How Creativity Through Crafts Benefits Our Overall Wellbeing
With the arrival of COVID19, many of us found our everyday life turned on its head. Thankfully, amidst the uncertainty, there have been bright spots. Neighbors helping neighbors, a renewed dedication to supporting small businesses in our communities, and a deeper appreciation for those that fill vital but unglamorous roles in our society, are just a few ways these uncertain times have brought out the best in us.
Another bright spot has been the emerging trend of people spending their newfound time at home working with their hands. You might have noticed over the last two months that many of your friends and family members have taken up new crafts or hobbies. Hashtags like #quarantinecrafts have popped up as more and more people took to social media to share their budding skills.
This trend towards (what some may consider to be) old-fashioned leisure pursuits may seem like a last resort to stave off quarantine boredom but, as craftswomen ourselves, we here at Urban Southern can tell you there’s more to it. Turning to handcrafts during times of strife is a coping method that actually dates back centuries.
Long before scientific studies would prove the benefits of these types of activities, folks understood that occupying their hands and creating something tangible helped them find happiness, even during hard times. So it’s really no surprise that, even with the internet and Netflix and all the other modern ways people could pass the time, they still turn to traditional hobbies like sewing or painting in times of stress.
Here are a few of the benefits you may see when you start using your hands to get creative:
Benefit #1 - Distraction
The focus required by most crafts is a great way to take your mind away from more stressful thoughts. Many crafts involve intricate patterns, complicated steps, fine details, or delicate materials. They require patience and your undivided attention, meaning you can’t think about the thing that’s stressing you out, even if you wanted to.
The required movements are often repetitive but precise, which can bring on a meditative effect. Tactile sensations from your materials (our favorite, of course, is buttery-soft full-grain leather) can send happy little signals to your brain. Sometimes the scent of familiar supplies may be enough to channel the calm you’ve felt in the past while engaged in your favorite hobby.
Benefit #2 - Sense of Control
Most crafts have a fairly well-defined set of guidelines. While the skill itself may be new to you, by the time you’re ready to begin the craft, you likely have the supplies you’ll need and know the steps you’re going to take to reach the desired result. You may get hung up in spots and the exact outcome may vary but, generally, you know what you’ll end up with.
In times of great uncertainty, this temporary feeling of control can be a salve. The ability to correct mistakes, without losing much more than time, is another welcome shift from outside stressors. Sure, it’s no fun to have to undo a row of stitches because you dropped one, but the option to go back and start again is nice to have.
Benefit #3 - Sense of Accomplishment
One thing all crafts have in common is that, when you finish, you have a tangible result. Something you can hold in your hands and know you created. Maybe it’s something beautiful. Maybe it’s something useful. Often it’s both. Regardless, the sense of accomplishment that comes with creating it is perhaps as valuable as the item itself.
The accomplishment that comes with finishing a craft project can also bring with it a sense of connection. Whether it’s bonding with a family member over a shared hobby or gifting your creation to a friend, crafts can bring people together. Even something as simple as sharing a picture of your latest work on social media has the potential to brighten someone’s day.
So, tell us, have you taken up a #quarantinecraft? Let us know in the comments. And, if you’re looking for a new craft to keep your hands busy, check out some of our favorite tutorials below.