Calming the Storm: How Weaving Helped My Mental State

In the last 7 months, I have started a new job with more responsibility, moved in with my fiancé in a new city, started wedding planning,  and tried to figure out how to make roots now that my nomadic-job-life is in the past. Every single one of those things has been stressful so far, and some days, I felt like the stress was too much for me – here’s my story on how I eventually felt okay again through art.

Moving in with my fiancé was something I expected to be difficult – we are very different people with very different habits. I’m glad we decided to live together before getting married so we could get used to each other, but some days were so hard to push through – I would expect him to do one thing, and he would do the total opposite – I didn’t recognize this person, I thought. I became a weird clingy version of myself out of boredom while he worked late nights, and he expected me to stay the same independent personality I always had been. Little things would make us angry at one another because we had false expectations of what the other person would do – after a ton of communication on setting expectations and me getting a hobby to keep me from getting lonely, we figured out a system for making it work. This was only part stress that contributed to my anxious demeanor during the first couple months in the new home.

Work was another story entirely, but still stressful. I am now working on the same team I was before I moved, with the same company, on the same project, but I’m now working remotely from the rest of the team – they are all in Upstate NY, but my Southern self wanted to be closer to family, so I’m back in the land of peaches and palmetto trees. With the new “role”, even on the same team, I have more responsibility than I had before… and less people to talk to. In the past, I could always walk over to a friend’s desk or drop in my manager’s office when my extroverted half needed an audience, but now I have to schedule time with people to have small talk, and that formality alone means it never really happens. Being lonely at work definitely contributed to my boredom and anxiety. In my mind, I had nobody to talk to at work, I felt like I was living with a stranger who I thought I knew better than that, and I could no longer think of each part of life as a 6-month stint with an expiration date (like I was accustomed to). Help.

There were probably other things that contributed to how I was feeling too, but looking back, they must not have been as important as I thought they were because I can’t remember them. Either way, I felt awful. I was feeling somewhere between trapped and bored and anxious and, honestly, scared. Was this it? Do you just go to work, then go home and occupy your mind with Netflix every day? What kind of life is this? It took me a while to sit down and self-reflect to figure out what I thought was missing. I had a great job, a great guy, a beautiful house to rent, and sunny [warm] weather – why was I so unhappy?

I eventually realized the problem: I was expecting for everything to happen at once. The fiancé and I were supposed to mesh seamlessly into a rhythm right away. I was supposed to make work and non-work friends immediately. I was supposed to feel secure and successful in a new job on Day 1. I was supposed to get to town and run into new hobbies right when I got there. The house was supposed to look perfect the day all the stuff was unpacked. Why did I put so much pressure on everything to be perfect and done so fast? I eventually realized that it’s ok to take your time sometimes…so I made myself slow down.

Once I figured that part out, I needed to find a solution for my boredom – that was the only thing that wasn’t just going to fall into place over time without a little effort.

I got tired of staring at computers at work – so tired you couldn’t make me pick up my phone some days to look at the bright screen – so it had to be something that didn’t involve computers. I tried the drawing/lettering/calligraphy thing, and honestly, it was fun (and still is), but I can only write so many words a day without being bored. It needed to  be something that took a while so it could take over my brain for longer than an hour of TV.

After watching @theblushingscript make so many woven things I wanted to buy, but couldn’t justify spending the money on, I decided to try to teach myself to weave on a lap loom – it didn’t look like the learning curve was too steep. I went to Hobby Lobby, got myself a loom and some yarn, and came back home to watch YouTube videos until I figured it out. I quickly learned how relaxing just watching yarn go back and forth could be, and just like that, I was hooked – or loomed, I guess.

After learning to weave, I had something to focus my mental energy on that didn’t require a lot of analytical thinking or dexterity, and I stopped noticing the time go by. Since learning, I have made almost 30 small woven wall-hangings/tapestries, and I’m still coming up with new ideas for them everyday – my brain and heart are happy, and I don’t find the time to worry as much anymore.

Since the Fall, I have also opened an Etsy shop and an Instagram for my work – it does take up a lot of space, so hopefully onlookers or buyers will help me clear them out. I came up with the title “Life in Crafting” based on this blog’s name “Life in Planning” – hopefully someone finds that fun, and hopefully nobody steals any of the other “Life in…” names – jk but not really.

I could probably write another post on how to weave, techniques, or finding ways to stay creative while weaving another day, but for now, I just wanted to share my story and some of the difficulties I had when starting this new chapter in my life. I know it probably also doesn’t stack up to most of the bad things people go through, but to me, it was really tough – and the tears I shed and stresses I had were very real. I wouldn’t wish anxiety or depressive thoughts on anyone, so hopefully this will help anyone out there who feels alone in it.

If anyone reading has a similar story about some form of art pulling you out of a hard time or just wants to discuss crafts, I’m here – just comment below.

4 thoughts on “Calming the Storm: How Weaving Helped My Mental State

  1. unhingedandunenlightened says:

    Knitting and embroidering really helps me calm the storms of anxiety in my head. Honestly, I’ve gotten into making lace (bobbin lacemaking and knit) just because it’s hard and it takes so much focus to do! I don’t even like lace, haha, but doign it really helps me a TON.

    Like

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