Life Update: Compassionate Deadlines, Spoons, and a Hole-y Foot

So, it feels a bit strange, but we are now over 1 year into the official pandemic-ness of the pandemic, a quarter of the way through 2021, and on what feels like a very uncertain but hopeful precipice looking towards the future. As a bit of a life update, I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to get both doses of the vaccine (due to employment status), and that the majority of my immediate family have been or will soon be vaccinated (due to age, employment, or health status). Vaccinations should soon be opening to all age groups in my area soon, and so I am hopeful that everyone who hasn’t been eligible yet will be able to try to find appointments soon. I know this isn’t the case everywhere, especially internationally, and I am very aware how lucky my family has been in all of this.

In a slight bit of poetic irony, my first dose of the vaccine occurred exactly 1 year after my boss gave me the call about the work-from-home orders. I will say that, of everyone I know, I’ve had one of the worst responses to the vaccine. I felt pretty achy and groggy after the first dose, and my body felt on fire after the second. In both cases I lost a lot of energy, and have felt a lot of general fatigue. After the first shot I powered through work and life activities, but after the second I really couldn’t. I will say though, that if this is how I’ve responded to the vaccine, I’m so incredibly grateful that I was able to avoid dealing with the results of contracting the actual virus.

Of course, for anyone who has read my last few blog posts, you may have noticed that I had been participating in the pattern review Sewing Bee last month. I made it to the second round, but I didn’t make it past that. I wasn’t surprised – there were some truly brilliant entries in the second round – but I did feel a bit sad because I had to pull back from a lot of my design plans for the second round. I had really wanted to do some embroidery work on the jeans to make something really new and transformative, but I just didn’t have time. The first day of the second round coincided with my first shot, which I hadn’t known when I started round one. The process of actually getting injected with the vaccine was easy, but the process of finding an appointment time has been a bit like the Hunger Games. Of course, some things are more important than a sewing competition, and I took my shot when and where I could get it. Added to that, I was under some important work deadlines, I started an online class for work, and I had a few other critical deadlines for some of my volunteer activities due that week as well. I’ve known for a while that I really need to consider scaling back some of my activities (I don’t know how I did everything when I still had to commute and get dressed in the mornings) but the week of round 2 really put that into harsh perspective. I managed to get it all done, but honestly, I didn’t sleep that week. I finished my jeans in time for the contest, but my body was so swollen from lack of sleep that I could barely walk outside to take photos. I love the excitement, inspiration, and adrenaline that I get from participating in the Bee, but the second round this year really pushed me to my physical limits when combined with everything else going on in my life. With the Bee, of course, “compassionate deadlines” aren’t a thing. But at this point I’m not sure how many un-compassionate deadlines I have left in me.

I’ve seen a lot of people in the sewing community talk about spoon theory, and I think it might be applicable here. I’ve sort of always been able to push myself through energy lows, but lately I haven’t been having the same sort of luck with that. I’m sure part of it is that I haven’t been nearly as physically active as I was before the pandemic hit. And I’m sure that some of it is that collective weight and concern of living through this pandemic that we are all dealing with right now. I don’t know about everyone else, but simple things like showers and cooking food feel like they take up so many more spoons than before, and that week of round 2 I was definitely borrowing spoons from somewhere to get through. In the week that followed I was paying them back with interest though.

I haven’t sewn a stitch since I finished my round 2 project, though I did clean up my sewing room from the disaster that was a bunch of deconstructed jeans. While I’m still really happy I participated in the Bee (and I’ve worn my new jeans a lot already considering it feels like I never leave the house anymore), that week put me behind on a lot of things, and I needed to get caught back up before feeling like I have the energy to get back to sewing again. But I’m hopeful that I can get back to sewing plans soon. And while I’ve totally fallen down the rabbit hole of costuming on YouTube and Instagram during the pandemic, I really want to get back to the wardrobe plan I had written about in my now not-so-recent post. As predicted, I totally shot myself in the foot by posting my plans to the internet, but I had made a decent amount of progress at the start of the year with my first two tops and first bottom of the collection. The next piece has already been patterned and adjusted, so hopefully it’ll be a quick boost to get me back into the sewing game. And even though I’m still under work-from-home orders, I expect that will end in the next few months, so while my need for a quasi-professional-ish wardrobe was certainly pushed back, I really do need new clothes. And while I’d love to have a totally me-made wardrobe for back-to-work, I’m also not going to push myself to get it finished. Having something to wear to work will be good enough, and I can add to that as possible over time. I’ve already got the hole in my foot regarding this sewing plan, so at this point it’s more important to to manage my spoons and have compassionate deadlines than to try and rush to get things done for some imagined deadline that doesn’t really exist.

