What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone talk about 'comfort food'? For me it's pumpkin soup and fresh bread, scones with jam and cream, chocolate or a steaming cup of tea.
Over the past few years I have discovered that while yes I absolutely love comfort foods and crave them, especially when the weather is cool, I also have an insatiable appetite for comfort pass times.
When I am stressed, anxious, sad, bored or overwhelmed I typically turn to something familiar, something I love and something that's portable, that I can bring with me out into the world, FIBRE!
Long wait at the fracture clinic for my broken thumb? I bring my knitting. An hour in the hot stuffy heated pool complex while my kids have swimming lessons, I bring my basket weaving. Slow evenings watching my sick dog tremble and shake with some unknown illness, I sit with my knitting by his side so I can watch him and stay calm myself.
Now of course I didn't always do these kinds of things, but over time I have come to know myself so much better, and it's now second nature for me to prepare for things in this way.
For example I know that sometimes being in a hospital can make my anxiety go nuts, I often get really hot and sweaty, the smell of the hand soap brings me straight back to those foggy days post child birth where everything hurt and I felt so unsure. I've visited loved ones in hospitals just days before they passed, I've had my kids in the ED countless times in pain as we tackle the hours long wait to see a doctor. It can be tough!
And, now that I know that about myself and I'm aware of what calms my mind, I can go prepared. I wear layers so I don't get too hot, I bring a book or a small crochet project. I always have water with me and I often bring ear phones so I can listen to a podcast.
Just the other week we had a big family trip planned, 6 hrs in the car and the traffic and chaos that only comes from being in the city was really playing on my mind. The week before I was feeling really excited, thinking of all the fun we'd have and the family we'd get to see. But then the day before we left, when I needed to pack the car and get everything organised I started to really feel panicked.
Nervous energy got the best of me and my brain indulged in catastrophizing every possible ill that could befall us. I was fighting my own mind, trying to stay in control and just get tasks done but it was so hard. By the end of the day I had done most of the things I needed to, but then I realised what else I had done without realising it.
I had sat down to spin at my wheel no less than 3 times that day! 3 times!! Unless I'm working on some yarn for my business that's a rarity, but in that moment it became so clear. While I'd been telling myself I needed to organise my bobbins and make room for work yarns etc etc what I'd actually been doing was spinning because it soothed me.
Even though I never consciously thought 'maybe I'll go spin to help me feel better' I kept being drawn to my wheel for 30mins here and hour there in between all the other packing jobs I did. My body knew what I needed and led me there, and by that night I had a totally refreshed love for my spinning practice. It had allowed me moments of respite and reprieve from the chaos that was happening inside my head.
Now I'm not saying that spinning or slow making is the magic pill to cure all your ailments, it's not. But what I am saying is it can be such a powerful tool to keep in your back pocket. It forms such an important part of my life, of my self care and my sanity that I know it can help you too. I combine it with things like daily meditation, long walks, spending time in nature, time with friends and medication.
Often I'll have some of my members say to me 'I haven't touched my wheel in months and I feel so awful about it' or 'We moved in 3 months ago and I still haven't set my spinning space up'.
They are feeling bad because they feel like they 'should' be spinning more often, but I always remind them that it's ok, your wheel isn't going to expire or disappear in a cloud of fairy dust.
It will be there, waiting and ready for you whenever you need it.
The more you spin the more you want to spin, in my experience. And the more you spin, or knit or weave or whatever your fibre passion may be, the more your brain and body begin to know the movements by heart. You're essentially partaking in a moving meditation without really knowing it, and the combination of slow movements and room to think or totally zone out is so powerful.
So next time you find yourself faced with a daunting outing or appointment or tough day at home try to squeeze in a little time for something slow and comforting, I promise you it's so worth it.
If you love the idea of combining spinning with meditation, then please head to my website here to read more about my sustainable fibre boxes that combine curated fibre related meditations with traceable, luxury fibres.
To listen to my podcast episode discussing this topic please click here, and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode.