Monday, January 24, 2005

Gotta Love Formulas!

How are you feeling today? If you’re more disappointed than normal that it’s Monday, you’re probably in good company. Get this – this might very well be the most depressed you’ll feel all year according a formula that’s been worked out by a British psychologist using variables such as weather, expected timing of New Year’s resolution failures, debt, and Christmas cheer wear-off.

Although he had the people in the UK in mind when he wrote out the formula, I’d say that those living in Seattle have better than even odds that it similarly applies to us, given as far north as we are and the fact that we also have pretty lousy weather during much of January. We already know that we're more impacted by Seasonal Affective Disorder than those farther south.

On the other hand, at least we're not dealing with two feet or more of snow like the folks in New England.

Reading books by the fire, staying in bed all day (hey, why not schedule off January 24 every year?), light therapy, and such have all been suggested by various experts as effective ways of dealing with today’s type of depression. Here’s another couple of ideas worth considering (offered from a decidedly non-expert)… one is to reconnect with an old hobby. Do something you enjoy.

Also, if you can think of something small you can complete and feel good about crossing off your list, that would probably make a difference too. And, at the risk of sounding self-serving, if your New Year’s Resolutions need some help at this point, consider hiring a coach or simply working with a buddy to start gaining some traction.

I'm going to stand back a bit & whisper for this one... If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you might consider (shhh!) knitting. Really.

About now is when I’m really sorry I bother to include my photo in the bio – I just know you’re going to write this off now as a dumb suggestion from a chick. Trust me, I am not domestic. I don’t cook, I don’t clean and I don’t sew. You’re more likely to find me outside laying drip-hose for the garden than gardening and inside tearing apart the vacuum cleaner and putting it back together again than actually running the thing to pick up dirt.

I have started knitting, though, and as far as I can tell, the interest it holds for me is the same as what a lot of guys – even executives – are getting out of it. Apparently, knitting is getting to be quite a trend for men. Back to their fishing roots, I guess. Hey, it's just a bunch of slip knots...

For me, I like working out the puzzles. I like the fact that I’m doing something where a mistake doesn’t have to be the end of the world – it can be corrected. I like the math and the “figuring out stuff” that happens.

As a coach, I’m particularly appreciating the “now-ness” of knitting these days.

There’s an appreciation of past successes and learning from mistakes that happens when you go back and check your work. There’s some planning for the future as you work out a pattern and then figure out how to follow it, whether you’re following it, how to get back on track, etc.

The act itself requires a meditative conscious working of each stitch as you’re doing it. There is no stitch before or stitch to come… only that one that you’re working right then. And yes, it’s very relaxing. There's certainly no thinking about work.

Don’t ask me why I'm getting so into it. I suppose you could try, but I know I haven't got a good answer yet. I certainly didn’t start out wanting to knit for any other reason than getting over a sense of childhood failure and increasing a bond with family members who knit. Yeah, they're all women. Go figure. But I had to do something. Sewing was not going to cut it.

Laugh if you want. At the end of the day, it’s just a suggestion. And a few more rows of warm fuzzy wool that makes a dreary day seem warmer and brighter. Makes looking ahead to January 25 a little easier at any rate, 'cause hey, it all gets better from here on out.

What non-lethal response would you have to someone who made a comment on your knitting?