How does crafting benefit your mental health?
Our blog explores mental health stats, the benefits of practicing mindfulness through crafting, and ways that you can incorporate different types of crafting into your life for better mental health generally.
Mental Health issues affect 1 in 4 of us!
That’s right, 1 in 4 people in England experience some kind of mental health issue each year. 1 in 6 of us experience a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression (according to statistics from mental health charity Mind). Whatever you’re going through, you are definitely not alone.
Initiatives such as World Mental Health Day are on the rise, and there is far more discussion around mental health in general these days – although we still have a long way to go. And although there is plenty of professional advice, medication and help available for mental health issues, these statistics show that there is plenty more than could and should be done, both in raising awareness and in seeking mechanisms to help us deal with these issues.
There are many ways in which you can incorporate activities such as crafting into your life, to reduce stress, anxiety, and ultimately help you find more peace of mind.
How does crafting benefit your mental health?
Crafting can help you be more present
Even something as basic as a colouring book counts as crafting, and is great for mindfulness! From knitting or crochet to painting or embroidery, these things offer a chance to focus on what’s right in front of you, right now, occupying both your hands and mind, and giving your brain a break from anything else that’s going on.
Crafting can also help with neurodiversity – click here to read our blog about that.
Repetitive motion helps rest your mind
Making a repetitive motion, such as when you crochet, knit or embroider, can invoke an almost meditative state. This again will give you something physical to focus on, and pull you out of other running thoughts.
Say goodbye to perfectionism
Perfectionism is defined as ‘the need to be or appear to be perfect, or even to believe that it’s possible to achieve perfection’. Such thoughts and behaviour can go hand in hand with mental health issues, therefore anything that pulls you out of these ‘perfectionist’ thoughts is a good thing!
Learning a new craft will bring you out of your comfort zone, and help you out of any perceived notions of how something is ‘supposed’ to look. If you’re already an artist or crafter, it can be good to make things for your eyes only – something not intended for sale but purely for the love of crafting, so that it doesn’t matter how ‘perfect’ it is. This could simply mean experimenting with different mediums to discover what relaxes you most.
Remember, nothing is ‘perfect’ first time round, plus, ‘done is better than perfect’ anyway!
It can help reduce your screen time
We all know the dangers of smartphones and social media – and yet so many of us are addicted to them.
Did you watch The Social Dilemma? If so, you’ll know that the more time we spend on screens, the higher our anxiety – yet in this modern world, being connected is almost a necessity. We are trained to reach for our smartphones during any free moment that we have, with apps and adverts specifically designed to capture our attention, constantly.
Crafting is an excellent way to distract yourself. Put down the phone, and pick up something crafty – it’s much better for your eyesight, too!
Instead of watching TV before bed or scrolling through your socials, how about just doing some doodles or colouring in? It doesn’t have to be a major craft project for it to be a healthier focus for your mind.
You can grow your community
Crafting is a great way to make friends! Join a knitting circle (or set up your own), or see what’s going on in your local village hall or haberdashery shops (lots advertise various crafting classes).
Connecting over craft, even virtually, is a great way to combat loneliness, or just make new friends and contacts. You could use your social media channels to connect with other hobbyists and crafters. Take a look at Facebook groups or message boards, follow different crafters on Instagram, interact on their pages or even share your favourite pieces to your Stories. Social media should be social! It may help encourage your own crafting adventures further too.
Where do you start?
Ultimately, it depends how much you want to invest. You don’t have to spend a fortune to incorporate crafts into your life – but you can if you want to!
You could use what you already have in the house to make something out of, or even something as simple as a colouring book and pencils, which can be very cheap, can offer you a mindful crafting activity. There are also endless YouTube tutorials which you can access for free, or go down the old fashioned route and ask a friend or family member to teach you something!
You could join a course, find a local maker who offers classes (there are tons of options for this), go to a local college or even learn online if you want to – there are so many options!