Wellbeing and not so wellbeing
In my first blog post of the year I mentioned that rather than make a New Year’s resolutions, I would choose a theme and work on that. And that my theme for 2015 is ‘wellbeing’.
One of the things I’ve been trying is to increase how much exercise I do. I’ve always been active, but it’s been difficult since I’ve had fibromyalgia. Regular exercise helps manage this condition, but do too much and you risk a flare-up. This year I’m focusing on what I can do, which is walking and cycling short distances.
One of my Christmas presents was a smart wristband; it counts my steps and uploads the data so I can analyse it. So, for the first two weeks of the year, I kept to my normal routine, finding out that I walk 3000 to 7000 steps per day depending on whether I’m at home all day, or walk somewhere else. Nowhere near the recommended 10000 steps! If I’m working from home walking around is quite slow and not ‘active’; if I walk somewhere then my walking is brisk and is ‘active’. I can easily do 30 minutes of’ active’ walking without reaching 10000 steps.
Last week I increased the number of steps, averaging just over 10000 steps per day. I’m enjoying all this walking, although as I’m now walking everywhere I’m cycling far less often. The only problem was that as the week went on, I had more fatigue and pain. By the end of the week, I felt really ill. I reached the point where even sitting down and doing absolutely nothing was too much, so for a couple of days, I had a sleep-eat regime. A fibro flare bought on by walking!
As I started to feel better, I felt able to do something, not much, but something as a distraction from some stubborn muscular pain. I did some really simple knitting.
Last year I started teaching hand-knit and crochet to a group of service users at Headway, a charity that works with people with brain injuries. I’ve been impressed with how much they enjoy this and the impact that it has on their lives. Most of the time my group is working on individual projects, so I have a personalised approach to teaching. We discuss what they want to do next, then I teach necessary techniques.
I like to inspire people by showing them knitted items, but don’t have many samples of really easy knits to show to beginners. So the aim of my Well-knitting project is to make these samples. And, on Monday, when I was resting and recovering I worked on one of my Well-knitting project samples. The repetitive movements were meditative, and there was the satisfaction of making something that will be useful. So, I was using simple knitting as a tool to improve my own wellbeing!
Well-knitting project 1
The point of well-knitting projects is that they should be knitted in simple stitches and require little construction. This is so that knitters can start to use knitting as a well-being tool soon after learning to knit
So the first of my well-knitting projects is a garter stitch face cloth. It uses a minimum of skills so it is realistic. It’s small, so achievable and quick for a beginner. No one will wear it so it doesn’t matter if there are a few mistakes.
I used a Patons 100% Cotton DK which is widely available. It is soft and it drapes beautifully in garter stitch.
Add a bar of soap to make a gift for yourself or someone else!
Reflect and learn, then move on!
Now I’m up and about again what have I learnt from my walks so far this year. Firstly, I can walk 10000 steps, just not every day at the moment. I can manage 30 minutes of ‘active’ walking without doing 10000 steps. So, I’m going to carry on walking, but lower the target and build up from there. I’m aiming to walk 6000 steps a day for a couple of weeks, then increase that by roughly 10% every couple of weeks. Hopefully, I’ll avoid another flare and become fitter.
Meanwhile, there’s the next well-knitting project to do!