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Knitting Works

If you've spent any kind of time with me you know that my knitting is intimately connected to my perspective of mental health management. And never has mental health been more important.


Quarantine has looked so different for everyone, but for me I've had a whole lot less of certain kinds of time and a whole lot more of other kinds.


Like so many other people, I'm home with 3 kids, supervising their distance education. Consequently, I have a lot less time alone, a lot less focused time on any of my projects, and a lot more time sitting listening to halted reading and groans over word problems.


This kind of time is torture for me. I sit, helping with the occasional word, breaking up fights over the preferred set of headphones, making sure my kids aren't clicking away from their lessons to watch youTube videos of other kids playing video games, and otherwise watching my energy to tackle any of my own projects drain before my very eyes.


I finally realized that this was ideal knitting time. So long as it's a simple project, I don't mind getting interrupted. I'm doing something I enjoy. I'm creating something and being productive. It's a good way to kill the time.


But on a neurological level, knitting is far more than a way to kill time. Two handed, rhythmic motions that crosses the mid line of the body creates a meditative and mindful state . It has also been shown that when we use our hands to solve some sort of problem that has to do with our basic human needs such as food, or clothing, there is an actual release of dopamine in our brains. These two principles are hard at work when I knit and it has become a critical strategy in keeping me from the worry, anger, and irritation that i'm inevitably tempted to in all my interactions with my children.


At the moment, I'm working on a super simple pullover sweater. Lots of stockinette and bits of simple shaping and counting. It's been the perfect project.



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