Crafts and wellness

Many of us need excuses to do what we should be doing and crafts for some people is an excuse to do what they should be doing.

It can be an excuse to get out of the house. It can be an excuse to go out and meet people. It can be an excuse to sit and chat. Few of us thrive long term without human contact and some struggle more than others.

It can be an excuse to try and use the hand that is not so easy to use after a stroke.  It can be the excuse you need to bend or lift or stretch so keep your body in some kind of good order.

Productivity and achievement

In my dark days, I was constantly made to feel worthless. You don’t do this well enough or I do not value your efforts to do this that or the other.

One shining light for me was being able to make things. Just to be able to sit and make a jumper in a day was an achievement for me. I was doing something useful and productive. I was actually producing a jumper that looked handmade in a day.

OK a large part of it was done using a simple knitting machine that I bought because I so disliked the unevenness I saw in my efforts to do stocking stitch. The machine made the process quicker easier and even improved the part I hated doing as I did not think I could not do it very well.

Looking back that knitting machine helped to preserve my sanity. I could use it to make things for people and do something useful with my time.

I am not the only one

Crafting can do wonders for your mental health. In fact, that is one of the things that Betsan Corkhill mentions in her book on therapeutic knitting.

Her research study proved that what she discovered accidentally when she introduced knitting to the people she was caring for was not just a fluke. She is not the only one who wants to see crafting used in a way that promotes health and wellbeing.

How do you get started?

First thing is what is the need that you see around you? Crafting is a tool that can be used to meet a variety of needs.

Is it that the generations need to be encouraged to work together more? If so a Grandma and Me knitting group could meet that need.

Is it that people want to do something to support people with a particular need? During wartime there have been people who have knitted socks and balaclava helmets for soldiers and sailors. The fashion in 2021 is crocheting worry worms for children coping with the impact that the rules to slow the spread of Covid have had on their lives.

Next question is what are your resources?

What skills do people have to share? Lacemaking, crochet, knitting woodworking the list is endless.

Where do you meet? Online? Offline? At home? In a park? In a community centre?

What next? Jump in and have a go. We had little more than that when we set up our craft group. Our first step was to put up some posters in local supermarkets. Not so easy in a society impacted by Covid but it is still possible to post in relevant Facebook groups.

You will never know if it will work until you try it.

Or if the thought of setting something like this is too much for you then keep your eyes open so that you can if anyone else is doing something that meets your needs. Or if you can’t find anything see if there is someone else you can work with to get something off the ground together. Maybe all they need is a hint from you that there is a need that could be met by a craft group.

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