Monday, 16 June 2014

Three ways to Keep Calm and Carry on Sewing

You know how it is, everything is pulling in different directions, you are overwhelmed by tasks and  life generally.  These are three things I have used in the last 6 months that have helped keep at least a semblance of control over a busy life and keep my mental state stable.  I am by no means perfect- oh how my husband would laugh to read me giving advice on keeping calm and sane, but these aides to my life have helped me so much and I found today my blood pressure is the lowest its been in 14 years.

1. Practice Mindfulness


I mentioned this way back in January.  I followed the eight week programme in this book and it took me five months to really feel the benefit.  Many times I nearly gave up but I am so glad I continued, even if it was through gritted teeth as I truly feel the positive effects.  Mindfulness is basically daily meditation.  I do around 15-20 mins every morning before I go to work.  There is no special secret, a book like this is helpful as it gives you goals to get the process going, a framework to work in and the CD provides you will a selection of meditations.  There is a free meditation to download here.  I also found this on Amazon and I use the CALM practice, the sleep, the Complete Breath and the Focusing the Mind meditations and they are my current favourites. The hardest part of Mindfulness is keeping it going in the early days when it can be irritating, annoying and apparently without effect.  Persevere and practice.  It has given me calmness, perspective and rest.


I found this on Instagram mainly via Trudi and Justine.  I use a simplified version of it and it is a step up from a to-do list.  I have a monthly overview and tasks.  I use daily lists on most days but not all.   You can make it more complex, all the info is here.  These are my prettier looking lists, monthly is above, daily is below but the reality is it is often in pencil or black.  However its written, it helps me keep on top of things and it also gives me greater strength in saying no when necessary as I can see when time is booked up at a glance.


3. Answer these questions

No direct source for this- found the questions on Facebook and wrote them in my diary

Self explanatory.   
I don't claim to have any great secret. My favourite quote is from Oprah Winfrey.  I found it in a magazine on my way to London to the first Fat Quarterly Retreat.  I tore if from the magazine and I still have it:

" The big secret in life is that there is no secret.  Whatever your goal, you can get there is you are willing to work"

I have had to work hard, especially on the Mindfulness. Its been worth it.

sib blog

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. I've been thinking (procrastinating) about mindfulness for some time. I'm really pleased it is working for you. I aim to start soon after some more research. It's great that you state how it takes time to practice and come into effect. I need to remind myself of that, because I usually go looking for the quick fix. Thanks again for your thoughts. :)

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  2. Interesting post. I have this book too. I bought it out of curiosity because I have met the author - although had no idea at the time he was so authoritative in this kind of CBT. I didn't get very far with the book. I obviously didn't persevere enough. I just couldn't get my head around how it was going to ever work. Maybe I need to revisit it! I have been watching the bullet journal thing on IG too. I tried it at the weekend only to find I ignored it and did a completely different unwritten list!

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  3. A cup of tea works for me....

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  4. Thank you, Kerry. It's a timely reminder to return to mindfulness and the bullet journal looks right up my street :)

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  5. Love your post and glad it has worked for you. I used to do meditation as part of reiki practice and tried an audiobook version of the Jon Kabat-Zinn meditations but returned them as I just couldn't get into it and his slow voice was driving me potty. I think I probably need to be in a better place before I try anymore meditations.

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  6. Thanks so much for sharing Kerry... life has been hard for me the last few years, maybe some of this can help...

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  7. thanks for sharing Kerry. Meditation and MIndfulness are powerful tools. I am very much the list type to and am looking forward to seeing how to perfect the system! See you at FQR! xx

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  8. Great advice. I'd like to do more mindfulness.... Thanks for the encouragement

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  9. I do a spot of sewing before work as my form of meditation, it really sets me up for the day (if puppy decides to let me have a relaxing morning like he did this morning!). You have really lovely handwriting, I wish mine looked like that.

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  10. Oh damn, I was hoping you were going to say 'give up the day job' ;o)

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  11. I find the mindfulness really helpful and centring. I need to do it on a more regular basis, but when I do I notice the calm that follows. Thank you for a timely reminder!

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  12. Thanks for the inspiration, Kerry. These are all things I need to remember and try. I have been a bit slack with keeping up my mindfulness meditations. It's good to be reminded how helpful it can be. I am going to give the bullet journalling a go too. I try using to do lists/calendars on phone apps, but I miss the simple act of writing it down and literally ticking things off. This system makes sense to me and should help me avoid my usual mess of lots of different lists that are hard to keep track of! Now I just have to make the time to sit down and plan my days........... I'm glad you're finding things that are working for you to make life a little calmer :-)

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  13. Such an interesting post Kerry, thank you. I confess that I've been really struggling since September (when Boy started school and Littlest Boy started nursery) and I started to have free time and am going to go into another flat spin in September when the littlest one starts school. Trying to find my way in the world, remembering who I was and deciding how much of that is still relevant/important and where I want to go. Just this week I've started doing yoga for 15-30mins and I'm finding it really helpful. I think I'll have check out the Mindfulness book. Have a great w/e, Sx

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  14. Thanks for a really interesting post - I use my morning dog walk (well, it's supposed to happen in the morning but often doesn't. 'First dog walk of the day' would be a more accurate way to describe it!) as a bit of 'switch off my brain' time and find that hand sewing is also very relaxing, albeit in a different way from actually meditating/practising mindfulness.
    I also like a good list and tend to have lots of bits of paper with different lists on - things I want to do today (or tomorrow), this month and then, often, a list of each step in a project (whether sewing, gardening or cleaning!) so that I can break it down and just do little bits. At least, that's the theory but I'm still not very good at just doing five minutes of something and then walking away until the next day!

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  15. I have just finished an 8 week Mindfulness training course and can honsetly say it is amazing! One of the things that I have realised is we all cut out the "fun" things in life when life gets too much. I now have the perfect excuse to quilt more - it's Mindful! Thank you for such a great post....

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