Shopping with Anxiety
Hello and welcome back to the blog! Today we are going to look a little more into the experience of face-to-face shopping. Some people love going shopping and are looking forward to going to the high street after this lockdown; however, this is not the case for everyone. For some people, particularly those with anxiety, shopping can be a stressful and even painful experience. Whilst there is no miracle cure for this, there are many ways to make the experience a little more manageable, and today I will be looking at just a few of these. But first, it's important to remember that different techniques work for different people. Of course, trying new things can be a daunting prospect so if any of these suggestions don't quite work, stop, reward yourself for trying and try again or try something else when you feel ready.
Tip One: Removing the Pressure
When I was preparing to write this post, I talked to a few of my friends who have anxiety about what they do to make shopping less stressful. Knowing that quite a lot of people like structure and recommend planning in other scenarios, I was expecting at least one person to say something such as "write a list." Instead, many of my friends suggested that you shouldn't pick time slots or have precise plans as doing this can give you less room for change and less time, leaving you feeling more anxious about things not going a set way. If you do find it hard to make decisions without plans, maybe be a little less specific on your plans by not constraining yourself on time and not trying to do tons at once.
For example, instead of thinking "I must go to Tesco at 4:00pm to buy this specific list of ingredients for dinner," perhaps try and think "At some point today, I will try to go to the local supermarket to look for dinner options." That way, you can go wherever and whenever it is best, for as long or as short a time as you want and you can pick whatever things take your fancy - there is no way of "failing" or "messing up" with this plan. Also, by thinking of it as "trying to get ideas" rather than "having to get things", it means that there is no problem if you are unable to get out and unable to buy anything that day as you can always order something in if going out feels like too much pressure.
Tip Two: Background Knowledge
Whilst people didn't recommend planning, one did suggest getting a little background information about the shop or area you plan on going to. For example, it can be good to look on a map and make sure you know your route as this can reduce fears of getting lost or being unable to get to the right place. Also, I particularly recommend looking at a shop on Google as this gives you opening hours (though with some shops being shut or running differently because of COVID, this is not always accurate) as well as contact details, links to shop websites and photos of the shops (though it is important to note that some photos of shops online are a few years old and shop layout may have changed since then). For some shops, you can even get 360 degree photos inside or outside, which is both helpful and fun to explore! Another thing you can find out when searching larger shops is their busier and quieter times, which can be very valuable if you have social anxiety or you struggle with loud noises. But as a general rule of thumb, the least busy times to go in a shop are early in the morning or late at night on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Tip Three: Go With a Friend
One thing that nearly all of the people I talked to suggested was going shopping with a friend who you trust. This person can be there just for moral support, be a distraction from the stressful aspects of shopping or can help you doing things that you find harder, such as asking for directions or paying at the till. At the moment this can be harder as you do have to socially distance from friends outside of your household or bubble, and some shops (including us when we open) only have space for one household at a time. However, it is possible for you to go in whilst your friend stands by the door to give you moral support, or for your friend to go in and pay whilst you make sure they have got the right thing. Also, if you or your friend live alone or one of you is a single parent, you are able to form a bubble with each other as long as neither of you are in bubbles already. This means the two of you can meet both indoors and outside without social distancing, which can help if you need support with shopping. However, I would recommend that you check the Government website before doing this to make sure that you are being legal and safe.
Tip Four: Have Personal Items to Help You Relax
This is less about social anxiety and more to do with other types of anxiety and hypersensitivity, though it can work for people with social anxiety too. If you find shopping hard because of the bright lights, strong smells, loud noises or uncomfortable textures of some items, you may want to try wearing sunglasses, ear defenders and gloves, or using perfumes in preferred scents that can block out overwhelming smells. Also, I really recommend having something to fidget with in your pocket, such as a small knitted toy, a fidget cube or a fidget spinner as these can be really useful and healthy ways of reducing negative energy and adrenaline caused by anxiety.
Tip Five: Shop Online
Whilst I do think shopping face-to-face is good, I think that it is more important to do what works for you. If it is going to be too daunting to go out shopping that day, you can always buy online. Just because you don't feel able to go out on a certain day (or week, or month, or however long!), it does not mean that you are weak; in fact, doing what you need to do to cope and listening to yourself is a sign of great strength!
