Hand made anxiety

Well the title is a bit misleading. I am using my hands to make things, just not ‘making anxiety’. I suppose ‘the act of making stuff by hand is my current way of dealing with anxiety’ isn’t that snappy a title, but it is the focus of this post.

I learned to knit this year. A friend got a bunch of us together and convinced us to try knitting. I tried it, was hooked, and haven’t looked back since. Knitting is usually associated with lonely old women, grandmothers (not the same thing) or hippy earth-mother types. At least that was my impression. Was I ever WRONG on all accounts. It’s a brilliant hobby and one that has helped me manage my stress and anxiety in surprising ways.

When I knit, I’m focused on knitting. In the now, and on the thing I’m making. It feels like a break. A long, proper break from the anxiety I feel about work and life (mostly work, but that’s another time). I’ve got several projects on the go, so the struggle for me is to slow down and take the time to enjoy the process. I tend to focus on finishing rather than taking it slow and taking it in. I should be enjoying the ‘break’ but I find old habits die hard: the need to complete things. The need to finish. The need to accomplish something. To do something useful. To have something to show – It’s not easy to untangle (heh heh) all these inadequacies, but I’m learning. Slowly. One bit of wool at a time, I suppose.

It feels good to make things with my hands. In the end, that’s what matters to me. That feeling of a proper break.

New bits and pieces

I’ve had this blog on ‘pause’ since 2017 and today is the first time I’ve actually felt like writing an update. So, hello there.

It’s been a while.

There’s nothing like the first of the month to start afresh. Even if it is a Friday. Also, it’s #NaWriMo which is always a good time to write. In the past I used this month for hard core, focussed, get-it-down-whatever-it-takes kind of writing, like my methods chapter for my PhD, or first drafts of conference papers. This time, post-PhD, I’m taking a different tack and would like to use this month for create some headspace for me.

I’d like to recreate this blog as something more me. Less work and more about, well, other things. I’m not quite sure what. It’s a strange kind of awakening. Who I am has been caught up entirely in what I do at work. Then, when work and the work environment becomes unbearable what happens to me? I’ve sort of been picking up the pieces and sorting through the mess of my anxiety, and I think this blog is going to be part of that process.

So, I think this blog – at least for this month, will be a mix of ‘pieces’. Bits of me that might have something to do with work, might have something to do with other things. I’ll see where this takes me. Come along for the ride.

PhD Completion Experiences

This is an archive of some of my more popular posts about PhD experiences. If you’re currently on a PhD programme I hope you find something useful to take away from my experiences.

Thesis writing: a multi-taskers nightmare

Isolation activities: thesis writing and running

Day 68: Trying out 2 different writing activities

Post-submission thoughts 1: The last few weeks before submission

Post-submission thoughts 2: Viewing leisure as yet just another “to do list” item

I had my PhD viva, and I enjoyed it. There, I said it.

Viva questions: Examples from my personal experience