The benefits of crafting are something most of us creative people have heard about before. As someone who has used crafts on and off since I was a child, I know this to be true. But, I’m not alone in that.
For years, crafters of all kinds have spoken up about the benefits of putting your hands to work and creating stuff. Not only the fulfilling work of creating something that is entirely made by you, but also that you can relax and de-stress while doing it.
In this post, I’ll share my own thoughts on the benefits of crafting together with research on the topic (because I think it’s really interesting to add science into the mix of this conversation).
Ready to dive in?
WHAT COUNTS AS CRAFTING?
First, I think it’s important to discuss what crafting is because I believe that many have a quite limited view of what a craft actually is. Most would probably say knitting and crocheting when asked to mention a craft. While knitting and crocheting are crafts, the definition is so much wider than that.
For me, and you can agree or disagree with this, crafting is putting your hands to work. So whatever you do with your hands to create things, that’s a craft.
It can be knitting and crocheting, yes, but it can also be laying a puzzle, making jewelry, painting, scrapbooking, making collages or vision boards, and so much more. The options are endless.
Second, I also think it’s important to mention that there are no rules. I think that a lot of us get stuck when we try out a new craft or a new project because we think that it has to be done a certain way.
While there may be some basic guidelines and tips for certain crafts (as in, for example, knitting and crocheting), you don’t have to know everything about the craft before you start. Just start. You will learn more and get better on the craft as you go. You don’t have to be an expert to venture into a new craft you’ve never tested before.
THE BENEFITS OF CRAFTING
Research and science have supported the claims that crafting has a lot of benefits for our health (as shown in this article). Knitting, weaving, sewing, making jewelry, and so on, help you stay in a mindful state, improve your mood, reduce stress, and help with mental health issues.
Sounds really good, right?
For me, personally, I’ve struggled with stress and depression on and off for many years. One thing that I found to work for me to feel better, even if it was just a little bit, was to craft. Crafting didn’t cure me, but it made me feel better, even if it was just a little bit.
I think that, for me, the benefits of crafting didn’t just come from slowing down, de-stressing, and becoming more mindful (though that helped me as well). Much of my depression has stemmed from not feeling good enough or capable of anything. So, a lot of the benefits of crafting came from a feeling of accomplishment, seeing that I was actually capable of creating something, even if it was just a single granny square.
What I’ve also found is that if I craft on a consistent basis, like every other day, I feel the benefits more than if I just crafted sporadically here and there. As with so many other things in life, consistency is key to see benefits.
That doesn’t mean that you need to set up a strict schedule, though (don’t overdo it). Just be mindful of the times where you have the space to work on your craft. Examples can be when you’re watching tv, listening to an audiobook or podcast, when you’re in the waiting room at the dentist, when you’re in between classes, on your lunch-break, and so on.
Even though the research is a good source of information, the benefits we get from crafting is quite individual. The best way to realize how crafting benefits you personally is to do a consistent evaluation (that is, if you want to find out).
If you want to see how crafting benefits you, begin to write down how you feel before and after you’ve crafted. If you notice that you feel anxious or stressed, write it down and then craft for as long as you have time and then write down how you feel afterward.
This is a great way to see how crafting benefits you over a longer period of time. And I’m sure you’ll see how the benefits improve as well when you make crafting a consistent part of your life.
Crafting is about having fun, following your curiosity, and helping you relax. There are no strict rules and there’s no need for what you’re making to become perfect. Don’t be overly critical. With time and practice, you’ll get better at your craft.