I love to craft, especially crochet. That's why I've recently reshaped the purpose of my blog, so that I could spend more time sharing with you my creative adventures. But as with all things there are hindrances. Time is definitely one, and work is another. But physical hindrances usually take the cake. Do you know what I mean?
I spent years casually crocheting whatever I wanted from others patterns. I had lists of things I wanted to make. At the time I only dabbled a little with creating my own designs. But then I got a job creating crochet patterns weekly. It was a definite learning curve but I made it and I can't tell you how much I learned during that period. But during that time I started learning something else, the body can't always take what you may wish it to take. My wrists began aching for extended periods, especially the one that holds the tension, then my eyes would get strained and I would have to ask my boss for more time to complete a project.
I would also fight pretty regularly with neck and shoulder aches from keeping them tense while working for hours. I kept asking for more time, more time, until I was ashamed. I ended up spending most weeks in tears at my inability to keep up with my past record. Eventually I cut back on the patterns until I finally decided to quit altogether. Mentally, I needed to give myself a break and some time to consider other directions with my life. But physically, I was becoming unable to meet my deadlines. Quitting my job was difficult and I struggled with what it would mean. In the end it has saved me from further pain but I have in turn had to sacrifice crocheting altogether. And as any crocheter will agree, that's not an option.
What I Do
I was able to help my wrists by wearing therapeutic gloves while crocheting. This for the most part has cut down on the effects of the carpal tunnel but then there are other things like writing that occasionally sets it off as well. For the most part, I can keep it at bay.
For my neck and shoulders though all I can do is try to sit in ergonomic seats and take frequent breaks. I have also realized the importance of strengthening the muscles in this easily affected part of my body with exercise. When I take breaks I usually just get up and walk around (and to be perfectly honest, I am not good at taking "frequent" breaks) but when I am especially stiff I stretch my body with the static back exercise. It does wonders for correcting a slumping spine and neck.
|"Blind as a bat!" from How to Marry A Millionaire 1953|
As for my eyes, I am finally going to take an eye exam in a few days. I know I've needed to for ages but I've put it off again and again, and even struggled with whether it is really needed or not. Sadly, I'm like that. But maybe the doctor can prescribe some glasses that will allow me to get back to crocheting and reading without worrying about eye strain and headaches!
One thing I know is really important and that is getting good nutrition. It's proven that a balanced diet requires plenty of fresh vegetables and as little processed foods as possible, and that's how I eat for the most part. I wish eating well would be enough to heal my body of its defects but unfortunately we do not live in the garden of Eden and finding perfect foods now-a-days is impossible.
|Love his glasses! Read my post on them here|
It's no surprise, experiencing physical pain from things that you do a great deal. I doubt there is an experienced crocheter or knitter out there that hasn't had to deal with this to some degree. All we can do is research the problem and try to fix it as best we can, whether it means getting better lighting while you work or wearing special gloves or going as far as buying yourself an entire ergonomic studio. It comes down to this: anything other than giving up crafting.
What do you think? Do you agree? Tell me, have you struggled with pains linked to your crafting?
Thanks for reading. Come back soon for the next The Craft Drawer post!