We all start out a new year with the best of intentions: eat healthier, work less, sleep more - essentially to take better care of ourselves overall. And whatever your personal goals are for this year, no matter how big or small, may we suggest adding a little crafty self-care to the list as well. It goes a whole lot further than just making yourself something new.
The benefits of crafting and creativity have been scientifically proven (how can we argue with science?!), from assisting with hand-eye coordination to staving off depression to even helping you make a new friend or two. So why not start off the new year with picking up a new skill (or dusting off an old one) and saying ‘YES’ to your health, self-care and creative pursuits this year.
So…why crafting?! Because:
1. The hand/brain connection!
Along with helping to strengthen hand-eye coordination, handcraft skills also assists your brain in terms of memory, reaction and efficacy.
2. It helps you get social!
Make new friends online and IRL by joining forums or in-person stitching (knitting, crochet, embroidery) clubs.
Grab your friends and take a class together! It’s a great way to learn something new as a group while you partake in a bottle of wine or two.
3. Gifting made better!
There’s nothing quite as special as giving (or receiving) a handmade gift. The time and energy you put into a unique piece for someone else is sure to make a lasting impression!
Give exactly what you want! No more hunting around for the perfect gift when you can bring it to life with your own two hands.
4. Design your dreams!
Stop relying on stores to give you what they think you “need”. Learn how to create what you want in exactly the style you want.
Express your singular style with unique handmade pieces and never worry about having the same old thing as everyone else.
No more size snafus! Skills like knitting, sewing and mending can help you to create a wardrobe that fits you just right, in both size and style. These skills can also help make you a better shopper as you’ll be able to spot good fabrics, understand fit and know how to make small adjustments if needed!
5. You can take it with you!
Crafts like knitting, crochet and embroidery travel well (just make sure to check what you can carry-on before flying). A long road trip, a beach vacation, holiday with the family - anywhere you can take a book, you can take your crafting too!
Certain situations stress you out? Bring your craft! If riding the subway or waiting for your doctors appointments drive you crazy, focusing on a little creative pursuit can help the time fly by.
6. It’s easier than you think!
Between the range of online classes and in-person workshops available, you can learn just about any skill your heart desires!
Classes are a great way to make friends and those friends can help advance your craft! Plan get togethers after class to catch each other up on your project and skill progress. Challenge each other to try new things and take new classes together!
7. Hey, I made that!
Looking for a confidence boost? There’s no feeling quite like finishing up a project and admiring your handiwork. Bonus points if someone compliments you on it because then you get to say “Oh? I made this!”
Pack away the Advil because a feeling of accomplishment triggers feel-good chemicals in the brain which can dull our sense of pain.
One good skill begets another! Learning something new kick starts your braein’s reward mechanism which in turn inspires you to keep learning other new skills. It’s like the best endless cycle ever!
8. You need a break!
The rhythmic movement of handcrafts such as knitting, crochet and needlework create a meditative-like state which some crafters refer to as “the zone”.
Focusing on the specific steps of a craft help you to practice mindfulness and staying in the moment.
“The repetitive motions of knitting, for example, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which quiets that "fight or flight" response.” - This is Your Brain on Crafting, CNN 2015
9. Engaging your mind!
Creative pursuits are unique in the ways in which they engage the brain on multiple levels. From memory and attention span to visuospatial processing and problem-solving abilities.
Escape from the every day. Because our brain and nervous system can only process a certain amount of data at one time, engaging your brain with a craft can help to refocus and take your mind off of stressful, anxious thoughts
The benefits are endless, really! And the best part is you can do it on your own time, at your own speed, in your own way. There is no “one way” to craft, no “one way” to be a crafter - you choose your style, what skills you want to learn and how you learn them. It’s the best kind of choose your own adventure! So, what are you making this year?!