Tip Six: Remember that You Are Not Alone
One of the ironic things about anxiety is that it is one of the most common health conditions in the world, yet when you have it, it is hard to believe that anyone understands what you are going through. When you next go into a shop, remember that many of the customers or even the staff around you either are going through or have been through something similar to what you are going through. For example, I get very anxious when on the phone to people and find it really hard to know what to say in certain situations, so I was very proud of myself when I processed a telephone order of wool this week! If you do feel comfortable telling the person serving you how you are feeling, that can really help, but if not, do not worry as staff members will usually treat all of their customers with patience and work hard to give you the best help possible.
So, those are all of my tips for making shopping less stressful - don't plan too much; try and get a little background knowledge before shopping; go with a friend; have some items that can keep you relaxed; shop online if you need to and remember that you are not alone. I hope that these suggestions help. However, please do not use these instead of professional advice. I cannot stress enough how important it is to talk about how you feel and seek help if you need.
So until next time, happy crafting and happy shopping (if that's your thing!),
Online vs Face-to-Face Shopping
Hello again! Now, I know what some of you may be thinking after having read the title for today's post - right now, online shopping is the only way that is even legal. That may be true at the moment but it may not be long before we can go back into shops again; we just don't know. Today, I will talk about both online and face to face shopping and decide which I think is better. Should we rush to the shops as soon as this is all over or should we continue with our online lives?
Online: You Can Keep Home Comforts
I have to admit, I am not the most active person and do not always have a lot of get-up-and-go, so sometimes getting ready to go shopping can be a chore. However, with online shopping, there is no need to worry about that as you can shop from the comfort of your bed, your garden, your sofa or even the loo! There is no need to get out of your pyjamas, no need to find things like your purse or shopping bags and no need to move at all (though you may need to get up and go to the other end of the room to get your computer or phone - how tiresome!). Overall, if you are the sort of person who wants to shop in a way that is a little more... relaxed, online shopping is perfect for you.
Face-to-Face: Less Tech Stress
Whilst online shopping may be quite a relaxed way when it comes to environment, the same cannot be said about the technology side of things! It can be easy to miss things or add the wrong things to your cart and sometimes online shopping can be very difficult to navigate, particularly if you have less experience online. Sometimes, it's hard to know exactly what you are buying (particularly with yarn and other craft materials) as it is really hard to truly capture size, colour and texture in a 2d photo. Also, even if the tech works well, there is always the worry that something will go missing in the post or may get dropped off to the neighbours, particularly if you live in a block of flats or a housing estate. With shopping in-store, this is not an issue.
Online: You Can Shop Online at Any Time
With face-to-face shopping, you can only come in on some days and the opening hours are not 24/7, but the Internet never "closes" so you can order wool online any time of day. With work, even if you are working from home at the moment, this can be much more convenient. Also, some people prefer shopping late at night or early in the morning. Whilst that's not my cup of tea, who am I to judge or tell you otherwise?
Face-to-Face: No Delivery Waiting Times
Being an incredibly impatient person, this is very valuable to me; I want my goods as soon as I buy them! With online shopping, you have to wait 2-3 working days, though this time can end up being extended if post offices are busy. With face-to-face shopping, you can have what you want instantly. Personally, I think this is a great perk but to other people, waiting times are far less important than opening times and availability - it's all down to your own preference.
Online: Less Anxiety
If you suffer with anxiety, face-to-face shopping can be really difficult for a range of reasons, whether that's to do with the social aspects, the journey to a shop or just not knowing what is going to happen. With online shopping you can avoid all of these things and generally have more control, so I do recommend it in some cases. However, next week, I will be looking at ways to make shopping face-to face less stressful.
Face-to-Face: More Interaction With Others
On the other hand, if you are a sociable person, face-to-face shopping is great. Not only can you have a chat with friends but you can also learn a lot from other crafters about the yarns and colours that are popular or what is best for certain types of craft. This is something we at Avicraft Wool are really looking forward to at some point in the (hopefully near) future.
