It’s that time of year. The days are getting shorter and colder, and it’s getting more and more difficult to get through each day. For you too?
I’ve battled depression for most of my adult life. While I had it pretty well under control for many years, last year was rough. I work from home, so I have to structure my own days. All that time alone can be challenging, especially after a divorce. But here’s what I’ve found works for me: most days after S leaves for school I pull on my running clothes and go out for a jog. Even when I don’t feel like it, I run. I think it’s the combination of being outdoors and the physical exertion, but I always feel much, much better once I’ve returned from my run. I also do yoga on the days when I don’t run, which helps me to stay limber and prevents injuries. I try to keep my running and yoga days on a regular schedule so I don’t have to think about it; the habit keeps me from getting lazy and skipping days.
I also find that it really helps to get out and talk to people. I try to get to our neighborhood mercado most days, where I see my merchant friends and practice my Spanish. We’re always happy to see each other, and I feel better once I’ve chatted a bit, had a few laughs, challenged my brain to learn a few new words or phrases. Then I can go back home with some fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, cheese, or fish, and my mood is elevated enough that I can sit down in front of the computer or the sewing machine and tackle my work for the day.
I know, from meeting quite a few of you in workshops and other occasions, that many of you suffer from depression as well. So tell me, what gets you through? Is it worse in the winter with shorter days and fewer opportunities to get outdoors? I think it’s important to have a plan to get you through the tough times. So what’s your plan for this autumn and winter?
Speaking of winter, I’ve been switching out my closet for the cool weather clothes at long last! My magic winter combination is a pencil skirt and opaque black tights with black booties. Combined with a Gelato Blouse, a Classic Shirt, or a cozy sweater it’s a great uniform. I’m particularly liking the black-and-white in these two photos.
We’ve got a coat pattern almost ready for you, so I’ve been thinking about all the different ways you can sew it. I really like the unexpected details on these two coats.
When I ran across this color palette, I started thinking that you could mix any of these colors and have a fabulous autumn/winter wardrobe. Witness the colors in the outfit adjacent. So pretty, right?
Autumn calls for pretty Playtime Dresses too, doesn’t it? I like both of these ideas, which appear to be made in soft linen. The wrinkles make them even more appealing in my opinion.
What about some Hollywood Trousers for fall?
- Are we returning to a more expressive time for men’s fashions? This has been forecast for a while, so I’m wouldn’t be surprised.
- This article made me run a little faster this week. Who knew your walking speed was directly linked to the aging process?
- I told S about dolphin training and how it related to our own behavior this week. I told her I’m going to try it on her, but of course now she knows about it and may be trying it on me as well.
- Halloween in just around the corner. Have you considered protecting your fabric scissors with a curse, much like those used to protect medieval books? Something along these lines, perhaps?
“For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not these scissors from its owner, especially if he useth them to cut other than fabric, let it change into a serpent in his hand & hiss at him. Let him be struck with indigestion and indecision. Let him languish on the sofa crying aloud for mercy, & let there be no surcease to his sadness till he sing in dissolution. Let spools of thread lie under his feet when he tries to walk across the floor barefoot, & when at last he goeth to bed at night, let the guilt of his conscious prevent him from ever looking at or contemplating those scissors ever again.”
I’m sure you can create your own better curse. I challenge you to leave your best in the comments!
Have a great weekend. And come back next week when we’ll have a surprise or two for you! I’m excited.
Liesl, I’ve followed you through this blog for years. I loved making O&S patterns for my daughter when she was younger (she turned 12 yesterday!) and I’m about to start on the L & Co classic shirt for myself. I am astonished that you’ve struggled with depression because you manage to be so creative and productive through it all. Your style is such an inspiration and everything you write seems to radiate a very authentic positivity. So I can only imagine how exhausting it must be to achieve all of that when you are, in fact, struggling with depression. In short, I think you are truly an amazing and beautiful person! I am actually a high-functioning person who struggles with depression too. I agree that exercise is key, and especially exercise classes where you can feel like you bond with other propels in a low-pressure way. Sending abrazos to you!
I love the delightful Playtime dresses. They appear everywhere in all colors and all fabrics. This is just such a wonderful dress you introduced us to a few years ago Leisl, I always spell your name wrong.
I am mixing burgundy organic cotton from Alabama Chanin with burnt oranges greens and teams. Yes. I, too, suffer from migraines etc but the colors help. Thank you for sharing. And making our lives better with your creativity.
Typo: *other people
I love your blog and your beautiful patterns. I learn something new each time and my sewing has improved greatly. In fact, I won a blue ribbon in our county fair this year for the Library dress I made for my granddaughter!
