this a reality I have to knit both sweaters in six weeks. A daunting task when I think that normally it takes me about a year to finish one sweater!


So, I sat down, and I made a goal for each of the six weeks – what I needed to have completed each week in order to have these sweaters ready for our engagement photos.


Then I sat back and looked over my plan. As I looked at it, I was reminded of where in the process I tend to stall out: the sleeves.


I generally knit top down sweaters and in doing so the patterns have you split for the sleeves, putting the live stitches onto holders to wait. Once you are done with the body of the sweater you come back, pick up the sleeves and knit those and you’re are done with the sweater!


For me that just doesn’t work. Once I am done with the body of the sweater, I am a bit worn out. I just knit miles and miles of stockinette and the thought of picking up the sleeves is often abhorrent to me. Or if I do pick them up, I get stuck on “sleeve island” knitting round and round, having to maneuver the heavy sweater in my lap and feeling my hands and arms fatigue from all the weight.


As I contemplated my plan it hit me “Why do I have to wait until the body of the sweater is done to knit the sleeves?” Why not knit the sleeves after I have separated for them and then I will have them done and can reward myself with the joy of knitting the body of the sweater?!


So that is what I am doing. Next week I plan on knitting the yoke of my sweater, and the following week I will pick up and knit the sleeves of Jeremy’s sweater, the week after that on to the sleeves of my sweater, and so on. The rush of empowerment, of making this sweater knitting process my own while still meeting my obligation deadline sent a rush of exhilaration through my body.


Now. I am a reward driven individual. I know this about myself and I have come to a place of peace about it. So, I use a reward system to cheer and motivate me as I work on my obligation knitting.


My reward for completing these sweaters is to buy myself yarn for my wedding shawl. I have wanted to knit a hap shawl for years, and I’ve determined that this will be the wedding present to myself. When the sweaters are done, I am rewarding myself with yarn to knit up my dream project. Now that is motivation!

In addition to this, I have projects on my needles that are not obligation knitting with which I reward myself with when I meet my weekly goals.


This is what is working for me. But what about you?


Perhaps walking away from obligation knitting for a time is the answer: Immerse yourself in knits you have dreamed of knitting for yourself and when the stress has died down you can look at it again with fresh eyes.


Perhaps alternating between obligation knitting and joyful knitting is the answer.


Or move to a quiet place where others don’t distract you and you can focus your attention and energy on the love in each stitch as you imagine your loved one wrapped up in the object.


Or creating mini goals like I have down. Creating a checklist for the project so you can get excited each time you check off another mini goal leading to the completion of the greater project.


Maybe a reward system is right for you.


I cannot tell you what will work for you, that is up to you. What I can tell you is that denying yourself the joy of knitting is not the answer. Embrace the stress of obligation knitting, make it your friend and not your foe.


 

A Time for Hygge

Stress Reducing

Hygge is all about indulging in pleasure, making deep connections to loved ones, quality time, and comfort.

One thing you do not hear expressed enough is the aspect of calmness within Hygge. The very act of Hygge promotes peace. Creating a home that is welcoming and comfortable will reduce your stress levels. Lighting candles, putting on music to sway or sing to reduces stress. Surrounding yourself with loved ones that accept you for who you are reduces stress.

5 ways In Which Can Reduce Stress

1) Physical activity

We may not view Hygge as physical however, one of the ways the Danes embrace the Hygge lifestyle is by being active: riding bikes to work and errands, walks, hiking, etc. While the Danes promote eating indulgently they also counter that with regular exercise. Scientifically we know that physical activity reduces the cortosel levels within the body and promotes positive neurons. So exercising is Hygge!


I have a goal of working out three to five times a week and though I don’t always enjoy getting up at 5am on a Tuesday morning, once my body is moving I feel it coming alive and thriving. The days seem to progress more smoothly from then on and I am able to manage the daily stressors a bit more evenly as a result.

2) Bedtime

Sleep is all important for our bodies to rejuvenate and heal from the days activities and stressors. By going to bed earlier and getting in the much needed 6-8, even 10 hours your body craves of sleep a night you are employing Hygge while reducing stress. Listen to your body. This week has been very stressful for me at work. Both the positive and negative stressors and it has taken a toll on my body. Just last night I was knitting on Jeremy’s sweater and my body just hollered at me for sleep. It was only 8:30, my bedtime not for another hour in a half, however, I listened to my body and within minutes I was swept away to dream land. I feel so much better today for that extra hour of sleep.


Transform your bedroom into your haven. A welcoming space of comfort with cozy blankets, pillows, and an air of welcoming you. What that looks like is up to you!

3) Break time

Taking a break is actually Hygge. Knowing when to put a period on something, to walk away and stretch, meditate, breathe fresh air, all this will increase your bodies ability to mange the daily stressors and promote that feeling of security and comfort that is Hygge.

4) Switch of Electronic devices.

Hygge is all about connection. No not the connection of clicking the like button on Instagram or commenting on someone’s post on Facebook, but the real, face to face connections. These connections are not only o your loved ones, but to yourself as well.


In addition, we know that the blue light on our devices activate the brain activity which is counter productive when we are attempting to slow down or sleep. So even if it is just an hour before bedtime, turning off your devices will increase your feeling of security and Hygge.

5) Indulge

Indulgence may not sound stress relieving, but how does demanding that you only eat 500 calories a day seem not stressful?! Embrace yourself, and try the daily act of “Fika”, a break to sit down. Enjoy a hot drink, or sweet delight and enjoy the moment of being you in that space without judgement.


 

On a Positive Note:

When we live from a place, I believe, that says ’I’m enough,’ the we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.” – Brene Brown

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