Learn something new this year

The post below tells you how I learned how to knit (thank you, YouTube), and why it has turned into a Zen activity that helps me chill. Hope you find it helpful!

We’re big believers in doing whatever you can to carve out a little time for yourself. Don’t think of it as a luxury or a selfish thing to do. Think of it as something you need to do to keep the mama machine running at its best.

If you can spend part of that me-time learning something new and/or doing something creative, it’ll do wonders for your happiness level. It’s a great way to get out of a “funk” and shake off the winter blues.

Last year, with absolutely zero skills and free time to actually accomplish it, I decided to learn to knit. I’m not what you’d call a crafty person, so I still don’t fully understand why the concept of it appealed to me. But it did. Then I ran across this article from CBS News that says that the human brain really likes it when we do a repetitive activity with both hands. So I finally just dove into it one Saturday afternoon and found a couple of YouTube videos for brand new knitters.

In case you also want to learn something new this year, here are a few of the “learn to knit” links that I used. (Be prepared to pause and then back up the videos LOTS of times until it starts to make sense.)

Hobby Lobby Knitting Basics link

Basic “learn to knit” video link

Then I ran across a website called Purl Soho which has some great patterns you can download for FREE. (Be sure to read the questions and answers posted in the reader comments below the patterns because they will often answer the question you have as you begin a project.)

Free patterns for knitting from Purl Soho

Here’s the pattern for the first scarf I made: Mistake Rib Knit Scarf Pattern

Why it’s good:

  • My brain really does like the two-handed, repetitive movement. It’s kind of a Zen, soothing experience.
  • It prevents me from being swallowed up by the social media black hole that can suck up way too much time and usually leaves me feeling empty.
  • I can do it while watching TV with my family or having a conversation.
  • It makes downtime feel productive, which is a real plus for those of us who make ourselves feel guilty about downtime.
  • You get to hold the “results” of your new knowledge in your hands. (Hello, new scarf!) Pretty satisfying.
  • The materials to get started don’t cost that much, so this doesn’t necessarily have to turn into an expensive hobby. All the videos and helpful tips I found online are free.
  • You can learn new types of stitches when you’re ready by Googling new video tutorials.
  • Crafty people are SO nice and will answer all your crazy questions when you get stuck.
  • The yarn choices are so pretty, which makes it fun to shop for your next one.

If knitting doesn’t feel like it’s your thing, you can find plenty of online videos to teach you other things like crochet, needlepoint, sewing, drawing, painting, etc. The whole point is to just try learning something new that looks interesting to you and that you do simply for the enjoyment of it. Your brain (and happiness level) will thank you for it.