Since my last post I think I have started to focus better. Whether it is the result of simply opening up and sharing or the cocktail of vitamins and supplements I’ve been taking, I don’t know. What I do know is this; I’ve had a challenging week (for me) and I’m sitting here writing this feeling relatively positive and grounded. Weekend mornings are in theory my sacred space. Since the pandemic struck last year it has been increasingly difficult for me to carve out my own space in the chaos of family life which is incredibly important to me because I get overwhelmed easily and need to retreat to solitude to recharge and stay in contact with myself in order to connect with other people in a healthy way. If I don’t get that space I find myself being short with people very easily and getting annoyed by the smallest things. So, while the family sleep in I have a few hours to read, sew, potter about and do whatever I need to feel calm and grounded. Except that hasn’t been happening and instead of using the time wisely I developed an unhealthy pattern of ‘doomscrolling’ on my phone while chugging copious amounts of black coffee. The internet is a great thing in many ways, but it’s endless supply of negative media is not one of them! Coffee is also not so great when you have anxiety.

So I have made a little progress this week simply by realising that change was needed but I have also managed to do a little bit of sewing,

read a chapter of a book,

and put a flatpack bookcase together.

I had visions of the latter sitting boxed in the hallway for months waiting for me to motivate myself. I’m sure my husband would have put it together for me if I’d asked him but it was a project I wanted to see through myself. This corner just wasn’t working for me before, so I breathed a bit of life into it with some books and plants. The rest of the room still feels a bit bare and sterile so I’m going to be looking at more ways to cosy it up. Painting a colour onto the white walls might be a start but I’m undecided on the colour.

Focussing on my environment for a bit rather than getting the shop back up and running might not be a bad idea at the moment because I feel it’s more important for my mental health to address the disorder of everyday life right now. Although I may end up opening the shop to fund the buying of paint! For now though I am thinking, some sewing is in order to bring a bit of life to the drab corners. My best friend’s mum recommended The Last Homely House to me a day or two ago and I am already hooked on Kate’s Youtube channel. It’s like visiting a friend whenever I watch a video and Kate’s beautiful creative life is making me realise how far I have fallen. Okay, so I didn’t live on a smallholding in the countryside but I did find contentment in a simple and creative homely life, the way Kate does. Years of poor mental health have literally stripped my life of the things that help keep me mentally healthy so I am starting small with baby steps. This morning’s baby step was simply to buy a printable pattern from The Last Homely House and actually print it out. One little thing at a time so I don’t overwhelm myself. My next baby step will be to select some fabrics for the project so I’ll be back soon to show you how that’s going. I’d also like to talk a bit about the Laura Ashley biography that I’ve just started reading so I may post about that soon too.

Have a lovely weekend everyone! Bye for now.

Things haven’t been going so well lately. You may have noticed the lack of posts, both here and on Instagram and the closed Etsy shop. The truth is my mental health has taken a bit of a beating from all the changes that pandemic life has brought with it. This third lockdown in particular has hit me like a brick. Being almost reclusive anyway, I naively thought that it wouldn’t affect me, especially as I seemed to thrive on the first lockdown, during which I had the whole family (except for my uni girl) safe under one roof, working and studying from home. We were safe and sustainable as despite not being able to book a supermarket delivery for weeks on end, I managed to use the internet to our advantage and sourced alternative food deliveries while using what vegetables and herbs we had growing in our little strip of earth in the backyard. I rekindled my love of dried wholefoods and we stocked up on lentils and a couple of sacks of flour since it had become impossible to source flour in anything other than 16kg sacks! We had seeds for sprouting so we got fresh nutrients and discovered that we’d been missing out on a trick by not growing our own pea shoots for salad!

But that was then. This lockdown is very different. My husband is unable to work from home this time and my eldest who has special needs decided to stay in their own home which means I am doing car journeys now that I wasn’t doing in the first lockdown and I am finding that all that extra time for cooking and baking from scratch, making yoghurt and setting seeds to grow etc, just isn’t there this time round. In addition to the lack of time I also feel physically and mentally worn down by the whole thing. I’m not as active and the pounds have piled on, adding to that heavy sluggish feeling that doesn’t exactly motivate one to get moving. Mentally I regularly hit the bottom. Sometimes I am crippled by anxiety, sometimes depression. If we’re really unlucky it’s both at the same time and I know I am just one of many thousands going through similar at the moment. I am grateful at least to have some financial stability and a roof over our heads during all this when too many people have nothing, and grateful too that so far we have escaped the literal impact of Covid and our loved ones have remained safe and well.

