Comfort, coping + crafting something new

We’re approaching the end of another year. Another year that required enormous patience and resilience, a year marred by further unwelcome hiatuses, grounded flights and uncertainty, a year spent treading murky water and attempting to stay afloat. As we continue to reel from the impact of our shared shock, it is becoming clear that life has altered irreversibly. We’d like to take a break from fighting back waves of expectation to return to as ‘normal’, productive and accomplished as we were all striving to be before, and to focus on the learning, coping and comfort that can be squeezed out of such an odd, forced slow down.

Finding a balance between comfort in solace and satisfaction in social togetherness was difficult under the best of circumstances. In more recent times, for many, finding that balance has felt like an uphill hike to a summit that is always being kicked further into the distant future. In seeking balance and coping with the deficit of personal progress, planning and achieving that could have been, we’ve recieved wake up calls, there has been a collective recognition that life is in fact short and the positive side effect has been an increased understanding of our civic responsibility. More of us than ever have participated in a long overdue public conversation about health inequality and there has been community action and peer support the likes of which we haven’t seen in generations.  and as a nation, we’ve established a deeper appreciation for the natural world. 

The experience of trying to keep up with so much fundamental change in such a short space of time - and the rare opportunity we’ve had to slow down and think - sees us turning more and more to the simple, tangible and healing practices that bring us back to ourselves and often, back together. We’re ready to prioritise time offline, to make ourselves at home once again in the natural world and to sustain our shared environment. The outdoors, it’s elements and ability to remind us we’re alive acts as a call to the wild, an antidote to the sedentary stagnation we’re all at risk of succumbing to. The mold in which those seeking access to solace outside our cities is slowly cracking and the future forecast is bright.

Craft and creation for comfort has become an essential part of our arsenal of practical methods to cope with and manage anxiety. Offline material, fabrics to feel and the contours of real time texture invite our attention away from fast, heavy thinking and back to right now, the only moment of which we can be certain. Cultivating something tangible in felt, cotton or wool has become an act of self regulation and healthy living - it’s accessible, sustainable joy. Communities of crafters are diverse, radical and supportive of their peers so that nobody feels alone, even if they are.

Our healthcare system is increasingly willing to accept non clinical mental health interventions as valuable, especially amid the quickly shifting discourse around health equity - a conversation that can be heard louder and clearer in light of the pandemic and it’s disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities. Rest is worth more to us than ever before, advocates for the powerful sense of quiet that can help us manage the effects of the daily stress response are beginning to reject the conventional culture of pressure to work, produce, maintain, abstain and constantly improve. Under the weight of our circumstances our autonomic nervous systems need slow breaths of fresh air, stillness and time offline.

To give ourselves the time to answer a call to the wild and the space to move and create is to put distance between us and the forces that fuel anxiety, isolation and psychosocial turbulence. The wake up call that life is too short not to take control of our health in this way has been heard beyond all boundaries over the past couple of years, so why postpone the joy that can be cultivated here in the new normal? 

Here at Supply, we’ve harnessed the new joys that can be squeezed from the digital connections, fresh thinking and acknowledgement that impact is possible, even when being together is a challenge. We’ve  spent this year working on the pandemic era iteration of our social impact delivery for the wider East London community, we’re glad to have found ways to maintain our powerful partnerships with East London Cares, ELFT, St Hilda’s Community Centre and Hackney Migrant Centre. It's been hugely fulfilling to witness the positive effects that a smile, wave, sense of connection and meditative practice can have on members of our community that are at risk of living in social isolation. Our strong community coalitions for the improved health and of everybody are more crucial now than ever before and, as usual, we’re ending another year by planting seeds for a brighter future - we couldn’t do it without the support of our subscribers so, thank you, truly.

Abi Nolan, 2021