I agree with you that exercise is key, as much as I don’t really like to make time for it. When the weather got too cold and icy, I joined a gym and now go to spin classes and yoga. Also, I booked a trainer at the gym for once a week. Having a set time to work out with her really keeps me accountable. Plus, it is fun to talk with her.
Good luck with all you do. I think you and your lovely patterns are wonderful.
So excited to read that you’re bringing out a coat pattern. Your instructions are wonderful so I’m hoping that this is the year 3 metres of bright pink wool get made into something fabulous. I’ve just made the Hollywood trousers (am a Brit and can’t bring myself to write pants – it will always mean underwear) and my first ever front fly went in like a charm.
Hope the running and yoga continue to do you good. I can recommend bright pink coats too!
I’ve also struggled with depression since my early 20’s. I’ve found some freedom in being able to acknowledge that I have it and “own it” instead of it owning me. Mindfulness has been really helpful for me. I don’t practice it on a schedule, but try to incorporate throughout the day as I have thoughts and feelings about things. As an extrovert I get a lot of joy and energy interacting iwith others, so I sometimes need to force myself to get out, even when I’m in a funk. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the connection between gut and brain and how the microbiome impacts our mental health. I’ve been considering changing my diet, but am not quite ready to commit. I wish I enjoyed exercise more. It’s great that you’ve been so committed to staying on track. Thanks for your honesty and openness about your own struggles. It always helps to know we aren’t alone.
I’ve battled depression and anxiety since having my children, and the winter here can be rough. Exercise helps a lot! I go to classes at our local rec center and do some yoga at home. One of the things I like about yoga is that it makes me take some time to center on positive thoughts. Another thing that has always helped me is setting aside a little time to make something every day. Sometimes that’s sewing, sometimes that’s baking, sometimes it’s some other project, but having time to create helps me stay centered.
I strongly recommend Taoist Tai Chi. This is a not for profit organisation present in 26 countries, but mainly Canada and the US. I’ve been attending classes for two years (many of my fellow students have been doing it for 20 plus years). It helps so much both physically and mentally.
Exercise of some sort is excellent for keeping depression at bay. I was a runner for about 10 years (well, more like jogging), and now I walk every day. Keeping busy with something creative also helps. Quilting has been a lifesaver at times. I think sewing a blouse also works well. Having a community of like-minded friends is nice, too. CinOnward and upward!
Making, moving, music and reading keeps me happy. Connecting with other adults helps too. I love your trips to the mercado. I grew up going to il mercato! Now I like to head into town on Fridays to connect with the community just like you. Thanks for sharing your story. Keep up with the running and yoga! You are amazing!
Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing about your journey with depression. Seems like you are so aware of your needs. When we lived in Seattle, my husband struggled with Seasonal Affective Disorder every winter. The short, gloomy days were like a ten ton weight on his shoulders. He, too, would get outside to jog whenever possible. We found that taking Vitamin D3 and the supplement 5HTP was very helpful.
Thank you also for your beautiful creativity and positivity despite the challenges that you face.
Depression sucks. So I just wanted to say hello, that you’re not alone, and that it comes in different forms. Mine isn’t severe; I like to say that I get ‘episodes of low mood sometimes’. My mood boosters are exercise, eating well with a side order of what I fancy, taking time to properly connect with people I love, doing something nice for others and taking time out to do something like sewing that helps me feel in control. So your patterns and your blog are helping me do more than just make things I love to wear! Wishing you all the best x
I’ve worked myself into a doozy of the blues. The contractor on my home remodel quit. (He got a bigger job that paid more). This has thrown all my plans into a tailspin, and myself with them.
So, no remodel (all the other contractors are too busy and not taking anything until the new year). I’ve already done the demolition, so I have to live with this construction site until March. It’s dark, gloomy and cold. Because the walls are removed and the flooring and electrical are out. I really pushed myself to get the demo done so that they could start. My hands are so sore, I can’t knit or embroider, or cut fabric. I can’t sleep and I’m not hungry. And I’m blue.
To get back on track, I’m not letting the negative sound track repeat. I’m spending more time at the library, doing research on other projects. I’m sorting my making books, fabric and thread. I’m donating these to our local animal shelter thrift shop.
I parked the car and am walking wherever I go. I’m making new plans for garments and sewing and I’m going to join a challenge. I’m spending time with old friends. I got a couple of new cookbooks out of the library and am going to cook something new! And I’m using my time to shop for construction things like sinks, second hand.
Still wish you’d make that playtime dress for big kids to play. With big pockets, it would be the ultimate gardening dress.
Stay busy, help someone else, and don’t dwell on the negative. This is what’s helps.
Hey, love the new shirt pattern!