As a Life & Health Coach I know the importance of making sure we have ‘down’ time to rest, relax and restore our energy levels. I’m frequently advising clients to take time out to relax, to have a good work-life balance. Because I’m self-employed my working hours at the office tend to blend too easily into home life resulting in a mostly work-work, no-balance lifestyle. The list of things to do is never ending and it was all too easy to come home in the evenings and weekends to log onto my laptop to attend to some e-mails, update the website etc and find that I was still there hours later and my free time had disappeared. Not only that but hours spent hovering over a bright screen didn’t do anything for my sleep patterns. It was taking its toll on my posture and I was starting to get aches and pains too. So, at the end of last year/beginning of this year I decided to take my own advice and cut back on my screen time and set proper work times and leisure times. As well as taking time out I also wanted to include more mindfulness and quiet time into my days too.
I didn’t really know where to start, so I decided to get back to doing some of the things I loved to do before life got so busy… in my case this meant looking back more than 20 years…. way back then I loved to knit, crochet, embroider etc but a busy family and work life meant that these activities took a back seat. Around the same time a post popped up on my FB page about a crochet project called a Temperature Blanket. I was curious and followed the link and found the instructions: you create a blanket by crocheting 1 row a day for a year, each days’ colour is determined by the temperature in your city/town that day. You choose your own colour scheme and type of yarn to use at the beginning of the year and this is followed throughout the year-long project. To my surprise there were thousands of folk from all over the world joining in this project. I’m not particularly artistic so this project took the pressure off me having to come up with a design and it sounded to me like an ideal mindfulness project; taking time each day (5 mins) to sit quietly and concentrate on just 1 row of crochet. So after some planning of colours etc, I got started and got ‘hooked’! I loved it and I’ve never been so interested in the weather forecast – a change in temperature might just mean changing to a new colour, yay! Five minutes a day wasn’t enough though and so I started some other crochet blankets and other projects.
Being creative and seeing my projects grow and take shape inspired me so much that I started experimenting with other projects and this lead to my renewed passion for pearls. So, since the beginning of the year not only have I produced some fabulous blankets that the family can snuggle up with, I’ve also learned to string pearls on silk thread and started creating my own jewellery. This passion for pearls has resulted in me creating some lovely pearly pieces for friends and family as well as being asked to restore and revive favourite pearl necklaces and bracelets for others. I just love that I can help others fall in love again with their treasured jewels and that folks love to wear my jewellery creations. Here are some photos of a few of my projects.
Just a few months down the line and I am very precious about my leisure time and I have clear boundaries around my work time. I am rarely on my laptop at home – unless I’m researching for inspiration for my blankets and jewellery.
I can honestly say that the time I spend creating blankets and jewellery has definitely helped me relax. As well as giving me quiet, mindful time it also helps stimulate different parts of my brain which helps me concentrate better and cope with everyday stresses. Getting back to my crafty creations has resulted in me sleeping better, I’m more mindful, energetic, productive and happier in general. My eyes are thankful for the reduction in screen time too. I would encourage everyone to get curious about arts and crafts; have some playtime, try something new – photography, drawing, painting, pottery, knitting, crochet, just whatever takes your fancy….. you might just discover a passion you didn’t know you had!