I feel like crafting has always been a part of my life. Ever since quite a young age, I would want to learn the crafts I saw my mum and grandparents working on and was taught how to knit, crochet and sew basic stitches as a child. Since then, crafting has always given me a happiness and a peace, which is quite hard to explain.
During my teenage years I went through a very anxious time, it was during this time that I felt crafting, knitting in particular, amongst other things really got me through.
But, I don’t want to focus this blog all around the negative times, while it has without doubt helped me through some difficult times even more recently (hello Covid lockdown) it has also been very much there at my happiest times too.
So, in this blog, I want to outline five reasons why I think crafting can help our mental wellbeing during the good times and the not so good times 🙂
It can help with depression and anxiety…
As with my example above, knitting has helped me massively during the times in my life that I’ve felt anxious and down. Just the act of picking up the needles and doing something with my hands that is repetitive and meditative seems to soothe my mind. A lot about knitting, crochet and sewing crafts like cross stitch involves counting which, in its natural repetitiveness, gives a mindfulness and focus that provides a distraction from anxious thoughts that might otherwise be allowed to take over.
It can improve your mood and give you a more positive outlook…
Crafting can give you a sense of purpose and pride in what you’re working on. When I was knitting away my anxiety during my anxious couple of years as a teenager, I would so enjoy seeing my work grow and take pride and pleasure in the fact that this simple act of essentially winding wool around needles could produce a fabric that would eventually be made into a garment that I could actually wear. It made me happy and gave me a purpose. Crafting is also known to be a great way to stimulate dopamine, which ultimately makes you feel happy.
It can raise your self esteem…
Knowing that you’ve made something using your own fair hands is a great self esteem booster. In trying out new things you’ll likely find talents and gifts that you never knew you had. You may also find some that you know you are definitely not suited to but that’s fine too, we are all suited to different things and that’s what makes us all unique. Crafting has been proven to promote psychological wellbeing as it can increase life enjoyment and give a sense of pride, self worth and self awareness with what you’re doing.
It can be a great way to meet new friends…
A lot of times in my younger years being a young person who spent a lot of time knitting, sewing and crafting made me feel a little different to everyone else at that time. Nowadays, there are so many ways to connect with other people who enjoy the same things that you do. I can’t tell you the happiness I’ve got out of being part of a social media community that loves sewing, knitting and creating as much as me and who could talk about it for hours, much like me! Of course, there are not only the virtual communities out there but also the ‘real life’ groups where you can meet and chat to other people and feel part of a community. Many local libraries offer ‘knit and natter’ groups and of course there are evening courses and the like that would be a great way to start.
It creates balance…
In today’s busy, busy screen based world, making time for crafting can create balance in an otherwise hectic schedule. Much like the importance of making time for exercise is beneficial for our physical health, making time to sit and work on a craft we enjoy for even just half an hour a day or less can bring a sense of calm, a break from screen based activity, give a bit of balance and a feeling of escape from our daily work and chores.
For me it was knitting and sewing that I really found solace in but below I’ve listed a few ideas that you might like to try if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression or are simply thinking about dabbling in a new craft or even trying crafting for the first time:
- Paint a picture using a paint by numbers kit
- Try an adult colouring book – colouring has been proven to help with mindfulness.
- Bake and decorate a cake – Hobbycraft has a great range of cake decorating equipment
- Start a journal. It’s a great way to get those feelings out of your head and onto paper and you can make it as creative and colourful as you like.
- Join a knitting or crochet group. Not only will you get to chat away a couple of hours but, if you’re a beginner, you’ll likely have people around that can help you on your knitting journey.
- Go for a walk, take some photos and print and frame them or make a scrapbook from family photos from your phone. Not all about the craftiness this one, getting out into nature is another one that’s proven to lift moods and promote a feeling of mindfulness.
I hope I’ve inspired you to give crafting a try and if you’re already a crafter I’d love to hear what crafts have helped you over the years!
Until next time!