I really am finding it difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel but I’ve realised that if I don’t take action on my health now I could lose years off my life expectancy. I need to start making room for relaxing pastimes because being in a permanent state of fight or flight is not good for anyone and I need to start doing some form of regular movement, even on the days where my whole body just aches and protests!

So, I am planning to pick up some sewing again, maybe some embroidery or some hexie patchwork, I’m not sure yet. I was once a very able and prolific crafter but I don’t even recognise that person at the moment. I feel like a novice again and in some areas I have literally got to start again, like re-learning various embroidery stitches or how to purl when knitting. I find I lose skills easily if I don’t practice them regularly and my practical creative side has been dormant for too long thanks to the fog of mental health. I think the creativity is the easiest thing to address. Movement is a different game all together and it’s going to be a challenge. I am not a sporty person, never have been but I was a walker and many a happy time I have spent atop mountain and moor. Hip pain and a foot injury from 2015 were already having an impact on my hiking ability before the pandemic came along though so it’s a similar story to the crafts in that I’m going to be starting all over again and building myself up slowly.

I realise this is a somewhat glum post but I just wanted to explain why I’ve not really been present and why the shop is closed at the moment. I am going to share my progress to recovery here and on Instagram so I hope to be back soon with something to show you. Even something little like baking a cake or or stitching a couple of hexies together is going to feel like a huge step forward at the moment so forgive me if posts seem a little unexciting to begin with. If you managed to stick with this post, thank you for taking the time to read and I promise to be chirpier in my next post!

It’s been a mixed week. My motivation hasn’t been particularly good and I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by things that shouldn’t be overwhelming. I’m putting it down to the fact that I am of a certain age, coupled with the ever present strangeness of our new world. I think the new rules regarding face coverings have unsettled me a little. It’s not that I disagree with them, I am just concerned about those of us who cannot wear them for whatever reason, being turned away from shops or public transport, or facing abuse from intolerant people. I am particularly concerned about people with hidden disabilities such as Autism who may be unable to wear masks or find masks on other people frightening and confusing. I have an adult child who lives independently for whom this is going to prove extremely difficult. I’m not sure how we will move forward with this, but it’s constantly on my mind.

Last weekend we took a long drive out into the country. My husband was keen to give the car a good run as it’s been mostly redundant during lockdown and I was glad of a change of scenery. We took a flask of coffee and a small picnic lunch, which we ate in a secluded layby in the middle of nowhere, before heading further into nowhere. Nowhere feels safest for me at the moment. My anxieties surrounding the pandemic are still very high and I find going out almost impossible. However, we stopped to look at the scenery a bit further on and I actually got out of the car. I stood for a few minutes looking towards Cumbria breathing the fresh cool air in as it blew from the west and wondering when I will be able to mentally manage a trip into the lakes. Not that I’m in any hurry to swamp the locals with tourists this summer. I imagine lakeland dwellers are a bit conflicted about the summer crowds returning this year. I do hope the tourism industry is able to operate fully but safely though, as the incomes it generates are so many people’s livelihoods.

Anyway, enough of the gloomy stuff. There have been some positives this week. Firstly, one of my children gained their BA Honours degree, of which I am extremely proud. It feels strange there not being a graduation to attend, and their end of year show (it was an arts degree) which they had put a lot of work into had to be cancelled, but on the whole there is a feeling of achievement and relief that it’s over, even if there is now apprehension about what happens next for them all.

Secondly I sold the little hearts picture I mentioned in my last post. I don’t usually like to talk about things selling as it feels a bit like bragging but this gave me a much needed lift during an otherwise grey week. Not even my second hand retail therapy could lift my mood this week! There were a few goodies worth noting but I will put them in a separate post.

So that was my week. Negatives and positives cancelling each other out and leaving a neutrality of mood. I will be more positive in my next post, I promise!