A few years ago, I had a bit of a blip and found myself struggling to find a purpose in life. I am not sure exactly how I got to the low point in the first place or over what period of time it manifested itself, but by the time Christmas 2017 rolled around I was at a point where I knew I needed some help, although I had no idea what sort of support I should seek. In the end I sorted out some online life coaching classes and ordered some self-help books, which I read over the course of a few weeks, each day beginning to feel more and more positive.
By the time I was setting off to teach on the Knit For Peace trip to Mysore in January 2018 I was already feeling like I was beginning to rid myself of the negativity that had started to overshadow me, but it was the trip to India that consolidated my belief in the detrimental effect that negativity could have on my life and made me promise myself not to be taken so far down that route again.
The reason I am telling you this is because over the last month or so I have found myself slowly slipping down the dangerous slope of negativity. The lack of difference between lockdown days and the fact that we have no real plans to look forward to over the next few months means that I have found it really easy to focus on all that is wrong in the world rather than all that is right and I know that spending much more time on my own than I usually would has definitely led me to do a lot of over thinking.
I have a friend who lives with her mind constantly in the past. She focuses on all the things that she feels have gone wrong in her life and re-lives them in her head over and over again. It is really easy to do this kind of constant dredging up especially when we are spending so much time alone. I have definitely been falling into the trap of having those ‘why me’ and ‘its not fair’ kind of thoughts, whilst also being guilty of imagining future negative scenarios so that in the end neither the past, nor the future are looking in the slightest bit positive.
As knitters and crocheters we enjoy solitary pass times that are independent by nature so it is important that we are extra careful that we recognise when we are feeling isolated. We are living in a situation where we have so much more time to think and procrastinate, whilst also being constantly bombarded with news stories and social media feeds, many of which are negative. So, this week I have decided that enough is enough and have made a promise to myself that I will get back on a positive track. I have given myself a good talking to and have spent some time reminding myself about what it was about that trip to India and the content of those online classes and self help books that helped me sort my life out a few years ago, and which I am hoping will do so again….
There is a large lake in the University grounds near the Green Hotel in Mysore. It is a popular destination for people and wildlife alike and it is a great place for a daily stroll, so when we are lucky enough to be away with the Knit For Peace groups, we try our best to get there as often as we can. While walking one morning in January 2018, Andy and I were approached by some young adults who invited us to attend a coaching class that had been organised for the university students. The group were adamant that we should go to the meeting and so later on that day a 5 of us did!
As we were quite clearly not Indian University students we were quite a novelty in the group activities that were organised for that afternoon, but we had a fabulous time working through some positive behaviour exercises with all the students. They were so welcoming, vibrant and happy that there was no way we could have walked away from the event feeling anything less that euphoric having danced, played games and laughed with them, all the time being taught about the perils of negative thoughts and behaviour and the importance of positivity. After the workshop one of the students took us to the nearby Hindu temple, which was so peaceful and beautiful bathed in the pink sunset. It was an incredibly special afternoon, one which I will always remember as being a huge turning point for me in regards to recognising the detrimental effects of negativity.
In the book ‘How to get off your backside and live your life’ by Joyce H Campbell the author talks about how we must all steer our own ships and stop playing the blame game, ultimately taking total responsibility for our own lives. This was one of the things that the university students in India focussed on too and for me, this idea of being totally in control of our own destiny, is something that I need to remind myself about..
Last week I came across this great video by Will Smith that kind of encapsulates this is a nut shell.
Another one of the books I refer to over and over again is Stephen R Covey’s awesome ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’, which talks about the positive effects of sharing and being open to others – being Proactive rather than Reactive. I have mentioned this book before and I still check in from time to time to see the video that shows Covey’s 7 habits in a simple, easy to understand way.
I think I am on the up and have managed to get myself back in a positive frame of mind, but if you are feeling down and feel in need of help don’t be afraid of looking for it. The charity Mind have been doing some really important work through lockdown and are there to help anyone who feels overwhelmed. It is normal to feel down from time to time and there is no shame in admitting, like I have, that your mental health is not always in tip top condition, but it is imperative that we recognise it and deal with it.
If you could do with a bit of a pick-me-up (and are not yet totally fed up with Zoom meetings) then you could book some online courses or events. I attended some great workshops as part of Vogue Knitting Live over the weekend and would thoroughly recommend them. I also arranged to chat to some friends for a bit and took myself off on a long walk. It is all stuff we know, but sometimes it is good to have a reminder that it is really important to get plenty of sleep, exercise and fresh air and to keep safe and be kind to ourselves as well as others...
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