16 thoughts on “Life Update: Compassionate Deadlines, Spoons, and a Hole-y Foot

  1. Congratulations on being vaccinated! I’m a bit envious.

    I’m a big believer in compassionate deadlines, especially for things that are supposed to be restorative hobbies, like sewing. Over the pandemic I got myself to sew the leggings, sweaters and tees I needed for endless zoom meetings, and the clothes my kid needed for surgery recovery, but everything else …. It’s like, yeah, that’s a beautiful dress pattern, but I literally have no idea what size I will be or what my measurements will be when I have a chance to wear it. So.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I totally get that! My size has changed so much in a year, but I think (hope?) it will change again when I have energy to go out and I’m feeling a bit bolder about exercising outdoors (after the incubation period is over). A lot of people in my area refuse to mask, so it has made me hesitant about being around people at all, but I feel a bit better about going out (still masked) to exercise once everyone in my immediate living space is fully vaccinated. So sewing feels a bit like a guessing game, but I also am grateful for the few things I’m making now and can wear now, just to have something. It’s definitely hard to plan though with so many unknowns in the next few months.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, exactly. It all feels like a big guessing game. Who even knows what’s going to be office appropriate clothing? I can’t even figure out right now what’s ok for the grocery curbside pickup. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Take care and look after yourself. Notice how your body is reacting. Stressing yourself may be a good thing to do when you’re in good health and wanting to expand your physical abilities, it’s very different when your body needs to heal and recuperate. Maybe this is not the best time to be trying to plan or set deadlines – even these mental activities need ’spoons’ ! Best Wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Take care of yourself please, and don’t overdo it.
    My parents both had the Pfizer vaccine and were quite unwell after the second dose, but recovered after two or three days. I’ve had the Astra Zeneca but only one dose so far and my arm was sore for a few days.

    I’ve abandoned SWAP half way through as it no longer felt relevant. I’ve got big changes happening in my life (all good, but not quite what I thought would be happening) and its hard to know where sewing fits into that.
    I’ll be selling my house and need to pare the sewing room down to show.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The actual measure of “too much” changes from day to day and week to week, and it does take some time to learn the signals your body is sending. I’m glad you are being aware and monitoring the spoon numbers, even though I’m sorry you haven’t been doing so well.

    I hope you’ll soon have the energy for your next sewing projects!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am glad you’re listening to your body. I’ve had to just accept that I am low energy right now and that’s okay.

    Hopefully you recover QUICKLY from the vaccine issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It’s been a week and I still feel the effects but I get better every day. I have some underlying health things that I thought would be a bad mix with COVID, so I’m still really happy that I was able to get it as soon as I did.


  6. It is good to take stock every now and then. Taking care of your health is really wise too.

    I had the Astra jab yesterday and initially felt fine. 12 hours later I felt really crap with fevers and headache, which lasted roughly 12 hours. Now I’m just tired but happy I got the first dose. My understanding is that the second jab is not so bad. Certainly hope so!

    I decided that I needed to update my professional wardrobe a few years back and set about stitching one up. It has taken almost five years for me to amass enough me-made clothing to get through the week. I did have to plan the makes so that there were several easy makes in between the more tricky numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Are you going to continue to review the new pattern collections as they are released? I enjoy reading your comments.


  8. I’m so sorry you had such a bad reaction to the vaccine. I work in long term care, and where I live (BC-Canada) we were the first to get the vaccine (Pfizer-Dec 23), I felt like I was wearing cement shoes for a couple of days after the first one, but the second wasn’t an issue at all. It seems that the younger you are, the worse the reaction. However, you win for the worst reaction that I’ve heard of. Not something one wants to win. Be nice to yourself and do as little as you can until you feel like yourself again.

    For anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet, it was recommended to me that when you get vaccinated (with anything) you move your arm a lot for the rest of the day. It worked for me and everyone I know. Hope this helps someone.

    Liked by 1 person

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