It's a close call but, whilst online shopping is great for times like these, I personally prefer face-to-face shopping as I think it's great to get extra advice from people in the know and not have to deal with waiting times and tech problems. However, it is important to remember that everyone is unique and different modes of shopping are suited to different people.
That's all from me, so until next time, happy crafting!
Hello and welcome back! Today we start a new section of the blog, where I look at different ways to buy craft materials and how to make shopping a better experience.
But first, it's time to announce the winner of last week's vote - which colour scheme was your favourite?
It was a very close one (to the point where I ended up having to run a vote on Instagram between the two that were in joint place). However, the colour scheme that came out on top was Drift, which you can buy for a discounted price of £10.00. Below is a photo to remind you of the colours.
Now, for today's post. I planned all these posts at the end of 2020 (before this lockdown had been announced), thinking that by now, we would be open and I could give you a virtual tour of our shop. However, unfortunately, we still can't open just yet. Things are improving though as many more people are getting vaccinated and COVID cases are starting to fall again. In addition, as ever, you can still buy wool from us, so today I will be explaining how you can do that.
1. Via this page
I often suggest this because I love the range of yarns on our online shop; however, I feel like I should explain exactly how to do this and also when I do and don't recommend buying from our online shop.
Firstly, to get to it, either click the "online store" button directly above (if you are looking at this on a computer), or click on the three horizontal lines in the top left corner and then click the "online store" button (if you are looking at this on a phone). Once you have done that, you will find a list of categories. Click on the one you wish to look at then click on specific items to look at the yarn fibres, colours available and other details. Once you have found what you want, click "add to cart" and when you have found everything that you want to buy, click "checkout." This will take you to a list of all the things that you have added and give you the option to pay via PayPal. Once you have paid, we will post it to you!
I really recommend this, particularly for when you are lacking inspiration on colours or if you are looking for a specific brand. However, I wouldn't recommend this when looking for a specific colour or texture as it is so hard to capture yarn colours on camera and of course, impossible to show texture.
2. On our eBay sites
Our eBay sites work very similarly and have similar pros and cons too, but it is also a little cheaper so it's perfect if lockdown and changes in work have tightened your budget. However, one of the problems with buying from us via eBay is that we are selling on clearance and will not get that yarn in again, whereas with this site, we may reorder the yarn and even if we don't, what we sell here is more widely available in general. As you may have seen on our homepage, our eBay sites are "avicraftwool2015" and "caitlnew0." To find what we are selling on these pages, put one of these names into Google or any other search engine followed by the word "eBay."
3. By Telephone
You can also leave an answerphone message on the number 020 8290 1238 telling us your name, telephone number and what you would like to buy. We will then find it and ring you back to organise payment and posting. This is a great way of buying from us if you know what you need, but if you don't then this can be a lengthy process. Also, you will need a credit/debit card so that you can pay over the phone. Why not order our new Stylecraft colour scheme this way?
4. By Email
Finally, you can order from us is by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining what you are looking for. With emailing, you don't necessarily need to know exactly what you want, though it would be a good to have an idea on colour, fibre and thickness preferences. Another bonus of both telephone and email is that you can buy haberdashery this way too!
So there we have it. Next week I'll be looking more broadly at the pros and cons of online and face-to-face yarn shopping. But until then, happy crafting!
Hello! Welcome back to the blog! We've now finished our little style section, having looked at colour, texture, thickness and aesthetic. So, today's post will just be a little summary of it all as well as a few final tips and an exciting announcement - more on that soon.
Based on what we have looked at in the past month, I have decided to rank the best things that I have learnt from looking into style more - here are my top ten lessons.
10: A plain white bedroom isn't always best - whilst people often expect this to be a great option because it is plain and therefore doesn't keep you up all night, it actually is believed to evoke stress because of the fact that it is under stimulating. Instead of just plain white or cream, why not combine it with cool, pastel colours such as mint green and lilac?
9: Thin yarn comes with both troubles and joys - before I looked into it more and started using it more frequently, I always thought that thinner yarn was a no-go as it is so fiddly and mistakes are much easier to see in it. Whilst that is true, it can be quite important, as it can be used to make intricate details and lace patterns.
