Creating calm through busy times

You can use your creativity to help you in creating calm through busy times.

It was a really stressful time. I had recently started a new teaching job and the school was going to be inspected.

In my head I made up a load of stories about that and thought that the inspectors were there to judge me personally. That little thing called ego got in the way and was really interested in me showing up and looking Mary Poppins style ‘practically perfect in every way.’

The stress was not really being created by the upcoming inspection. It was created in all my thoughts about the upcoming inspection. I made up the stories. I visualised the outcomes. I was the one not believing in me and my ability when others had total faith in me and my ability to teach.

I’d been working through Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way,’ in an attempt to get back in touch with my creativity again and more than that, to begin to tune in to what I really wanted in my life rather than what I thought I wanted.

Every morning I wrote three longhand pages of morning pages and each week I took myself on an Artist’s date. Sometimes I cheated myself by taking the smallest date possible, but it was progress.

My morning pages started to make demands of me, they wanted me to have a table that I could write at, they wanted me to have yarn.

I had a trendy knitting book that was recommended on all the craft blogs that I was drawn to and being someone who likes to follow instructions to the letter I ordered the yarn that was specifically stipulated in the pattern. It was hand-dyed and from here, so it was quite an extravagance, given that the previous thing I knitted was a toy rabbit when still aged under ten.

I followed the pattern in the trendy book and dreamed of all the things I would knit myself in the future – a wardrobe filled with deliciously crafted knitted garments. I ordered Rowan knitting magazine and drooled over the creations in there even though they were far beyond my skills level. That rose intarsia just wasn’t going to happen.

I click-clacked my knitting needles through the evenings of the inspection as though I was drawing power into those knitting needles that could then be used against any critical inspectors. The sweater got bigger and bigger, bulkier and bulkier as the inspection progressed. I click-clacked on pouring my stress into the soft yarn that made its new cloth  ready to be fashioned into the garment I so longed to wear.

Now it’s one thing to knit the sweater pieces and it’s another to piece them together. This hadn’t been a problem with the knitted bunny and then my mum was there to help.

This time I was joining the pieces flying solo. All I will say is it made me appreciate the value of a machine-made sweater.

The sweater was finished. The yarn was big and bulky. The sweater had the most gorgeous colours in flecks of chakra blue and violet. The yarn was stunning, unfortunately the sweater was not. It was so bulky it gave the impression that I was wearing a billboard pointing to a newly opened sandwich bar.

Any ‘What Not to Wear’ programme would have had me in the 360 degree mirror and the fashion police would have put me in the slammer.

So this was not a sweater that would be seen out and about. I vowed to make a scarf out of it. Maybe my whole family could have scarves made out of it?

That never happened. The yarn had served it’s purpose. It was my ‘OFSTED sweater,’ and it had been there for me through that stressful time.

The act of knitting it had been enough. It was the distraction that I needed. The yarn wasn’t wasted, for me it had served its purpose.

The inspection went well and I put my knitting needles away to next make an appearance when knitting a little green baby hat.

In times of stress can you give yourself a little creative outlet to help you through it?

What would you choose?

I work with professional women, including female entreprenuers to help them with their creative writing and with creating content for their businesses. If that’s you and you’d like to work with me as your coach email me at and we can set up a Skype call to chat about it.