Crafting for Mental Health
The definition of mental health is very broad and covers all physical and mental states. The Mental Health Act understands these complexities and seeks interventions for treatment that should be least restrictive, least stigmatising, consistent in their effectiveness and with least possible interruption to a person’s everyday life.
There has been a lot of press in recent months about the benefits of crafting for mental health. I know that my crafts hobby has been invaluable in helping me cope with and manage my depression. In fact, it has given me such a boost, I am now officially self-employed and running my own handmade crafts business from home.
The Craft Blog Club
The Craft Blog Club is a non-selling, authentically awesome, craft chat for creative bloggers; on Twitter every Tuesday evening 8-9pm BST, all year round. Kay a blogger who runs the group, is a tireless advocate for supporting creatives that craft, either for a hobby or for business.
During September the weekly Twitter chats were focused around the topic of mental health and I wanted to share with you all my story of how crafting has helped my mental health.
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day falls on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.
There is so much I can say on the topic. I wrote a post last year on how hiking has helped my mental health and now is the time to write about how crafting can help boost mental health too.
Lose yourself from the world for a while.
I have crafted, on and off, all my life and I am from a creative family. A Stitch In Time looks at nature versus nurture crafting genes.
I took a break from crafting while I completed my university degree and when my youngest son was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive lymphoma cancer.
Through my counselling treatment and medication for my depression, I took up my crafts again and am fortunate that I had my creative outlet when Ryan relapsed in September 2017. When you craft you have to concentrate on the process which means you can lose yourself from the world for a while.
I can lose myself in my crochet. Shut everything else off. I also love that because it is a mobile craft, I can take it with me everywhere I go, so it is also now like having a comforter with me. Knowing I have it with me, even if I don’t actually do any.
The dark days of depression.
When battling depression there are days when you cannot even face opening the blinds let alone venturing outside.
Being able to recognise these black days and allow yourself the time you need to heal; crafts can definitely help to boost you on the black days.
Does crafting alone at home make the isolation worse?
Sometimes it is perfectly okay to be contented with your own company. I definitely prefer my own space, but it can also be important to not shut yourself off for long periods.
Try to get out a few times a week. Pop to the shops, or meet a friend for a coffee. You could consider attending a weekly group. I have been making myself go to a knit and natter group at my friend’s wool shop. I do not go every week, but I have enjoyed getting out on the days I can cope.
Proven health benefits.
I recommend getting yourself into a good routine of tackling a couple of housework jobs first thing so that you can then craft without worrying about what needs doing. This will also help to give you that initial boost and reason to get up in the morning.
Crafting has proven to reduce stress and anxiety as well as increasing brain function and self-confidence. There is some discussion that the cost of crafting can cause anxiety, or when projects go wrong, but the emotional, mental, and tangible benefits of crafting far out way the negatives.
Crafting has helped me and my mental health so positively that I have decided to build my blog helping others that want to start crafting for hobby or for a small business. You can also join my Facebook group, Handmade Crafts Club, a non-selling community helping you to craft for hobby or as a small business.
Mental Health is definitely a roller-coaster.
The first time I went to knit and natter I walked past the shop twice, plucking up the courage to go in. You do what you need to. Self-care is paramount. If you need help, advice or just to vent, please do join in the discussion. If crafting has helped you I would love to hear from you too. Let’s talk about mental health. #ItsOkayToTalk.