8: If you want to spark your creativity, you NEED colour - remember in the first post of this section, where I shared survey results about the impacts of colour on people? Well, most of the people that described themselves as creative had a lot more colour in their lives. It didn't mean that they had no monochrome at all - in fact, all the participants of the survey said that they often wear black. It just proved that it is great to have a bit of vibrancy in your day-to-day. In the post about aesthetic, I learnt even more about the importance of colour for inspiration. Now, I try to go outside, look out my window or even look at pictures of natural landscapes whenever I can.
7: All crafters have different opinions on yarn thickness - this may sound like a weird one, but when I was a bit younger, I thought that people universally loved thicker yarns but hated thinner yarns, but from talking to people and researching for this blog, I can confirm that that is just not true. Everybody is different - some people want a quick project, whilst some people want to take their time making something delicate.
6: Researching your yarn fibre is key - All yarn fibres have different qualities, so knowing what you're working with is an absolute must before any project. If you want to know a little more about the material you have got, check out our post from three weeks ago, which explains the pros and cons of some popular fibres.
5: My personal taste - I have learnt tons about the kinds of colours and patterns I like through doing this. For example, until I started this, I never realised quite how much I like green! I'm also particularly drawn to pastels but I do like vibrant things too. However, the thing I've noticed the most is how much I'm drawn to gradients - I don't know why but I just love them.
4: The environmental impact of knitting - I knew that knitting and fashion did impact the environment but I didn't know all the details and for that reason, I'm very grateful that I've had the chance to learn so much about it. The most popular fibres, acrylic and cotton, are not the best for the environment; however, bamboo and natural wool are great alternatives to these. Also, in general, knitting is great for the planet as it's not like fast fashion; you're unlikely to throw away a homemade and heartfelt jumper after just a couple wears.
3. Aesthetic is more than just "pretty" - I'll be honest here, before I actually did any research on aesthetic, I had only ever heard it being used by teenagers or in PE when they talked about dance or gymnastic movements that looked good. When you hear about it in these contexts, it's easy to forget that aesthetic is not about society's ideas on beauty; it's about your ideas on beauty.
2. The beauty of the world - I know this sounds incredibly cheesy but it is true! As I started going on more walks both to boost my fitness and to get colour inspiration, I started to realise how pretty the outside world is. Also, being stuck indoors again, I'm trying to pay more attention to my indoor surroundings too and, being a very messy person, there's a lot for me to see! Whilst it is a mess, I still love everything about my little space (most of the time).
1. The importance of being yourself - I never realised quite how few people wear their favourite colours on a regular basis, something which I found out in the survey I carried out last month. Come to think of it, I don't really either. So, from now on, I'm going to try and incorporate my favourite colours into as many of my knitting and crochet projects as I can!
Now it's time for my special announcement, which I'm super excited about!
Based on everything I've learnt over the course of this section, I've decided to create four colour schemes in Stylecraft Special - three in double knit and one in chunky. Today, I will be revealing these to you and will give you the opportunity to vote on which is your favourite. Then, next week, I will announce the palette that has triumphed and we will be selling this at a discounted price of £10. Here are the options:
Option One: Skies
My first colour scheme, which I have called skies, is inspired by my nature photography that I mentioned in last week's post. The colours in this selection are:
Option Two: Joy
My next colour scheme, Joy, is based on a flag (see if you can guess which one!) and I decided to name it Joy because of the happiness that the colours gave me. I also gave it that name because of the joy I felt after being able to find all the colours that I needed, as I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to find the right ones! The colours in this scheme are:
Option Three: Drift
Remember in the first blog post of this section, where I looked at what colours were best for sleeping? Well, Drift is based on that post, containing a range of neutrals and cool pastels that are proven to increase relaxation and lead to better sleep. The colours in this set are:
Option Four: Basics
Finally, we have our chunky option (I thought it would be wrong to stick to just one thickness after having done a whole post rating different thicknesses). I decided to call this one Basics because I had picked simple primary colours - though the red is a little more of a brick shade - and black and white. Here are the precise colour names:
Can't wait until next week to announce the winning colour scheme, but until then, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..