Being bombarded continually on the news and in social media by the COVID-19 situation has become tedious indeed.

The situation in Victoria and Melbourne in particular, with people flaunting the restrictions and behaving in ways that put ‘us’ at risk, has shifted things to a new level in the ‘anxiety department’.

I am fortunate to live in Tasmania where we are able to feel ‘safer’ here compared to Mainland Australia and much of the rest of the world. However, I am sure many people are feeling very frustrated by the pandemic and the restrictions it has caused.

Travel plans cancelled ‘indefinitely’

Even though Tasmania’s restrictions are not as severe as those in Melbourne at this time, I found myself becoming unsettled by the uncertainty of it all.

I am sure I am not alone in the ‘cancelled travel plans’ situation. I have a friend in Sydney who has had to cancel and rebook her planned visit to Tasmanian four times since COVID-19.

We had planned to sail to New Caledonia to delivered a yacht for special friends before the world ‘shut down’. The original plan was for us to sail their yacht back to New Caledonia for them, then spend a month or two visiting with them and exploring the islands ‘with the locals’. We would then fly to Brisbane and drive our car down to Tasmania, visiting friends and relatives along the way. We were looking forward to it very much…

Try tying knots

I have discovered that tying knots, or ‘macrame’, is a wonderful way to distract yourself from many of the stressful thoughts that tend to invade one’s mind during this time of uncertainty.

Concentrating on tying knots takes your mind off COVID-19 and other stressful things in your life

Like many people my age, I used to enjoy macrame in the 70s. I taught pottery at a college and had my own studio at home where I enjoyed making unusual planters for sale at garden shows. I would make macrame pot plant hangers on my stand and enjoyed showing people how to make them.

Thing knots is easy, but you do have to concentrate on where to put which strings to get certain effects

My friend, Katie, suggested that I may like to do a macrame workshop with some of her friends on Flinders Island recently. That motivated me to relearn how to do all the knots and I was astonished at how relaxing that turned out to be. I guess doing something that requires concentration certainly has the ability to distract you from all the worrying thoughts one accumulates if you overthink the COVID-19 situation.

Not much space required

You don’t need much space to do macrame

Over my life time I have had fun with many different hobbies. I find macrame to be wonderfully ‘minimalistic’.
All you need is a place to work where you are able to stand, sit and kneel as the work progresses. A small table is handy. Best of all is how little is required to begin creating. I have two stackable plastic storage containers. One holds ’embellishments’ such as beads, coloured ribbon/threads, rings and a few tools. The other keeps my cords safe from entanglement. Note the wooden rod sticking out of the handle holes.

Tying knots with friends is fun

Katie, Bron & Mandy found that doing a macrame workshop with friends is great fun

Macrame is excellent fun, especially when you do it with a group of friends.
Learning macrame is simply a matter of practice. Unlike in the 70s, there are now many video tutorials, Pinterest boards and Facebook groups where you can teach yourself.

I have created a Pinterest Board where I put ideas of projects that I may like to do.

This Pinterest Board has macrame tutorials that I have collected.

There are also many Facebook pages where you can join in the fun. This Macrame Patterns and Tutorials Facebook group really encourages beginners.

The Modern Macrame Facebook group give you plenty of ideas and inspiration, as well as sharing links to patterns and tutorials

Why not create your own Facebook group where you and your friends can share ideas, patterns and things you have created. If you cannot physically get together, a video conference call is a fun way to ‘get together’ and share.

Mandy with her first macrame creation

First-time workshop attendees said they were surprised by how relaxing the activity was.

It really is not hard to do, get a group of your friends together via video link and learn together.
Of course, it much more enjoyable to be physically in the same space – but don’t discount the power of video calls between like-minded people.

Begin with making Pot plant holders as are easy to make. They make inexpensive gifts when added with ceramic pots bought from Op shops/Charity stores. Many people sell their creations online too.

Katie’s smile shows how much fun can be had tying a few knots with friends
You don’t have to have an idyllic location like this – simply somewhere to hang your work up whilst you work on it is sufficient
Valerie was well pleased with her first macrame project

Tying knots is not the only option

Whilst macrame is fun, there is a limit to the number of pot plant holders and wall hangings you can make before the people who share your home with you begin to get concerned about how much wall space you are taking up.

My challenge to you, during these unsettling times, is to try doing something that you have never done before. Of course, keeping in mind that what you chose will be limited by the Covid-19 restrictions in place where you live.

Encourage a few of your friends or family members to ‘try something new’, create a private Facebook group where you can share and encourage each other in your new hobby or skill. Remember that most supplies are available online and postal/courier deliveries are still considered an essential service.

Mental Health & Self Care is beyond cost

Do not be put off by a partner who rolls their eyes when you suggest you are now going to begin ‘yet another new craft or hobby’.

Mental health is beyond cost.
Gee, I wish I had thought about using that as an excuse with my man the last time I started something new…

Distraction therapy ideas

If you or anyone you know needs help: