Did you know craft has been proven to be good for your health!?!
Our mental health has never been so much in focus as over the last year. The people that seem to have fared the best are those with hobbies- whether crafts, baking, gardening, music or sport these hobbies are what have kept us going and brought us joy as our worlds have shrunk down to the essential. Hobbies are essential. They make you happy. They give you an escape.
I myself cannot imagine my life without crafting and walking my dogs. It’s what feeds my soul and keeps me sane.
I run a studio teaching crafts to adults and kids, but really my business is so much more than that! Our classes give people a chance to step out of their busy lives, relax and learn new skills in a fun and safe environment.
There was already growing enthusiasm for participating in crafts, which has been escalated by the lockdowns - but did you know craft has been proven to be good for your health!?!
Craft has long been used to help with anxiety, during the First World War basket weaving was prescribed to relieve anxiety and physical ailments in soldiers. There has recently been a radical shift in government policy on mental health and wellbeing, which is fuelling a revival of these lost treatments. ‘For too long we have been fostering a culture that’s popping pills and Prozac, when what we should be doing is more prevention’ Said health Secretary Matt Hancock in a recent speech. As part of the NHS long term plan, all GP’s in England will soon be able to refer patients to community activities to improve mental health!
So how does it help?
Feel better about yourself and boost your self esteem
As adults we set incredibly high expectations of ourselves. We strive for perfection. As a craft teacher one of my top priorities is to get students to allow themselves to make mistakes! You only learn from making mistakes and you will only continue to learn if you relax and enjoy the process. Allowing yourself to not be perfect is truly freeing.
We often get so caught up in the detail we forget to look at the big picture! The pride students feel in their completed projects is often a shock to them- it does not matter if it has wiggly stitching lines or uneven tension. Completing a project from start to finish gives you a great sense of accomplishment. The joy is priceless and is what gives you the incentive to continue and improve!
According to research commissioned by BBC Arts, even the briefest time spent on a creative pastime such as painting, pottery or playing the piano has a positive impact on our wellbeing and emotions.
Enjoy the Moment
Thousands of studies on meditation have been conducted and the evidence all points to mindfulness being a great way to alleviate the symptoms of a variety of mental disorders. But did you know that crafts are an excellent way to achieve mindfulness?
Some repetitive crafts such as Knitting, embroidery, colouring and crochet are fantastic at achieving the ‘flow’ state as in meditation but all craft activities can be included as an act of mindfulness – ‘being in the moment’, the act of concentrating on an activity, relaxing and unwinding and providing a healthy distraction all help to improve mood and reduce stress hormones.
Taking a break from negative thoughts, that often comes with depression and anxiety, and replacing them with a positive focus can give you much needed ‘head space’ and a real escape from worries.
Keep your brain active and healthy
We all know that we should keep fit and eat healthily but how do we keep our brains healthy? The general consensus amongst experts is that crafting is particularly beneficial to cognitive function, exercising different areas of the brain including problem solving, concentration, spatial and gestural practices and creativity.
Crafting lowers blood pressure, reduces depression and anxiety, slows the onset of dementia, distracts from chronic pain and can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. There are also proven positive links between craft and the cognitive skills of stroke recovery and dementia patients.
Who would have thought sitting about drinking tea and crafting would be as beneficial as yoga!?!
Bring people together
The results of the BBC Great Creativity test, published in 2019 revealed that nothing beats taking part in live creative activities that involve face-to-face social interaction.
If you have low self -esteem you might hide away from social situations and it can be difficult to venture beyond your comfort zones. But craft classes and clubs are a fantastic environment for meeting new people and boosting your self-worth and happiness. Crafting together reduces loneliness and isolation and increases the sense of usefulness and inclusion in society.
Our children need to be encouraged and supported in their belief in themselves. With so much anxiety in children it has never been more important to encourage this love of learning and improving. Fun Crafts like tie dye and sewing teach children to enjoy the process of creating and give them pride in their accomplishments. These life skills will help them manage their mental health throughout their lives.
So many people I meet hold the false belief that they are not creative- everybody is creative- there are just different crafts more suited to different people. You have to try lots of things and find the one that is right for you- it may be methodical and mathematical or it may be spontaneous and free – I promise there is a craft out there to suit you!
At Craft My Day we pride ourselves on offering the safe and inclusive space so many need. Our small group workshops include all materials and equipment, so we offer the ability to try lots of new things without the investment in tools and materials.
We always have fun, with tea and biscuits an essential part of any class! Our tutors are all down to earth, local artisans who love to share their craft and we welcome complete beginners to hopefully find a new passion! Whether you join a class for the social interaction or to learn a new skill, the long term implications of taking up a craft are huge! Life is Learning- Don’t ever stop!
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