As a person who has struggled with depression and anxiety in the past ( Quite badly during the time I started The Glittery Hands Box - I was possibly crazy for starting a business then!) I wanted to share why and how getting crafty can be a great helping step in recovery and as a self-care exercise.
There's been lots of press lately on how Crafting is helpful for improving mental health, I even saw a piece on how the NHS is offering knitting as a treatment! Which I am all for! It seems obvious once you think about it- Crafting and being creative makes you happy which releases dopamine in the brain- giving us all of the happy feels and the natural feel-good high. When you are depressed and anxious, you need as much of those feels as you can get right!?
For me crafting has always been a form of escape from daily life and stress, Taking an hour out of a busy week to work on a project gives your brain time to chill and reset. It doesn't matter what craft you are doing, just taking a moment for yourself will make you feel better. I try to have few little projects and things to do on hand if I'm feeling down, Like little embroidery projects, a scrapbook page or even some colouring. These little projects that have no end goal ( aren't for anybody or need to be finished for any purpose) allow me to find my super chill place.
I found that during my treatment for anxiety ( I had counselling and CBT) I was being given a lot of worksheets and having to keep lots of diaries and self-evaluation notes- Which let me tell you are not pretty. I felt quite overwhelmed with paperwork and a massive urge to do something with my hands. One of the main things that pushed me forwards in getting better was creating a scrapbook, using some of the techniques I was working on in CBT, I found that having something tangible that I could work on quietly and had a pretty end result really helped. I still pick up the book now and flick through it if I am having a bad day, as you can probably imagine I have never flicked back through my pile of paperwork and worksheets from CBT, they seemed far too clinical. Which when you find it hard to go to the doctors to admit you are struggling in the first place is the last thing you want. ( Although do go, it will be hard but that first step is the most important one you will make towards feeling better). I would highly recommend starting your own mental health scrapbook, there are no right or wrong ways to do this as it's just for you. Fill it with whatever you need to get better be positive affirmations, a list of your achievements, reminders of things to do when you feel down or even inspiring quotes and artwork. It really is a you do you moment. Create what you need to feel better.
Crafting often puts us into a meditative state, particularly repetitive crafts such as knitting and weaving- which can give you all benefits of meditation, helping you to de-stress and re-connect with yourself. My busy brain sometimes struggles to switch off with meditation apps and podcasts, but I find tricking myself into it with craft is a great alternative.
As human beings, we love to feel like we have achieved something, which working on or completing a craft project gives us in buckets full. How great does it feel when you cast off a knitting project or complete a scrapbooking page? The sense of achievement feeds our hearts much quicker than many other hobbies can.
Even if you aren't struggling mentally, giving yourself the time to craft for self-care is something I highly recommend. Find an hour of your week, or whatever time you can spare to sit down and get stuck into a new project. You could use this time to use your Glittery Hands Box and see what you are inspired to create. Don't be afraid to give yourself the time without feeling guilty- self-care is so important ( and any valid excuse to craft should be used to the max in my opinion!).
What are your crafting mental health tips?