I love weaving. To anyone who’s spoken to me, it’s obvious. I find the slow rocking of the shuttle back and forth is relaxing. It’s hypnotic, even. Since I picked it back up, I’ve found myself processing emotions in a way that I haven’t done in a long time. If I have a bad day, a bad night, or a bad week, I am assured in knowing that if I pick up my loom, I can feel the anxiety drifting away. Weaving, in this way, is an important part of my mental wellbeing.
Anyone who has picked up a craft will tell you about that exact feeling. It’s the feeling of calm, positivity, and relaxation that comes from pouring away at a craft. Crafting is a broad umbrella, and there’s something for everyone, including knitting, woodturning, papercrafts, cosplay, and more! Adopting a craft helps with developing mastery, among many other wonderful traits that improve mental wellbeing. If you’re not convinced, then I’ve bundled together 5 reasons here why it’s worthwhile to give arts and crafts a go.
If you know someone who isn’t convinced about how crafting helps mental wellbeing, share this article with them! Or, share it on social media, so the folks close to you can learn more about the advantages of crafting. Remember, this isn’t an alternative to full help! If you are worried about your mental health, always speak to a doctor or professional who can help you.
Interacting and socialising with others is vital to your mental wellbeing. As an introvert myself, I know, it can be a nightmare to do, and even more so with social anxiety. Craft clubs and social networks are a wonderful way to connect to other people and bond over a shared hobby!
Crafts also can give a sense of independence, since you can craft anywhere: on your own; with friends; outdoors; or indoors. This freedom of choice means you don’t need to depend on others to enjoy crafting, unlike some other hobbies such as sports. If you’re not up to a crafting club, you’re not obliged to go, and that freedom can be relieving for some folks!
Personally, I enjoy online approaches, such as Twitter and Discord servers. Ravelry is also a wonderful entryway for folks who want to socialise over yarn crafts! The best part about using online forums is you can interact at your own pace and when you’re feeling comfortable. This may be a better option for people who are anxious with face-to-face interaction like I am!
This applies to all art, but crafts make an awesome outlet for expressing yourself. Walk into any craft fair, and you’ll see a vibrant array of mismatched colours. Lots of the colour choices used in crafts go against the grain of “typical” beauty and aesthetics. Something handmade has the heart and soul of a crafter inside it, and because of that, they stand out!
Any craft you make will be the same. The freedom to fly with whatever your heart desires, to experiment, is such a treat. We may not be able to do this as often in our day-to-day schedules. That can end up feeling stifling, but a crafting hobby can change that. Crafts can help you explore and learn more about yourself, all while learning a practical, useful skill!
Mindfulness is the state of being aware of your surroundings, thoughts, and feelings. It’s bringing yourself out of your thoughts and directing your focus to the present. It’s also a buzzword in a lot of circles these days. Whether you believe it’s a magical “cure-all” or not, it has helped improve lives for many people before.
I’ve said this more than a few times in past posts before. But, crafts are one of the best ways to practice mindfulness. Focus on the feel of the yarn in your fingers, or the scent of oils in a batch of soap, or that satisfying feeling of scissors cutting through paper. These little details can help take you away from stressful ruminating. In that, it can give you a clearer head, ready to tackle anything life throws at you. Crafts can offer a whole medley of treats for the five senses, giving you the tools you need to practice mindfulness effectively.
When stress strikes, it can be nigh on impossible to move your body. Even small movements can pose a challenge. Unfortunately, exercise is one of the most common ways to manage stress. Trying to exercise, when your body doesn’t want to, is even more stressful!
Crafting isn’t the same as exercise, but crafts can get you on your feet, or moving your hands. No, this isn’t the same as full-blown cardio, but it’s easier to persuade yourself to pick up your crafting gear than it is to do an intense workout.
When you’re on your feet crafting, you can walk about. When you’re walking about, you can work towards light exercise. See how it’s easy to fool yourself into simple, health exercise this way? When you focus on something fun, like crafting, light exercise stops being a chore. Be aware, not all crafts can encourage movement. However, crafts such as wood-turning and other up-and-about crafts are the perfect stepping stone to moving about more!
There are a lot of things in daily life that can give “a sense of achievement”, but many of them are brushed under the rug. Getting out of bed, preparing food, vacuuming the house: all these are deserving of rewards. Yet, because of society’s expectations, we can see these grafts as “unimportant” even when they are. It can be hard to remind ourselves that our day-to-day struggles are worthy of self-praise.
Crafts, on the other hand, are always commendable. It’s hard to finish a crafting project and not feel like you’ve achieved something. This ties in brilliantly to socialising in crafts. When you finish your latest project, nothing feels better than sharing it with friends. Everyone loves compliments on a job well done! Sharing your crafting achievements in a welcoming community is so, so worthwhile. It always feels like a nice boost and is useful for your mental wellbeing. Trust me, you’ll be glad to give it a go!